extreme outer ear pain

Posted by ellienewfan @ellienewfan, Feb 4, 2013

Please….someone help me.

I’ve visited my allergist, an ear-nose-throat specialist and my own internist.
None of them have ever heard of my problem and don’t know how to help me.

Started approx 20 yrs ago, Every couple of months I would get an awful pain on one of my ears if I had been laying on it during the night. It would happen to either ear, whichever one I laid on.

To describe the pain. It is so intense that it wakes me. Pain is NOT inside the ear but around the edges of the entrance of it. It is so painful, I can’t touch it. It will be throbbing. It also hurts tremendously behind, towards the bottom back of the ear. Can’t touch that either. The only thing that will make it go away is when I then get up and stand and within approx 30 min it is gone. I even tested it by massaging behind the ear (once I could bear to touch it) and it seemed to make pain go away faster.

The last approx 3 years, I have no longer been able to even lay on either ear when in bed because now the pain will come every time. I have learned to sleep on my back. Sometimes I would still move onto my side during night, and wake up with pain.

For last 6 months, I’ve been having pressure and achy feeling around one of the ears, even while laying on my back. Then I started getting the pain even while sleeping on my back.

I am very much afraid that the day will come when I will no longer be able to lay down in my bed to go to sleep.

I am desperate to get to the bottom of this and perhaps for first time in 20 years be able to comfortably lay on my side in bed.

My ENT doctor said my ears are healthy …. i have no hearing loss.

This ear pain, however, is starting to affect my daily living, since I don’t seem to be able to get the restful sleep I need.

I will be forever grateful if someone could pinpoint this. thanks.

@gls58

I started having this pain some time ago. Tried everything I could think of, and mentioned it to every doc I saw, with no answers. In my research online, someone mentioned calcium and vitamin D. I figured it couldn’t make things worse and it was an inexpensive test. About 2 weeks after starting calcium 500 mg and D3 1000 iu every morning, the pain is gone! I haven’t woken with ear pain one time after the initial waiting period. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I’m not exhausted every hour of every day anymore. I certainly won’t guarantee it will work for you, but oh, boy, try it if there isn’t a reason not to. It’s like a miracle. Really. I wish I could find the entry that mentioned this fix so I could thank the person who wrote it, but alas, I’ve looked so much, I just can’t relocate it. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart!

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thx for info on vitamin d and calcium.  i will definitely try and give everyone updateliz

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@ellienewfan

at least i’m not alone in this. no redness, no swelling, etc. Doctors i saw (ear, nose, throat doc.; my own internist; had exrays and MRI) looked at me funny when i tried to explain my situation. thanks @bearylynn,i also have been bunching up a pillow so there is least amount of touching my ear. i seem to be able to somewhat lay on my left side, but my right cannot abide it. in fact if i even lay on right side even without anything touching my ear, i’ll still get it.terrible pain. i am currently 72, and think that perhaps i’ll never get rid of this and must suffer with this for rest of my life.

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I have extreme pain too. I keep roll on biofreeze by the bed and roll it onto my ears. It burns and provides relief and I can usually fall asleep again. I have this issue every night. It’s just too much pressure on the vascular tissue of our ears 🙁

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@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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Put biofreeze on your ears. I have to do that and it helps. Or icy hot

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@gls58

I started having this pain some time ago. Tried everything I could think of, and mentioned it to every doc I saw, with no answers. In my research online, someone mentioned calcium and vitamin D. I figured it couldn’t make things worse and it was an inexpensive test. About 2 weeks after starting calcium 500 mg and D3 1000 iu every morning, the pain is gone! I haven’t woken with ear pain one time after the initial waiting period. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I’m not exhausted every hour of every day anymore. I certainly won’t guarantee it will work for you, but oh, boy, try it if there isn’t a reason not to. It’s like a miracle. Really. I wish I could find the entry that mentioned this fix so I could thank the person who wrote it, but alas, I’ve looked so much, I just can’t relocate it. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart!

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Still working? Just one of each tablet each morning?

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@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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Hi @salty and @jennyt,

Welcome to Connect. It must be so frustrating to not get adequate sleep, and waking up with pain due to unknown cause!

In my research on the internet, I came across a condition known as Chondrodermatitis Nodular Helices, which is basically a small, painful, inflammatory nodule or growth attached to the cartilage of the outer ear; you can read more about it, here, http://bit.ly/2pvBj47.
The study suggests that pressure damage, mainly from the weight of the head during sleep, is the most important cause, but it could also be due to pressure from hearing aids or or frostbite or trauma to the ear.

Similar to the above condition is, as @jennyt mentioned, relapsing polychondritis.
“Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare condition characterized by recurrent inflammation of cartilage…Ear involvement is the most common feature, but a variety of other areas of the body may be affected…” http://bit.ly/2pvbvF7
Connect member @marilly mentioned this condition in an older discussion, and I’m hoping she might return with more insight.

@salty, @jennyt do you take any medication for the pain? As @upartist mentioned, have you tried elevating the pillow, or perhaps using a ‘donut cushion’ when you sleep?

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@gls58

I started having this pain some time ago. Tried everything I could think of, and mentioned it to every doc I saw, with no answers. In my research online, someone mentioned calcium and vitamin D. I figured it couldn’t make things worse and it was an inexpensive test. About 2 weeks after starting calcium 500 mg and D3 1000 iu every morning, the pain is gone! I haven’t woken with ear pain one time after the initial waiting period. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I’m not exhausted every hour of every day anymore. I certainly won’t guarantee it will work for you, but oh, boy, try it if there isn’t a reason not to. It’s like a miracle. Really. I wish I could find the entry that mentioned this fix so I could thank the person who wrote it, but alas, I’ve looked so much, I just can’t relocate it. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart!

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Okay – update. I was so excited when the calcium and vitamin D seemed to help, but it only lasted for a few weeks. As I was having increased heartburn, I was unwilling to try increasing the dosages. Back to square one. I’ve since found a topical remedy. I still don’t know what causes the pain or how to make it stop happening, but if I use my prescription EMLA Cream (Lidocaine 2.5% and Prilocaine 2.5%) on my outer ear area just before I lay down at night, I’m not bothered for hours, if at all. It’s something I have to do every night, but it’s worth the trouble not to be awake most of the night.

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@gls58

I started having this pain some time ago. Tried everything I could think of, and mentioned it to every doc I saw, with no answers. In my research online, someone mentioned calcium and vitamin D. I figured it couldn’t make things worse and it was an inexpensive test. About 2 weeks after starting calcium 500 mg and D3 1000 iu every morning, the pain is gone! I haven’t woken with ear pain one time after the initial waiting period. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I’m not exhausted every hour of every day anymore. I certainly won’t guarantee it will work for you, but oh, boy, try it if there isn’t a reason not to. It’s like a miracle. Really. I wish I could find the entry that mentioned this fix so I could thank the person who wrote it, but alas, I’ve looked so much, I just can’t relocate it. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart!

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That was what I took, but see below. It didn’t last and I was crushed. Did find a different fix though.

REPLY
@gls58

I started having this pain some time ago. Tried everything I could think of, and mentioned it to every doc I saw, with no answers. In my research online, someone mentioned calcium and vitamin D. I figured it couldn’t make things worse and it was an inexpensive test. About 2 weeks after starting calcium 500 mg and D3 1000 iu every morning, the pain is gone! I haven’t woken with ear pain one time after the initial waiting period. I can’t tell you how much relief this has given me. I’m not exhausted every hour of every day anymore. I certainly won’t guarantee it will work for you, but oh, boy, try it if there isn’t a reason not to. It’s like a miracle. Really. I wish I could find the entry that mentioned this fix so I could thank the person who wrote it, but alas, I’ve looked so much, I just can’t relocate it. Thank you, whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart!

Jump to this post

That was what I took, but see below. It didn’t last and I was crushed. Did find a different fix though.

REPLY
@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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Going to reply directly to you – hopefully you will be notified. I wasn’t and was surprised to see the other posts made after my initial one. The vitamin and calcium remedy did work, but only for a few weeks. I have Prilocaine / Lidocaine cream by prescription for another ailment and I decided to try it. I put a small amount over the area of my ear that hurts at night just before bed, and it works most of the night – sometimes all night. Maybe your doc would be willing to prescribe for you. Good luck. I know exactly how miserable you are.

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@ellienewfan

at least i’m not alone in this. no redness, no swelling, etc. Doctors i saw (ear, nose, throat doc.; my own internist; had exrays and MRI) looked at me funny when i tried to explain my situation. thanks @bearylynn,i also have been bunching up a pillow so there is least amount of touching my ear. i seem to be able to somewhat lay on my left side, but my right cannot abide it. in fact if i even lay on right side even without anything touching my ear, i’ll still get it.terrible pain. i am currently 72, and think that perhaps i’ll never get rid of this and must suffer with this for rest of my life.

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Have seen several doctors for this. Finally my ENT diagnosed it. Will tell you more after biopsy. He says there is no known cure. Also, no treatment. Another doctor told me that it has something to do with inflamation. Told me to take two Motrin half hour prior to laying down and this will work. IT DOES. I don’t know how long I will keep taking it though. Not good for digestive system. Think it is causing acid reflux and can cause ulcers. Also, have other undiagnosed health issues that no doctor can figure out.

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@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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That is what my doctor said Relapsing Polychondritis, although I am not sure I can believe that. 2 Motrin an hour before bed will give you a Restfull nights sleep. Not good for long term though.

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@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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No – you surely don’t want to have to take Motrin every single night. I’m not aware of any side effects of repeated use of the caine cream, but it works amazingly well. Actually, I’ve had three nights in a row with no pain and no cream or vitamin treatment. Don’t ask me to explain why that would be because I’ve had the pain every single night with the exception of the brief relief after starting the calcium and D, and the nights I did use the cream till now. I don’t understand what’s different, but something is. I’m certainly not going to complain about it and just be thankful for whatever it is. Hope you find a safe and reliable way to combat yours.

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I have had outer ear pain for at least ten years .. Woke me up every night with pain in the cartilage of the upper ear. I would go into the bathroom and look in the mirrow—bright red. Then it returns to normal in a minute or two. Now this year I had to be put on a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea. It was the first night that I realized the pain did not occur. It is now four and a half months and it is completely gone. It disappeared the very first night. I really have no idea what is taking care of it—-but it seems to me that not having low oxygen during the night might be what is helping. I am just hoping that it continues to keep it away.

Liked by Jamie Olson

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That’s amazing.

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@jennyt

I’ve had this same problem for over 10 years and spent hundreds of dollars on different pillows. I get headaches in the morning because I don’t get enough sleep. I finally found an article that makes sense and I plan to go see my doctor to get tested for “relapsing polychondritis”. I think I have a mild case of this and hopefully my doctor can prescribe something. I am really tired of the sleepless nights and pain

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Thanks. Where do you buy this?

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