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.

@joansears

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.

Jump to this post

That makes a certain amount of sense. Hope it’s a permanent fix for you!

REPLY

Hi, a C-pap machine is quite expensive if you do not have insurance to cover it. But if your Dr. orders a sleep test and you do have sleep apnea ten it will be covered. I did ot know I had it. I was not the typical patient..not overweight…i do not snore…and no gasping during the night. But i did have what he called a class 3 throat. whatever that is. I don’t know if starting the treatment( sleeping with the c-pap) had any thing to do with the ear problem, but I ..in my mind know it must have. I suffered everynight –getting awake with a pain everytime I was in the side sleeping position. Then the red==beet red actually felt like burning. I even sent to England for the Pillow with a Hole. cost about 60 dollars. A waste of money. It was so hard and I swear my ear almost filled the hole in the middle of it. Hope you are on your way to healilng. Joans ears

REPLY
@joansears

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.

Jump to this post

Hi, gls58….I am hoping that someone else has had this success and will post if it happened suddenly after using their C-pap.

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

Jump to this post

There is an OTC cream with only Lidocaine in it and you can get it at any pharmacy, but the cream I’m using has Lidocaine and Prilocaine in it, and It’s by prescription only. I don’t know if the OTC one would be as effective. If you’ve been in contact with your Dr. about this, maybe he/she would be willing to give you a prescription for it if you try the OTC one and it doesn’t provide relief for you.

REPLY

I had this a number of years ago. Mine turned out to be associated with TMJ. My dentist fitted me with a night guard that fits around your top teeth keeping you from gritting your teeth at night. Hope this helps. It will also help to save your teeth especially as you get older.

REPLY
@joansears

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.

Jump to this post

Hello @joansears, and @nibor63,

Thank you so much for sharing and participating on Connect; you also might be interested in reading these discussions on CPAP and sleep apnea:

Can’t sleep: http://mayocl.in/2nhrpih
Sleep Apnea: http://mayocl.in/2rPfvgB

I’m also tagging @mzzmimm @hosta @upnorthnancy @pinklady919 @bubbles8 @vickiw @johnhans @bob270 @jimhd @danavs, so that they may share their insights with you.

REPLY

Hello @ellienewfan. I have a painful skin disease which hurts every time something touches skin, especially when I lie down. Dermatologist prescribed Lidocaine cream for me to apply to neck, shoulder, chest, EAR, and anything else that is painful when I try to sleep, I also have sleep apnea, wear mask with apap, and this has nothing to do with painful ear. Have worn mask for 15 to 20 years, and painful ear at night did not start till maybe 5 years ago. The Lidocaine cream is wonderful and you might want to ask doctor for prescription. Ask for the jar, cause you will lose some cream in a tube.

REPLY
@danavs

Hello @ellienewfan. I have a painful skin disease which hurts every time something touches skin, especially when I lie down. Dermatologist prescribed Lidocaine cream for me to apply to neck, shoulder, chest, EAR, and anything else that is painful when I try to sleep, I also have sleep apnea, wear mask with apap, and this has nothing to do with painful ear. Have worn mask for 15 to 20 years, and painful ear at night did not start till maybe 5 years ago. The Lidocaine cream is wonderful and you might want to ask doctor for prescription. Ask for the jar, cause you will lose some cream in a tube.

Jump to this post

@danavs

I use Lidocaine cream on my feet because of peripheral neuropathy pain. It does help for a while, making going to sleep easier. I also have used a CPAP for 15 years. I take MScontin and Cymbalta for the pain, sometimes adding Oxycodone. Because my feet hurt to the touch, I have a blanket lifter that holds the bedding up. It’s kind of a pain to make the bed, but I do whatever I can to relieve the burning pain.

Jim

Liked by djanthony

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

Jump to this post

This is my first time to post here so I may not be doing it correctly. I was diagnosed with Chondrodermatitis Nodularis helicis. my outer right ear extremely painful!!
Here is a link that tells all about it. It is also referred to as Winklers disease. http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/chondrodermatitis.html. As far as I know there is no cure. I don’t have but a very small leasion when it gets really irritated. My doctor said stay off that ear when sleeping! Sad for me because if I sleep on my left side, I get dizzy. So that only leaves sleeping on my back. So I ordered a pillow called “Pillow with a hole in the middle”…..but I didn’t like it because it was too uncomfortable because it was too hard and hurt my neck. But the hole did give relief for my ear. Then I tried sleeping for two months with my arm folded under my head, no pressure on my ear, but I’m now having headaches.
My standard size pillow is Very soft and I can punch a hole and put my ear there and that gives a little relief, until the pillow starts fiilling in the hole. So it is nights of fluffing my pillow and making a hole for my ear. My doctor said the outer cartilage of my ear is inflamed, so I guess that is why some anti-inflammatory pills would help…..but as someone said they can be bad for your stomach. I will stop here, I am very sorry that some of you have this condition, I know how much we all long for a good nights sleep!

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

Jump to this post

@franjan I am so sorry to hear of this chronic ear pain that interferes with your sleep – how unfortunate. It sounds as if you have tried a lot of different remedies. I hope that you are able to find some relief. Keep in touch with Mayo Connect and read some of the other posts with people who have outer ear pain. I hope that you find a solution for your pain soon. Teresa

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

Jump to this post

@hopeful thank you for your reply. I am having a bit of trouble understanding the order of the posts. They seem to be rather mixed in the dates and times they are written. What do I need to do to correctly read the posts in order? Thanks for any help with this.
I see that many here are finding some relief with putting icy-hot etc. on before going to sleep. If there is any leasion at all on the ear, wouldn’t that cause a lot of burning? I imagine most of us would be willing to try most everything. :-).

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

Jump to this post

This is what I know that happened with me. Mine started about six months ago, but I also have something undiagnosed going on in my body. Only happens when I go to sleep at night. I am a side sleeper. When I go to sleep my burning, red, swollen, painful ear wakes me up. Happens in both ears. Doctor told me it’s inflammatory. Said take 600 my. Motrin before bed. Worked. But, had to take every night. Not necessarily good for you over long period. So, I didn’t take it every night and suffered with waking up in pain during night. Then I had a colonoscopy and when I cleaned out my colon, the pain went away completely. Only lasted for two weeks, though. After that, I went back to the Motrin, and no longer worked. Don’t know what all this means. Will let you know, when I know more. Scheduling biopsy of my ear. Talked to doctors about it. Most said it can’t be so that colon has anything to do with ear. Rest told me “it’s in my miñd”. Basically that I’m crazy.

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

Jump to this post

@nibor63 I’m really sorry to hear of this problem you are having. If you are comfortable sharing more information, it might be helpful to know what types of doctors you have seen for this problem. Since you have been told that this is an inflammatory problem have you seen a doctor who specializes in inflammatory disorders? Do you have other inflammatory disorders? Here is a website that offers some information about inflammatory disorders https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Autoinflammatory/. It will be interesting to see what the biopsy of the ear reveals. Please keep in touch with Mayo Connect. We are here to offer you support and encouragement along your journey. Teresa

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

Jump to this post

Hello @franjan, in regards to your issues with having trouble figuring out the order of posts, are you replying primarily by email? If so, I suggest clicking the VIEW & REPLY button at the bottom of your email notification and it will take you to the full discussion. From there, you should be able to scroll up and down to get a better feel for where you are in the conversation.

As far as the dates & times go, they can seem to be a bit out of order since when you are on the website you have the ability to reply to any post, which means you can reply to one of the first posts from an older date or at the bottom which would be the newer dates. It can be a bit confusing, but that is the best way to try and understand it. I hope this helps, do you have any other questions I could help with?

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

Jump to this post

Thank you @justin for your reply. Yes, it is confusing, as the post right under yours that says 16 mins ago, is a post that has a date Mar 31. Oh, well, I’ll just try and not understand it and just know that the order of post are confusing. 🙂

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.