Extreme outer ear pain: What can it be?
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.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Support Group.
That makes a certain amount of sense. Hope it’s a permanent fix for you!
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
Hi, gls58….I am hoping that someone else has had this success and will post if it happened suddenly after using their C-pap.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
@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