Extreme outer ear pain: What can it be?

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.

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Me again! I've been doing some research, and I'm wondering if anybody with this ear pain has been checked for a Temporomandibular joint issue (TMJ.) This came up as a side issue to something else, but when I checked it out, it just may be something worth pursuing. I'm going to check with my dentist, because he is the only one who seems to know anything about TMJ.

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@susanjc8 You may want to look at this website article about TMJ. A physical therapist can probably help this condition.


I am so thankful to hear of others experiencing this problem. I thought I was crazy. I asked my doctor and he just kind of laughed and said he had never heard this before. Like others in this group, I have bought a lot of pillows trying to find something soft to cradle my ear. Mine has started to hurt even during the day. I have had it for several years but it has recently gotten worse. I don't sleep well at night due partly do to other issues, I may go to sleep for a while, wake up and my ear is hurting so bad I can't get comfortable. I will try some of the suggestions here and I pray I may get some relief. Keep on letting me know things to try. Thankful I finally found this group.

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