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.

Found an anti inflammatory That's working for me.

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It sounds like TMJ. See your dentist. You might also be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Maybe try a mouth guard when you sleep, but your dentist will be able to properly diagnose you.

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@cmkanis

It sounds like TMJ. See your dentist. You might also be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Maybe try a mouth guard when you sleep, but your dentist will be able to properly diagnose you.

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Not TMJ. But thanks.

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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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Hi Ellie. I’m hoping you found something that gives you some relief but otherwise I wanted to share something that might help. I’v been struggling with the same thing for over 10 years and doctors never had any idea other than “don’t sleep on your side.” I just discovered folding a blanket like an upside down U shape on the pillow to provide a opening for the ear is finally providing relief. I hope this helps.

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Finally figured out a way to be able to sleep without waking up in excruciating pain. Hope this helps others too.

image

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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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Don't you want to know if this is a serious condition. Have you tri ed medication?

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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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It wasn't just the pain in my ears, but pain in other parts of my body with pressure. Also, bowel issues when sleeping on firm surface.

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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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Meloxicam saved my life!

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@dadams24

Hi,

I don't know if someone has already told you this but it sounds like you have TN, trigeminal Neuralgia. I say this because I have it, and last year (2017) I kept getting an outer ear pain on either ear I slept on, but one ear in particular would cause so much pain that I literally was woken up out of a deep sleep and had to remove my self slowly from the pillow and not touch my face for a while. It then would continue into the morning and throughout the entire day that this pain would still be there on the one side. My sensitive areas are around the ear, slightly above it, behind it near the neck, and somewhere in the center radiates all this pain, To be clear it is not an inner ear pain, I have plenty of ear infections to know the difference. So once I noticed the pain radiating down my neck, to the point where I couldn't move my head side to side or look up or down without feeling this pain, I went to see a primary care doctor. I couldn't get a full night of sleep because I tried to sleep on the side that was bearable, but I would end up getting ear soreness on the other ear, and then I would try to sleep on my back (face straight up) but I could still feel the ear pain, and the muscles in my face being pulled toward my pillow also made the ear pain worse. Once I was told it was TN, it all made sense. All the places that were causing me pain have the trigeminal nerve going through it. For me, it comes somewhere behind the ear and goes down my jawline and sometimes my cheeks or forehead if it's really bad. So, do some research on that, and ask your doctor about it (if they are aware of it). Most doctors don't know about this condition unfortunately, so a lot of people get misdiagnosed. I was told it was tmj and an ear infection when I was in my teens.
Hope this helps.
Deidra

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@dadams24, @nibor63, @cmkanis and @bjbrabo– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect!!
Thank you for posting and sharing your thoughts and ideas. You all sound like you are in a similar boat. It really does help to know your not alone with your particular pain.
Thanks for the photo, @bjbrabo– that's really helpful! @nibor63– what is the anti inflammatory you found to work for your symptoms?

Has anyone found chiropractic care or acupuncture to help?

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I started to have this extreme ear pain about 4 years ago! I would wake up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain on my right ear. I couldn't touch my ear, yawn or move my jaw without the pain in my right ear! I have not gone to the doctor but have kept a journal of when this happens. It's usually when it's rainy or damp out side. Like my sinuses are draining to the right ear. and it goes to my ear when I lay down. It seems to go away about 15 to 30 minutes after I get up and start my day. I thought I was going crazy.

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I've had a similar problem for probably 50 years. The cartilage around my ear gets very painful and any little movement, even a small burp, will send a sharp pain through my outer ear area. I can go several years without any problem. I can tell when it's coming. I feel a little heaviness in the outer ear and if I take a Vicodin ASAP, it will go away, but if I don't take it soon enough it gets worse and worse. I have it now and am on my 3rd day, the longest one yet. I didn't get the Vicodin in time. I cannot lay on that ear in bed. Lowering my head or touching my earlobe sends the pain through my ear. It's always the left ear. Doctors have never been able to tell me what it is.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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I feel your pain, I also have this pain on the outside of my ear, if I play with my ear move it around that seems to help, I see that no one has come to help you. I wish I knew the answer Renee

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Hello, @chanthal642 and @ponywheels2. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. The pain sounds very intense. I can't believe you have had it now for 50 years, @ponywheels2. Wow. Sorry to hear it has gone undiagnosed, but I am glad to hear you have found a medication that can help when you can feel the heaviness and a problem coming. How is your pain today?

Sounds like you also have found a bit of relief with your technique of moving your ear around, @chanthal642. Glad to hear that. Do you also take medication for the pain?

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This sounds like geniculate neuralgia. You should see a neurologist.

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@ap6987

This sounds like geniculate neuralgia. You should see a neurologist.

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Seeing a Neuro opthamologist as it is effecting my eye. Has no clue.

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