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Aug 30, 2018 · extreme outer ear pain in Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)

For the last three years I’ve been experiencing most of the symptoms mentioned above. I have seen multiple doctors/ENTs and they have all been completely unhelpful as I leave them confused after each visit (there is never inflammation inside the ear canal).

I sometimes experience extreme pain after sleeping on my right ear, particularly if the humidity is high or if I am hot/sweating at night. For a while it seemed as if the pain only occurred after sleeping on my ear, however it began to occasionally hurt in the same way after it has experienced any kind of pressure (I work around 4-year-olds and they like to climb on me, often knocking my ear or applying pressure onto the side of my head in one way or another), even after very subtle movements of the ear, such as gently washing behind my ear in the shower or even just rubbing/scratching it.

Just to clarify, a description of the pain and location in detail; it seems to be occuring where the bottom/ back of the ear meets the head/neck, just above the earlobe. In diagrams of the ear there is a small piece of catilage inside the ear frequently labeled “cartilage” (as opposed to the cartilage that makes up the outer ear flap). I believe this is very close to the location of the pain.

It began as a severe and excruciating pain radiating from the aforementioned region after I would sleep on that side of my head. However, lately it will often begin as a subtle pain that is much less intense and more of a dull ache. This aching comes and goes in small waves depending on the position of my head, mouth or neck and can last anywhere from 30 minutes (and goes away if I’m lucky) up to three days.

I am often able to relieve this dull pain by intentionally upsetting the ear by gently moving, pulling or sometimes more effectively by turning my head and opening my mouth and smiling as wide as I possibly can. If I am ‘successful,’ then I will often trigger a far superior wave of pain resulting in a dramatic crescendo of suffering, ultimately followed by relief for anywhere from maybe a day to a month until my next episode. I think of this experience as an ‘anti-orgasm’ in my ear as the pain builds up and ends with about 10 seconds of unbearable torment. It feels as if someone is slowly injecting me with a long, fat needle in the area of the ear previously mentioned. If I have reached this point of pain, it is consistently followed by a subtle sensation of fluid leaking away from the location inside my ear (as funny as it sounds). Unfortunately I am not always successful in triggering this awful pain (ultimately leading to relief), especially if I have recently used this technique.

As mentioned before, I have been unable to identify the source of the pain and doctors have been of absolutely zero help. In fact, they frequently grow impatient with me and I am unable to mention even a fraction of what I have written. I would greatly appreciate any comments, especially from anyone who has experienced the same. I hope everyone finds success in dealing with these issues.