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What can be pain in head and sensitivity behind ear ?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
I have a question. My head has been hurting right behind my right ear. Not like a headache but more like sensitivity. It hurts in one little area even when you pull the hair in that one spot or you rub my scalp it is sensitive. Any idea what is going on. I had a head CT Oct 09 and all was normal then. Do I need another? What kind of doc should I visit?
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 21 minutes later

Thanks for your query. It will be very helpful for me in understanding your condition better if you could answer some of these questions:

1)     Is there any ear pain or redness or swelling of the area?
2)     Are there any blisters in that area and did you suffer from chicken pox earlier?
3)     Do you have any scalp tenderness as well?

From the symptoms that you have described, two important possibilities are of mastoiditis and temporal arteritis. Mastoiditis is an infection of mastoid process or the bone behind the ear. Symptoms of mastoiditis include pain, tenderness, and swelling in the mastoid region. Temporal arteritis is an inflammation of vasculitis of blood vessels of the large and medium arteries of the head especially the temporal artery tat branch off from the carotid artery in the neck.

You may need certain investigations like blood tests especially ESR and C reactive protein, a CT scan and MRI SCAN. If temporal arteritis is suspected then a biopsy of the vessel may need to be done for confirming the diagnosis.
I suggest you to consult an ENT specialist and if temporal arteritis is diagnosed then you may need to be referred to a vascular surgeon.

Hope this answers your query. Please do get back with these answers so that we can help you in a better way. I am available for further follow ups. Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What can be pain in head and sensitivity behind ear ? 44 minutes later
To answer your questions. My ear is not swollen and there is no redness or blisters. I do have scalp tenderness is that area only. If you rub my head it is sensitive. If you pull my hair in that area it is more sensitive then the other side of my head. Is this something really serious that I should worry with? I do live in a high altitude of 5000 feet up. And this just started like 3-4 days ago. Some days it will hurt when I lift my eyebrows, when I turn my head etc.
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 2 hours later
The symptoms which you have described are typically seen in temporal arteritis. However, I must mention that this is a disease which is more commonly seen in the old age. I'll suggest doing an ESR and CRP.

If these are normal, then temporal arteritis is virtually ruled out. Another possibility is that it is a neurological pain like trigeminal neuralgia.

A CT scan or an MRI of the brain is recommended to rule out the causes of the same like a tumor, infection etc.

Please consult a neurologist for the same. Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions then please do post us. Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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