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Having severe ear pain. Cannot touch the ear. Remedy?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2544 Questions
Hi Doctor, I have severe right ear pain, it comes on like a mild labour pain and within 3 minutes it's so bad that I'm almost crying, it may stay for 10mins or 1 to 2 hrs, it will then start to disappear same way it came, whilst I have it I cannot even touch my ear in front or behind it as pain is so intense, I've been getting this for a few years, when the pain goes away its like it was never there. Thank you XXXXXX
Posted Sun, 9 Jun 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Get your ears examined and get a PTA (Pure Tone Audiometry) and an Impedance Audiometry (Tympanometry) done.

2. If the ear examination, hearing levels and middle ear pressures are normal, the this is probably a Neuralgia.

3. Sensation to the ear is supplied by many nerves, including the
Trigeminal (Fifth Cranial Nerve), the Vagus (Tenth Cranial Nerve) and the Cervical plexus (C1, C2, C3).

4. These nerves supply many other structure and areas in the head, neck, chest and even the abdomen. Hence this may be a local or referred pain from any of the regions supplied by these nerves.

5. Get a dental check-up and neurology opinion. The cause of occasional severe deep ear pain is unknown. However, since you get a tender pinna, this is most probably a neuralgia or a migraine variant. Pain killers for cranial neuralgias include other types of drugs. You may request your physician for a trial with amitriptyline, carbamazepine or gabapentin.

6. An MRI & CT Scan may be done, however most scans are expected to be normal in long-standing cases such as yours. Occasionally a blood vessel is seen compressing a nerve root.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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