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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest treatment for chronic ear pain and tightness behind ear

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2589 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 14 Sep 2015 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have had chronic ear pain for 13 months. No hearing loss, no vertigo, no swelling,no discharge or fluid. MRI showed no TMJD. Loud sustained noise does make it worse. Advised to remove 2 teeth, due to "possible root infection", but this caused no change. Now seems to be getting worse. Sometimes when I turn my head, I feel a tightness from behind the ear extending to where the ear meets the neck. Nothing really makes it feel better except prescription opiates, which I really do not want to take on a regular basis, so I alternate every few days by taking up to 15 ibuprofen in a single day, which gives little relief. I'm now battling depression as it seems there is no solution & I may have to live with this indefinitely.
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Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Referred pain.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. This is most likely to be a referred pain form the teeth to the ear and surrounding area. The other possibility is the cervical nerves.

2. The pain sensation is mediated by the common nerve supply from the Trigeminal (Fifth Cranial Nerve). Chronic pain can alter the brains perception of the pain, making it more difficult to treat. The C3 dermatome supplies the region of the neck that you experience pain in.

3. Consult a neurologist to get an examination and a prescription for neuralgic pain killers (such as amitriptyline/ carbamazepine/ gabapentine / pregabalin). Do not self medicate as these medications can cause several side effects (including drowsiness and blurring of eyesight).

4. Other painkillers would give a partial relief in higher doses.

5. Let me know if this helps.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any more questions I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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