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External ear pain after sleeping
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adgfg posted:
Hello Dr Moser,

I am waking up with sharp pain in the external cartilage of my left ear after sleeping on it. After about 15 minutes of massaging the cartilage the pain begins to subside. I notice that when I massage the cartilage or tug gently on my outer ear I hear a sort of dull clicking sound, which doesn't happen on my right ear. I am guessing that perhaps my left ear is shaped little differently to my right ear and that I'm squishing it out of shape when I sleep on it.

I know that the obvious answer is not to sleep on my left side! All my life I have slept on my right side or on my back. However I'm pregnant and have been advised to sleep on my left side to avoid circulation problems. So my question is whether there is anything you can suggest to ease or prevent the pain, and whether I am likely to cause any permanent damage by sleeping on it for the next few months?

Thank you for your help.
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Make yourself a new pillow....a foam one with a "hole" cut-out that fits your ear. Assuming you do not flail around all night trying to get comfortable, this should take the pressure off of your ear. You are likely creating some nerve compression from sleeping on that ear.


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