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Unexplained ear pain
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LuckyLadybug posted:
For the past 2 years I have experienced pain in both my ears. It started 2 years ago with a really bad ear infection (no other cold or respiratory infection with it) that caused one of my ear drums to rupture. The pain then had spread to my face and neck and lips and tingling on the one side that ruptured and continued long after infection was gone. I was really scared went to the ER and followed up with ENT had CT scan, MRA and everyone thought I was crazy because my ear infection had cleared up and ENT even said it must be TMJ which I know it is not since i don't have any other jaw pain. MRA showed that there was a slight infection that had shown up in the area between the ear and my skull. They said it was ok because it was small and would go away. I have had pain come and go in my ears but mostly a slight pain is always there, somedays more than others. The pain is not an internal earache pain but a general pain that affects the entire ear including the outer ear and the skin around it. If I touch anywhere in or on the outer ear or the skin around it on my face, neck and head it hurts. I recently had an acupressure massage and when she got to my ears and I flinched when she worked on the pressure point she said it was related to blood pressure. I have never had high blood pressure, mine has always been on the normal to low side. This morning the pain woke me up out of my sleep at 5am on my right side. It was more than usual, and even felt pain there when moving my head. I almost felt like the tissues around my right side of my head and ear were swollen, my whole head and neck hurt. I took 2 Motrin, then one more, put heating pad on my stiff neck and an ice pack on my head. Overall neck and head pain has diminished but I can still feel the ear pain and slight swelling around the area. Each time I have severe ear pain I go to the doctor and they look in my ears and say they see nothing and make me feel like this is all in my mind. What could this be? I really want to get to the bottom of this. It is scary, especially feeling the swelling in my head. I almost feel scared that I have a sleeping aneurism and that this could cause a stroke. Pain is a sign there is something wrong so I wish my doctors would take me seriously and look at all options. Any insights would be appreciated.
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
As much as I would like to help you solve this diagnostic mystery, this is not something that I can blindly do over the Internet, based solely on the information that you have posted. This information is not the same as a thorough medical history and a review of all of your tests/imaging studies. I do understand your frustration with not having his answer.

Perhaps your next consultation should be with a neurosurgeon or neurologist. Pain in the ears or in the area of the ears does not necessarily have to originate there. If you truly have a fear or concern that you have an aneurysm, taking your diagnotic evaluation to a higher, neurosurgical level would seem to be prudent. There are special MRIs (called MRAs) that will visualize arteries.


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