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Pain behind the ear: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The appearance of pain behind the ear can be the beginning of a health disorder. In some circumstances, it can result from complications of diseases and even appear for causes unknown to the sufferer. In these cases, the ideal is to go to the doctor to determine the origin of the discomfort.

The causes of pain behind the ear are multiple, and they can range from nerve injury to dental problems. All of them must be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by specialists according to the patient’s symptoms. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain in detail what are the causes and treatment of pain behind the ear.

Causes of pain behind the ear

There are several causes of pain behind the ear, including:

  • Occipital neuralgia: This disorder occurs when the nerves that go from the top of the spinal cord to the head through the scalp become inflamed or injured. This type of pain is chronic, throbbing, and piercing. Many describe it as similar to the sensation of having received an electric shock at the neck or behind the ear. Pain is often on only one side of the head. You can find out in detail about this condition in the article Occipital neuralgia: symptoms and treatment.
  • Mastoiditis is an infection of the mastoid bone of the skull, which is located just behind the ear. This infectious process is much more common in children than in adults. It is characterized by pain behind the ear accompanied by fever, headache, discharge from the ear, and even hearing loss in the affected ear.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction: This joint can inflate and cause pain behind the ear.
  • Chronic neck tension: in this case, the nerves of the occipital region are involved, which can cause, in addition to a headache from behind, general discomfort.
  • Ear infection – Microbes in the hearing area or fluid accumulation inside the ear and a complicating cold can easily be the cause of pain behind the ear.
  • Injury to the tympanic membrane: the tympanic membrane can be damaged by trauma, infections, either viral or bacterial, which trigger the pain mentioned earlier behind the ear.
  • Dental problems: injuries to the mouth or teeth in some cases cause pain that is reflected behind the ear. It will be easy to determine that it is a dental problem when there is also bad breath, difficulty chewing, or sensitivity in the gums.
  • Throat Conditions: When the throat is sore, inflamed, or irritated, pain in the neck behind the ear may be experienced.

Treatment of pain behind the ear

Medical consultation is essential since the treatment of pain behind the ear will depend exclusively on the condition or condition that is causing the said symptom. Medical treatment may include the following:

  • To relieve pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) may be prescribed.
  • Applying cold to the affected area can help reduce discomfort.
  • Heat therapy can help in cases of muscle or nerve-type contractures.
  • Antibiotic therapy in cases where the cause is a bacterial infection.
  • Physiotherapy or local massage for cases of muscle contracture or nervous system injury.

In the vast majority of cases, the treatment is symptomatic. It will depend on the clinical picture that the patient presents.

Lump behind the ear that hurts

If what you have is a lump behind your ear, it is essential that you also know what can cause it and what to do about it:

  • Swollen lymph nodes: this happens due to infections with viruses or germs that affect the immune system, which is in charge of defending the body. Behind the ear, there are lymph nodes that increase in size once the infection appears.
  • Acne: lesions caused by a disorder of the sebaceous glands. The increase in fat in the area accumulates in the pores, causing a painful growth in volume on contact. Acne lesions appear anywhere. The most common areas are the face, neck, and behind the ears.
  • Lipoma: it is a benign, painless lump that is formed by an accumulation of fat cells.
  • As we have explained previously, Mastoiditis is the infection of the bone located behind the ear. If not treated correctly, this infection can end up causing the appearance of a lump.
  • Sebaceous cyst: lump formed by accumulated sebum that can appear anywhere on the body. It is usually soft, and when touched, it does not usually hurt and can move.
  • Other causes could be dermatitis, allergic reactions, tumors, scalp infection, or thyroid disorders.

You can expand this information by consulting the article. Why do I lump behind my ear?

In most cases, the lump behind the ear disappears spontaneously within days. Now, if this persists or presents with pain, in addition to other symptoms such as those mentioned below, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Blood discharge and serous fluid.
  • Itching.
  • Color change.
  • Deformity.

The doctor will diagnose and indicate the treatment to follow according to the type of injury you present.

In some cases, surgical procedures are required to remove the lesion.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pain behind the ear: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Ear, nose, and throat.

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