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Health Symptoms & Causes

Sharp Pain Behind Ears- Causes and Treatment

pain behind ear

Pain behind ear is considered as a type of headache which is felt by few people. It is always important to find out the actual cause of pain behind left ear or pain behind right ear before starting with any treatment. Some easy methods which can help in relieving sharp pain behind ears include massage, stretching, acupuncture and use of medicines. Headaches are normally frequently reported health complaints among patients, people suffer from headaches at some stages of their lives. Headaches are not similar for all people, till the date 300 different types of headaches have been classified. In this article we will learn about the causes of pain behind left ear and down neck or similar pain behind right ear and the options of treatment.


What Causes Sharp Pain Behind Ears?

There are some potential reasons of pain behind ears. Let’s discuss the possible causes of this condition.

  • Occipital Neuralgia:

When the nerves in the neck get pinched, some traumatic injury to that particular part which results in damaging the nerves, a person is likely to suffer from occipital neuralgia. One of the main reasons of occipital neuralgia is keeping the neck in the bending position for a long time. Some other causes of this medical condition is arthritis. Person suffering from occipital neuralgia suffers from throbbing and sharp pain behind ears and in neck. Pain behind left ear and down neck or either the similar feeling at right side is a probable indication of pinched nerves or occipital neuralgia.

Occipital Neuralgia

  • Mastoiditis:

An ear bone is known medically as mastoid bone, the inflammation of this bone caused by bacteria is known as mastoiditis. Some times when the ear infections are left untreated, the bacteria make its way to the bone causing inflammation. The condition is more common in children. Ear discharge, pain and swelling around the ear are the symptoms of this disease. Mastoiditis results in fever, headaches and in extreme conditions it can result in loss of hearing.

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) Disorder:

The joint which facilitates the movement of jaws is known as temporomandibular joint. Sometimes due to infection, injury, loss of alignment, arthritis the jaw fails to move smoothly making it hard to chew. The temporomandibular joint disorder TMJ is one of the causes of sharp pain behind ear.

  • Dental Problems:

Certain Dental problems can also cause pain behind ears. It is important to consult dentist to find out the cause of this sharp pain behind ears.

Dental Problems

When to Consult Doctor:

Anyone can experience pain behind ear base of skull; this stabbing pain behind the ear is generally due to some ear infection and some other serious medical conditions. However if you experience sharp pain behind ear that comes and goes, you need to consult your GP.

  • Throbbing pain behind ear or pain behind ear lobe which comes and goes
  • Pain behind ear and down the neck as this can be due to occipital neuralgia.
  • No improvement even after some simple treatments.
  • Fever and weight loss accompanied by pain on bone behind ear
  • Lethargy and seizures

Treatment of Sharp Pain Behind Ears:

As you visit your doctor, several diagnostic tests are prescribed and as soon as the exact cause is known the treatment will begin. The treatment option depends on the cause of this pain behind ear lobe. Sharp pain in left ear or sharp pain in right ear treatment options are:

  • Treatment of Occipital Neuralgia:

If you are diagnosed with occipital neuralgia which is resulting in pain (in head behind ear, left side or right side) the doctor will advise some anti-inflammatory medicines along with pain killers. In extreme conditions corticosteroids are also given. You can use heat therapy and massage at home along with some exercises to treat this condition at home.

Treatment of Occipital Neuralgia

  • Treatment of Mastoiditis:

This condition is normally treated by antibiotics since it is a Bacterial infection. Intravenous antibiotics are also given depending on the intensity of infection. Sometimes the drainage of middle ear is recommended, the process is known as myringotomy. In critical conditions the part of damaged ear bone is removed and the process of removal of this damaged bone is known as mastoidectomy. It is therefore recommended to consult the doctor soon if you are experiencing pain on bone behind ears to rule out the Risk of serious Bacterial infections.

  • Treatment of TMJ:

For the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder, there are several options of treatment such as the use of pain killers, muscle relaxants and some anti-inflammatory medicines. Mouth guards or oral splints are also recommended along with some physio-therapy. Corticosteroid injections are also given sometimes to the patients. When all the treatments fail to provide relief arthroscopic and open joint surgeries are recommended.

  • Preventive Measures:

There are some preventive measures against pain behind left ear and pain behind right ear. As the pain behind ears is termed as headache, some useful tips to prevent such pains are:

Preventive Measures

  • Taking care of the body posture as slouching or keeping the neck at one particular position for so long time can result in pinching of the nerves.
  • Avoid using handheld devices as you tend to keep your neck down while looking at such devices.
  • Frequent breaks from the work to change the posture regularly,
  • Eat in time as skipped meals result in drop of blood sugar level and can cause headaches or pain behind left ear and pain behind right ear.
  • Fatigue and stress are triggers of headache. Adequate rest is therefore needed to stay healthy.

Bottom Line:

Pain behind left ear or pain behind right ear is termed as headache. There are several causes of such pain; these include occipital neuralgia, TMJ disorder, mastoiditis etc. You need to consult your doctor if you experience pain behind left ear and down neck or either such pain behind right ear. Doctor will recommend some diagnostic tests before providing treatment. Change in posture is a key as the leading cause of such pain is poor body posture and long working hours.

Read this Article :Treatment of Pain Behind Left Eye

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About the author

Jennifer K. Garcia

Jennifer K. Garcia is a is a health consultant form last 6 year. She is finally decided to run a blog to help people online.You can contact her via Email or follow her on Facebook. Also add him on