• averypeng averypeng
    March 09, 2009
    What causes nighttime ear pain?
    averypeng averypeng
    March 09, 2009

    If I sleep on my right side I get an excruciating earache. Sometimes the pain gets so bad it radiates throughout my face. It's gotten so bad that I have to use my hands to put pressure on my face and lift my head to switch sides. The pain is bad enough to bring tears to my eyes. I've had the problem for a decade with no answers, but in the past few months it has been getting worse. Does anyone know what it might be, or know what I can do about it?



  • Karen Lee Richards
    Health Guide
    March 10, 2009
    Karen Lee Richards
    Health Guide
    March 10, 2009

    Anything causing you that much pain really needs to be checked out by a doctor.  There can be a number of different causes for facial pain and there's no way to tell without a physical examination and medical history. 


    The first thing that came to my mind from your description was trigeminal neuralgia, which is a compression of the 5th cranial nerve. That nerve has three main braches, and it goes to the eye, the cheek, and the lower lip. It's characterized by a stabbing pain that can last from seconds to a half hour. One of our health guides has experience with this problem, and you can read about her experience here: Trigeminal neuralgia, MS, and me


    Without knowing exactly what is causing the pain, I wouldn't know what to suggest to alleviate it.  Once your doctor gives you a diagnosis, he should also be able to give you some treatment options.


  • geenie June 04, 2009
    June 04, 2009

    glad to hear me  and my seven brothers and sisters are not alone!  The pain is incredible making you feel as if you have a "real ear infection" yet in the morning its gone just like that... We call it  Th "____ ear'  (our last name). I get it maybe EVERY  3 to 6 months   no explanation, right ear I can barely turn my head it hurts so much... But I do and I get up take some advil walk around a lil while then its gone...DR.'s think I am nuts "everything normal...bunch of baloney..most of us had tubes put in ears.. its the fluid so you have to stand and walk around and take some pain reliever for the after math...good luck you are stuck with this...

    • fwald
      May 21, 2010
      May 21, 2010

      I am so glad you posted this, because I have the same problem periodically, and the Dr's I have seen have diagnosed everything from arthritis to TMJ.  I started hearing loud noises also and the Dr's I have seen have never heard of that.  Wish I could find a Dr with more knowledge. 

    • rachelle
      September 19, 2010
      September 19, 2010

      I have had this problem--always while I sleep--for about 15 years. It feels like a massive ear infection (always the left side), wakes me rudely, and lasts only a couple minutes. While the pain is focused on my inner ear, a gentle touch of my jaw near my ear will send a shooting pain inside my ear even worse. I have recently concluded that I have trigeminal neuralgia.

      I successfully treat the symptoms when they occur. I keep a dorm-size fridge in my bedroom with an ice pack in the freezer section. As soon as the pain wakes me, I grab the ice pack and go back to bed, with my ear on the icepack. The cold completely and immediately numbs the pain, and I'm back to sleep in seconds.

      When I travel, I take a single use, instant ice pack along just in case.


      Hope this helps someone.

    • FloridaGal
      May 12, 2014
      May 12, 2014

      I also have had severe ear pain at night (when reclining). So intense I have to get up and walk.  I also "hear" loud noises which wake me.  It helps to take anti-histamines, but as you say, wish I could find a Dr with more knowledge.  

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  • abh77777 January 03, 2014
    January 03, 2014

    I have had this problem for a VERY long time.  It seems to me like it has to do with pressure, as usually the ear that begins to hurt is the ear that is down on my pillow (when sleeping on my side).  I know that the tympanic membrane in the middle ear helps to control pressure, so maybe go to the doctor and ask about that?  I am going to make an appointment soon.

  • squirrel63 August 20, 2011
    August 20, 2011

    I am sorry to hear that you are having problems.I agree with Karen..the way that you are describing your pain route..it does sound like its following the trigeminal nerve route.

    As always..check with your physician,and be tested.

    Hope that you find the solution to your pain.I hope you feel better soon.God Bless.Smile

  • KatCon February 08, 2014
    February 08, 2014

    I have the exact same thing and have had it for years. I went to the doctors when it first started occuring and he said it was most likely because of pollen the day before i get the ear ache. He then said that i should take an antihistamine when i know the pollen count will be high. To be honest i am to lazy to ever check the pollen count so i just endure the pain. 

  • Meera August 19, 2011
    August 19, 2011

    I have the same problem of the pain in the right ear at night.  First I thought it was the ear lobe but could not pin point to any specific area. At times it feels that the tube has some kind of sensation.

    I took homeopathic treatment for a few days. It  helped for 2 months only then the pain suddenly re-apperared.

    I went to an ENT specialist who asked me to get the ear cleaned, get an x-ray of the neck region to check if some thing was pressing any nerve. Even after his treament I am back to square one. The problem seems to appear suddenly and then disappear. Now I do accupressure of the lobe when pain appears.  Does any one know of a better option?

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