What Causes Nighttime Ear Pain?


Asked by averypeng

What Causes Nighttime Ear Pain?

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?


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.

You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.