When you say a headache you usually think of a throbbing pain that numbs the whole area, prevents you from carrying out your normal daily activities and, generally, is very uncomfortable. When it hits a particular spot, for example, just one side of the brain, it is probably a migraine. Headaches in the frontal area are also pretty common especially when you are dealing with colds. But feeling pain at such a particular place in the head as behind the ear is not so frequent. Here you’ll learn about the possible causes for that rather unusual experience.
Seemingly endless nights spent studying or in front of your PC with the neck bent forwards could lead to the pinched nerves or other sort of neck injury. The pain then ‘’spills’’ from this area to the back of your head or behind your ear and it sometimes goes all the way to the top of your head causing scalp sensitivity. Occipital Neuralgia has other causes too: diabetes, tumors in the neck, trauma to the back of your head, infection etc. This condition is often confused with a migraine. As the treatment for the 2 are pretty different, it is vital that the source of the pain is pinpointed.
The sponge-like structure filled with air-sacks is a very important component of your ear. Also known as mastoid bone, once infected, it could cause loss of your hearing ability and could even lead to life-threatening situations if left untreated. You can recognize this disease by the swelling in the ear area, ear pain, hearing loss, headache, and fever. Mastoiditis is diagnosed after checking your white blood cell count, CT scan, MRA scan and an X-ray. The disease is usually treated with antibiotics and surgery may be needed in more severe cases.
If you want to avoid having pain behind the ear, regular visits to the dentist are maybe the best advice. If you have difficulty chewing or bad breath you are possibly dealing with a decayed tooth or abscessed tooth.
Whiplash is widely known to happen during car accidents where you move your neck in an unnatural way that extends the neck muscles beyond their power. This doesn’t happen exclusively in these situations though: you can get it during sport activities and is very notorious if associated with babies who were shaken by some of the parents in order to be calmed down.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ disorder)
It is difficult when you can’t open your mouth properly and are unable to chew without pain and hearing weird clicking sounds. Unfortunately, this is what your jaw does when it is out of alignment. It usually grinds upon other bones causing pain in the whole head area. In some cases, patients are not able to open their mouth which requires surgery. The cause is usually hard to determine but it is arthritis in a big number of cases. Surgery is the last option when it comes to treatment.
Scientifically, this sort of a headache is called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. As the name itself indicates, it starts when something cold (such as ice-cream) touches the upper palate which triggers a certain nerve response which you could feel as the pain behind the ear because it is close to the area. The phenomenon was first introduced in 1937 by Rebecca Timbres.
In the majority of cases this is described as the pain felt throughout the whole head but sometimes it is localized behind the ear. The ache is triggered by indomethacin- an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis and shoulder pain
The styloid process refers to a little bone that serves as an anchor point for tongue muscles and larynx. When it is elongated it causes pain which starts from the throat and spreads to the ear. Each time you swallow the discomfort will be greater. This is usually dealt by executing a surgery.
Angina or heart attack
Heart attacks usually involve stiffness of the face and numbness in the head. When the pain caused by such a problem is located in the ear specifically, it is usually in the front ear. Some people, however, reported feeling the pain behind the ear so if you know you have a predisposition for a heart attack, you’re better off taking this seriously.