Learn about getting a comprehensive orofacial pain evaluation and become an educated patient.
Ear pain (otalgia) is common and can have many causes. Pain originating from the ear is called primary otalgia and is more common in children. Pain originating from outside the ear is secondary otalgia and is more common in adults. An earache may be sharp, dull, or burning pain in one or both ears. The pain may last a short or long time.
To determine a diagnosis, your doctor will consider the location and duration of your pain, aggravating factors (what makes it worse), alleviating factors (what makes it better), other symptoms, previous episodes, medical history, smoking status, and alcohol abuse.
You should consider seeking emergency care if you experience the following symptoms with ear pain:
Geniculate neuralgia is a rare type of nerve pain that happens when a branch of the facial nerve, the nervus intermedius, becomes damaged or compressed. Ear pain, ranging from mild to debilitating, is one of the most common symptoms. Geniculate neuralgia results in severe, deep ear pain which is usually sharp, often described as an “ice pick in the ear”, but may also be dull and burning. Ear pain can be triggered by stimulation of the ear canal, or can follow swallowing or talking, and can be accompanied by other facial pain. Treatment for geniculate neuralgia usually involves managing symptoms with medication and noninvasive therapies. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to decompress the facial nerve.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is a condition causing throat, ear, and neck pain. The characteristics of GPN are similar to trigeminal neuralgia with some differences, which must be identified for the correct diagnosis and treatment. Clusters of unilateral attacks of sharp, stabbing, and shooting pain localized in the throat radiating to the ear or vice versa are characteristic of GPN. The distribution of pain is diagnostic: the pain shoots from the pharynx (part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity), tonsil, and the back of the tongue upwards to the eustachian tube (a canal that connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, which consists of the upper throat and the back of the nasal cavity) and inner ear or to the jaw. Read more about glossopharyngeal neuralgia.
Dr. Derek Steinbacher, Director of Craniofacial Surgery, Yale Medicine, Chief of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry, FPA Medical Advisory Board member, reviews migraines, TMJ disorders, and dental pain.
Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke will discuss medical treatment of trigeminal neuropathic pain with Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
Wolfgang Liedtke, M.D. Ph.D. is Chair of Neurology, Global Development Scientific Council at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology; Attending Physician, Duke Neurology Clinics and Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy, serving patients there for over 17 years.
Complementary health approaches, also referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrative health therapies, and other terms, refers to a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, […]
Dr. Mark Linskey, Dr. Richard Zimmerman, and Megan Hamilton discuss what to look for in the decision making process when you are trying to find a doctor and treatment for facial pain.
Dr. Larry Arbeitman will answer: What is Upper Cervical Chiropractic? How does is differ from traditional Chiropractic methods? Learn about the connection between the Upper Cervical Spine and Facial Pain, research and case studies, what you can expect from UCC and how you can integrate it into your healthcare plan. You will also be able to ask Dr. Arbeitman your questions during this live presentation.
In this webinar, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the FPA Medical Advisory Board, talks about the top questions patients and their loved ones have regarding trigeminal neuralgia.
Dr. Raymond Sekula, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of the Cranial Nerve Disorders Program at UPMC, and FPA Medical Advisory Board member reviews the challenges that can complicate the care of people with neuropathic facial pain.
Dr. Leesa Scott-Morrow will discuss anxiety in people with facial pain.This webinar will introduce the brain mechanisms that are involved in the experience of fear and anxiety, including discussion of […]
Dr. Jeffrey Brown, Chairman of the Facial Pain Association’s Medical Advisory Board, interviews Dr. Hossein Ansari on medical causes of neuropathic facial pain.
Can Hormones Affect Facial Pain? Some women experience a change in their facial pain at various points in their menstrual cycles, when taking or stopping hormonal methods of birth control, […]
Dr. Deborah Barrett offers a framework and tools to help people improve their quality of life, just as they are, while also reducing pain and suffering. Her work draws from empirically based cognitive and behavioral interventions, and she practices what she preaches every day.
Neuropathic facial pain is diagnosed almost exclusively by the individual’s description of the symptoms. Dr. Kim Burchiel developed a list of questions to help doctors determine exactly which classification may describe a […]
Facial pain can be described in many words…but if you had to choose just one, what would it be? The YPC recently shared how we would describe TN in one word and how we plan to overcome TN.
Dr. Julie Pilitsis, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Professor of Neurosurgery Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical Center and FPA Medical Advisory Board member presents an overview of trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic facial pains.
Dr. Konstantin Slavin discusses neuromodulation, a procedure used to treat and enhance quality of life in individuals who suffer severe chronic illness due to persistent pain.
Jennifer M. Wagner, Executive Director of the Western Pain Society, explains the brain-body connection with an emphasis on pain response and provides a list of strategies for those affected by chronic pain.
By filling out the form below, you will receive a free FPA Patient Guide and periodic updates on the management and treatment of facial pain conditions. We do not share this information with any outside sources.