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Ear Pain-No Infection

  For approx. 1 year, I have been experiencing what I thought to be intermitant ear infections.   After the second visit to ear specialist....he has determined that it is nerve pain?   It's a sharp stabbing pain with a fizzle type of feeling.  I don't quite understand what he means by nerve pain.  I have never had an injury to my ear.  I do however have Lupas.  Could this be part of the SLE?   He said anti-inflamitory's would help the pain.  I am currently already on 6 meds, (amytriptaline, plaquinil, motrin, methotrexate, vicodin, and prednisone for flares).  
  Thank-you in advance for you help,
  Tina V.
Thanks for you question.  Earache or otalgia can be caused a wide variety
of abnormalities including dental abnormalities or infections; temporomandibular
joint dysfunction (TMJ); sinus, pharyngeal or salivary gland infections;
temporal arteritis (inflammation of the superficial temporal artery);
cervical arthritis; neuralgia (nerve pain); even a neoplasm.
The search for the definitive diagnosis can sometimes be quite exasparating
specially if none of the symptoms provide a "localization sign".  SLE (Systemic
Lupus Erythematous) can cause a peripheral mononeuropathy involving a
cranial nerve - in your case the one innervating the auditory meatus and
canal.  It is not necessary that a worsening of your ear pain occur at the
same time as an exacerbation of your SLE.
Aside from the infectious causes mentioned above - and it's unlikely
that a simple infection has been persistant for about a year without significant
deterioration at some point - all other processes have an inflammatory nature.
You might mention your ear pain to your rheumatologist or physician who
is managing your SLE.
I hope this information is helpful.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only.
Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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