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Excruciating headaches and earaches at night?

I was in a bad car accident 3 years ago and about 6 months after it I started getting really irregular headaches(maybe once a week, sometimes twice a night, sometimes 3 times a week, you could never gauge them) but they were ALWAYS at night and ALWAYS woke me up with the pain and a feeling of pins and needles in my head, I couldnt move an inch because of the pain and Id lie there til it went away.
This lasted on and off for a year and a half, I got an MRI and saw a specialist but they found nothing and didnt know whether or not to relate it to the accident. (I dont remember hitting my head, then again I was unconcsious for a few minutes)
But these nights when I fall asleep if I wake up during the night I cant lift my head off the pillow or move it at all with this excruciating pain in my ear/around my ear with that same feeling of pins and needles,
so what is it?
Is it common?
Because with an MRI showing up nothing and a specialist saying Im fine Im beginning to wonder?
Thanks for your help
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to take a detailed history from you and do a physical examination,  I can not tell you what the cause of your ear pain is. However, I will describe to you some of the neurologic and non-neurologic causes of episodes of ear pain.

Most commonly, ear pain is not neurologic. It is most often otologic: coming from the ear. This could be due to ear infection of the inner ear (otitis media) or outer ear (otitis externa), trauma, reflux.

Ear pain can be referred: coming from other areas besides the ear. The ear canal is very well innervated: it receives nerve endings from a variety of nerves that also innervate (supply) other areas. A neuralgia of the nerves that innervate the ear can cause pain referred to the ear. An example of a neuralgia is trigeminal neuralgia, I'm not sure if you have heard of this, it is an irritation of one of the nerves that supply sensation to the face and it can cause sharp shooting face pains, in addition to ear pains. The neuralgias can be treated with medication or injections.

Ear pain can be referred from problems in the throat, or the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ), which often leads to problems when people grind their teeth at night. Ear pain can also be referred pain from a dental problem, such as a tooth abscess.

In the presence of associated symptoms such as hoarseness, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, pain during swallowing, recurrent nose bleeds, or a neck mass, ear pain may be indicative of a tumor in the head or neck area.

When ear pain is triggered by neck movement this may imply that the nerves that innervate the ear that arise from the cervical spine (particularly the C2 nerve) may be irritated. One way to have that assessed is by obtaining an MRI of the cervical spine (the neck area).

As you can see, ear pain can be otologic or neurologic. Evaluation by an Ear/nose/throat (ENT) specialist and a neurologist may help you further understand the cause of your symptoms and find relief from them.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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Avatar universal
I had a similar problem after a bad car accident and I had all the medical tests done and nothing helped.  I went to a chiropractor and he said I had some abnormal stuff in my neck which could be bothering the nerves.  I got treated and haven't had the problem since.  Maybe this is what is wrong with you it is worth a shot and it was cheaper than the first test the hospital did alone, I wish I would have seen him first and saved all that money.  Good luck.
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