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Sharp, Severe Pain Above Left Ear

  Dear Doctor:
  I am a 77-year-old white female with a history of Crohn's disease who has
  just had a colonoscopy with negative results.
  I have been suffering for five years with intermittent, severe, sharp pain
  over my left ear.  More recently these pains sometimes radiate from my
  left shoulder, go up my neck,then to the same place above my left ear.  
  Often these pains last one minute, but occasionally they recur over and
  over again for up to one hour.  By slowly rotating my head from side to
  side the pains will sometimes lessen.  There seems to be no pattern or
  movement which causes the onset, other than stretching with my arms over
  my head, which is sure to bring one on.  Weeks have passed without this
  sudden pain and then again, they occur quite frequently.  My left ear
  sometimes has an odd feeling and I can't hear well in it even with an
  aide, also the hearing decreased very quickly in the left ear, while it
  was much slower in decreasing in the right ear.
  I do not over use caffeine, do not smoke or use alcohol.
  I have had three previous TIA's over the past 15 years, spread out five
  years apart.  The last one was in June of 98 and the effects lasted longer
  than the usual 24 hours, but with subsequent full recovery.  I am on two
  aspirin per day, one in AM, one in PM for TIA prevention.
  I do have arthritis and it was suggested that this might be caused by
  arthritis in the neck shooting pains up to the side of the head.
  I am searching for an answer to these severe pains.  Thank you for any
My suspicion is that this symptom represents compression or irritation of a nerve which comes up from the back of the top of the neck to provide sensation to the back of your scalp on one side. The positional changes and shooting, transient nature suggest this.
It doesn't sound like vascular-related problem (TIA or stroke).
It doesn't sound like anything to do with Crohn's disease (though if my memory is correct, perhaps 1/4 of patients with Crohn's have arthritis involving their spine, and that may predispose to such nerve irritation).
It's not a bad idea to have this checked out by a doctor. Physical therapy may help, or perhaps certain medications. As you know, this forum can't substitute for medical advice from your doctor. CCF MD mdf.

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Avatar universal
I am a 35 yr female. I suffer from Idiopathic Gastroparesis. I am on a few medications, however none of them have this side effect that I have been experiencing lately. Over the past few months I have intermittent sharp pains in my head above my left ear. They come and go at will. I try to see what had been triggering the pain, however I can't seem to figure it out. I do know I frequently get a knot between my shoulder and neck. I don't know if it is nerve related, however I do know it is nerve racking!!! It's not funny at all just trying to make sense of things. If you have any suggestions as to why this is happening, I would really appreciate your opinion....
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