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Avatar universal

Sharp Pain Back of Head Behind Ear

Hi, I'm 16 yrs. old and I've been having these pains for about two years. I would be anything from schoolwork, to internet browsing, to watching tv, to eating, to even just laying down in the dark and I would get these intense sharp pains on the back of my head behind my right ear. This pain only occurs in this location and it comes and goes. At first the pains were simply a nuesance as they would come and go and weren't that bad, but lately they're getting worse causing me to stop what I'm doing until they go away. Durations last anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes. I haven't seen a doctor about this specifically but I've tiptoed around it and they tell me not to worry. What could it be and what could trigger it?

P.S. I'm a student in New Technology High School so I work a lot with computers, also I have recently been diagnosed as having GERD or an ulcer (in the upper stomach/lower esophagous area) but the pains came first, I'm average weight and height and I don't exercise regularly but make a point to exercise at least twice a week.
152 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi guero,
How are you feeling now?
Pain at the back of right ear suggest, some kind of nerve compression at the exit from the cervical rib.
As you are computer specialists and have to be in one posture for long, also points that it might be related.
You need to see an orthopaedician and if possible a neurologist to rule out any pathological state.
X-ray of cervical ribs will help to come to some conclusion.
Examination by a specialist is foremost important.
Avatar universal
sorry about you physical as well as mental agony.
I would suggest you to fix up an appointment with your family physician and if necessary an neurologist.
Avatar universal
Thank you. Really appreciate the responses. You guys gave me a lot of information and convinced me to set up a schedule with my doctors. At this moment as I write this I feel fine, the symptoms of the ulcer/GERD have retreated and have not bothered me so far. The only pain is the pain I get in the back of my head. But you guys have given me some great input, thank you. If anyone else has some suggestions would appreciate it as it may take some time for my doctor to make room for me.
Avatar universal

Are there any other symptoms present aside from the pain? Any history of previous severe ear infection? Any trauma to the head? Do you experience visual problems?

It is possible that the pain may be due to a pinched nerve or a atlantoaxial subluxation. However, if you have any symptoms related to your vision or an "aura", migraine headache could also be considered.

Do consult a physician at the earliest possible time.  You should also have your ulcer checked out because if you haven't really changed your eating habits and lifestyle, it might recur. If you smoke or drink alcohol, I would advise you to refrain from them.

Good luck.
Avatar universal
In response to your first question about any other pain, no. Every now and then I have some random small muscle twitching but it's not that significant or bothersome, it feels like a blood vessel is being rushed. To answer your second question no I haven't had any severe ear infections. I did have a serious blow to the head from the sharp end of plastic lunch box about 8-9 years ago (when I was in fourth grade). The wound bled for hours but I was home medicated. I still have the scar. Oh, I received the wound on the upper top right of my head. As far as visual problems, I wear contacts and glasses because my vision pretty much is shot without some sort of assistance. As far as any other visual problems, not that come to mind so far. And I have changed my diet since the ulcer checkup and stopped drinking beer.

Thank you.
Avatar universal
I've been experiencing similar, random sharp pains behind my ear as well. I'm going to see a doctor about it tomorrow. I was just wondering if you've seen a doctor yet and what they said to you about it.
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing the exact same thing as you have for years. As you stated in the beginning it was just a bothersome sharp pain behind my left ear that would be fleating but now when they come they last for a couple seconds to a minute. Just now I was taking a practice test on the computer when I received one that lasted almost a minute and it made me drop my computer mouse to grab my head. It was excruciatingly painful. When you went to the doctor did they have any advice on what it is and what causes it?
Avatar universal
     I was reading and some of the others here that seem to have my same problem.  I have sharp pains behind my ears and even above.  I decided to google this problem and it seems there are hundreds if not thousands with this problem.  I am a 30yr old male and am healthy outside of back pain.  So I don't quite understand what this could be. I do however have scoliosis and Sherman's disease.  Could this somehow be connected?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
                           Thanks so much,
Avatar universal
am a 42 year old woman who also has sharp but short breath taking pain behind my left ear, no infections, they last about 30 seconds. I have suffered from neck pain for years but nothing like this before. I am leveling out emotionally after much grief over a close friends death - along with raising teenagers. Could this be stress related or a pinched nerve? I need relief but walking into the ER feels so lame. Suggestions?

Avatar universal
i just now started getting these pains behind my ear too. im a 19 years old college student.  i get a sharp pain behind my left ear. i counted it 12 times yesterday. its not an unbarable pain but its really wierd. if anyone has found out what it is please let me know.
Avatar universal
the pain i feel is on the right and behind my right ear but it doesnt effect my whole head it feels like a needle is going in and it lasts from 10 seconds to 1 minute and i could just be laying down to watching tv it doesnt matter really what position im in when they accure and ive experience these epidsodes my whole life
Avatar universal
I'm a 52 woman with 5 grown children, active teacher, and Let me begin by saying, I've hardly had a headache in my entire life.

But I started having these "somewhere in between stabbing and gnawing" pains in the right back of my head three days ago; they've since moved to just behind my ear. At times the pain is just bothersome, and at others, it almost takes my breath away. I do have two neck disc herniations but never have I had any pain such as this. My husband an ER nurse, says it's nothing, but I'm kinda scared because my mother's family had many problems with stomach aneurisms.  
Avatar universal
Have you ever considered your wisdom teeth being the problem???
Avatar universal
I googled this as well trying to figure out what is going on in the back of my head.  I saw a doctor 5 years ago, an ENT, and he told me that it was a pulled muscle.  It makes sense because it only flares up after I run.  I have had 2 children since, stopped running and haven't had any problems.  Well, I started running at the first of the year, and I am up to 5 miles now.  The pain in unbearable.  Tylenol is the best for it.  I've tried Motrin and a muscle relaxer (since I was told it was muscular) and they do not help.  I really would like for it to go away because I do not want to be dependent on Tylenol.  I also would like to continue to run.
889485 tn?1241101060
Its not the wisdom teeth, I am having the same problem right now and I have had all my wisdom teeth pulled. I have also been having headaches and I know I need to go to the chiropractor. I know it must be related, It must be from either your back being out of wack or a combination of that and stress. Yes it does feeling like stabbing pains and it keeps me up at night. I will let you know if it goes away after my chiropractor visit.
Avatar universal
I have had the same problem (sharp pain behind right ear) since 2004 and saw an ENT.  I had an x-ray and the Dr. said it appeared I had a lymph node and muscle that were actually working together to pinch a nerve.  He said the only option was surgery and it was too risky with the nerve being so close to the face.  I got a 2nd opinion from another ENT and she said the muscle in question was actually "inflamed" due to TMJ.  I was basically diagnosed to get regular massages and use a bite plate at night.  This was about 3 years ago.  I can't afford and don't have time for regular massages and have just given up.
Avatar universal
Not sure if what I have is similar.  It's like a sharp stabbing pain behind the ear.  The area around that pain feels like it's bruised.  It lasts for several days at a time and goes away.  Sometimes half of my face will feel slightly bruised also or numb. Tylenol helps.  

I have always related it to an unbalance issue.  I first started getting it when I was carrying my backpack around on one arm.  Now, I work mostly sitting, and it starts up every once in a while.  I am trying to take a lot more walks, which does seem to help, as other muscles get annoyed from sitting too long.

When I saw a neurologist about it, he had no clue.
Avatar universal
I am searching the web.  I have had a pain behind my left ear ever since I was in a car accident over a year ago.  It feels like a burning sensation and can go into sharp pains.  I am going to a chiropractor and after the adjustment it lessens.  Here is what I have found out, form me, it has to do with a torn trochanter  due to the impact of the car accident.

I am still searching because it has not gone away, I just know how to manage it now to get some of the pain to lessen.  
Avatar universal
I have had the same pain for about five years and I am twenty one right now. Stress seems to be the cause of the pain and I used to do gymnastics religiously. My doctor said it was a muscle spasm in my neck. I have found exercises, muscle relaxers, tylenol, ibuprofen, vicodin, and percocet to be ineffective. The best way i have learned to treat this pain is to sleep with a tempurpedic pillow and honestly smoke marijuana. I hate marijuana but the medicinal properties of it are amazing with muscles. I take one or two hits, go to bed and in the morning i feel great. Hope this helps some of you.
527589 tn?1301678178
In reading other posts under another title I found a reference to the sharp head pains you all describe. I have them too so I took notice and looked up online what they called "Ice Pick Headache". It's a form of migrain.
Avatar universal
I have had these same pains for 15 years also.It hasn't worsened. it is very interesting to see others have it also. Mine seem to be when I ve had to take sinious meds. Its happens so fast that it seems wierd to rush to the dr. I have talked with them about it,at first. but no one seems concerned. My concern was when the pain hits while driving, I fear crashing,its so sharp sometimes I have to grab my neck and breath deep breaths for it to ease up. it too only last seconds to a minute. I have always wondered it cell phone use may be the cause. What do you think?
I wouldn't think too much on medical emergency issues now after reading these posts, or there would be someone on here that has had a conclusion to this problem after having it for yrs anyways.Neck massage or chropractors may be helpful for tention problems. there are great massage devices for home use at pharmacies at reasonable prices.
Avatar universal
I too have started very recently with these pains.  I'm a 37yo male in a high stress job.  I have been known to grind my teeth at night but have not done much for it.  Approximately 1 week ago I started coming down with the flu (presumably swine).  Around the same time I started noticing a sharp, brief (< 3 seconds) stabbing pain behind my left ear, around the mastoid process.  After a couple of days the pain moved to the same spot on the right side and has remained.  I get about 5 of these pains randomly per hour all day long.  They do not wake me from sleep.  I cannot reproduce them reliable through repositioning, stretching, anything.  I don't they are ice pick headaches due to the reliability of the location.  I am convinced they are related to TMJ, stress, and the general inflammatory condition I am in now.  I do appreciate reading through everyone's responses as now I don't feel so alone in this!  I will be trying Tylenol for symptom relief.
Avatar universal
I just had an episode where I was standing one minute and the next on the floor. The pain was so sharp, it felt like someone stabbed me in the top of my head with some sharp thin tool and the pain went straight down the top of my head thru my ear and into my teeth. I was on the floor holding my head for my deal life. After the pain left, 2 minutes later, the pain in my head isnt so bad but it scared me. Anyone have any information on what this could be? Please let me know!

Scared in Maine
Avatar universal
i've also had this pain- on the left side of my head. does anyone think it could be caused from cell phone radiation? i only use my cell phone on the left side. i have a problem with a tooth on that side, so maybe it's related to that as well. i'm like some of the other people on here who work on the computer- sometimes 17 hours a day. when i get this pain, it's really sharp and feels like a needle poking that one point about 1 1/2 inches from my ear and it freaks me out. the pain shoots either from, or to, that point from my neck.
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