Pain behind ears and neck is common complain. There are number of conditions that are responsible for this discomforting pain. Often neck pain radiates to other parts of the body. Many people complain of pain radiating from neck to shoulder or arm or towards head. Reversely pain in different parts of head can also radiate to neck.
In majority of cases pain behind the ear is accompanied with pain in neck. This is because of several neck muscles attached to the mastoid process, a bony protuberance of skull situated behind the ear.Pain in most cases is sharp.
Causes Of Pain Behind The Ear And Down The Neck
There are many causes for pain behind ear and in neck. Most of them are temporary and may recede after sometime without any treatment.
- One of the main reasons for pain behind ear is due to spasm and weakness of the neck muscles. Many neck muscles have their attachment in mastoid bone. It is the skull bone located at the back of ear. Inflammation and spasm of neck muscles can cause pain behind the ear.
- Headache caused due to spasm and inflammation of muscles, joints and nerves of cervical spine can cause pain behind ear and down the neck. Pain usually radiates from back of neck to front of the skull. This also includes the ears. Headache can arise due to compression of nerves between the cervical vertebra.
- Pain in jaw caused due to temporo- mandibular joint dysfunction can sometimes radiate down to neck and behind the ear.
- Whiplash can lead to pain behind ear and in neck region. Whiplash is an injury occurring due to rapid flexion and extension of neck. This injury often occurs in motor accidents.
- Sometimes infection in throat can be a reason for pain behind ear and down the neck.
Treatment Options For Pain Behind The Ear
Treatment of neck pain and behind the ear depends on the underlying cause. Once the cause is known, it becomes easier to manage pain and other symptoms. If the cause is TMJ dysfunction it needs to be treated. If the cause is muscular a gentle massage and painkillers will help to alleviate the pain.
If the pain is related to compressed nerve caused due to vertebral problem, stretching, physiotherapy, and neck collar will help to alleviate the condition. Infection in ear should be treated with antibiotics and anti inflammatory remedies. Once the infection in ear is treated, patient also gets relieved with pain in neck.