Otalgia is the medical word for ear ache or ear pain. It may be burning, stabbing, dull, sharp, sore, full, or clogged. There are many causes that range from benign to serious. Benign causes are more common than serious ones.
What causes otalgia?
There are two categories of otalgia. Primary otalgia is caused by a problem with the ear. Referred otalgia is caused by a problem of another structure usually near the ear. Referred otalgia is much more common than primary otalgia.
What are common ear causes of otalgia?
Ear infections are the most common cause of ear pain in this category. Swimmer’s ear (infection of the ear canal) and otitis media (fluid or infection behind the ear drum) cause primary ear pain. Trauma to the ear with a cotton tipped applicator or finger nail may also cause ear pain and ear wax impaction. Dull ache or fullness may also result be experienced. Under ventilated ears (Eustachian tube dysfunction) or excess fluid in the inner ear (Meniere’s syndrome) should be considered by your doctor. Very rarely otalgia is a sign of malignancy (cancer) of the ear. Usually primary ear pain will cause hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo as a clue that the ear is directly involved.
What are common causes of referred otalgia?
In referred otalgia, other ear symptoms like hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo are usually absent. The jaw joint and muscles are the most common cause of referred otalgia. Anxiety, stress, bruxism (grinding teeth), large bites of food, excessive yawning, nail biting, and excessive gum chewing are risk factors. Strain of the chewing muscles or sprain of the jaw joint can occur.
Neck pathology can also cause referred otalgia. Anxiety, stress, arthritis, whiplash injury, excessive office work, excessive cell phone scrolling, and neck popping are risk factors.
Gingivitis, cavities, and infected or abscessed teeth can cause referred ear pain along with dental problems.
Trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain) may cause referred ear pain along with stabbing cheek pain after light touch or wind exposure.
Cancers of the head and neck may cause referred ear pain. Throat cancer may present with ear pain associated with difficulty swallowing or hoarseness. Cancer of the salivary glands may cause ear pain, mass of the cheek/jaw/neck, or facial droop.
Where does treatment start?
With otalgia, the response to treatment can be useful to help find the culprit. Most causes are not serious. Conservative treatment is a good place to start. If you have risk factors for jaw strain/sprain, begin by resting your jaw. Maintain a soft diet for 1 week. Stop chewing gum and hard candies. Apply ice and/or heat to your jaw joint. Take ibuprofen daily for a week. Consider talking to your dentist about a bite guard to wear at night so that you do not grind your teeth. Also, if you have hurting teeth, you may be compensating your bite in a way that strains your jaw. Have this evaluated by your dentist as well.
If you have risk factors for neck strain take regular breaks when straining you neck. Stop habitual popping or cracking your neck. Take breaks from looking down at your cell phone. Take ibuprofen daily for a week. Consider neck physical therapy especially if you have had a whiplash injury.
If conservative measures do not work or if you have red flag symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, mass, facial droop an evaluation of your ear pain is recommended. It is important to find the cause of persistent ear pain and make sure the ear is healthy.
Swimmer’s Ear (External Otitis) (for Teens)
What Is Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the ear canal, the tubular opening that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by different types of bacteria or fungi.
What Causes Swimmer’s Ear?
Swimmer’s ear — or otitis externa — usually develops in ears that are exposed to moisture. People who get it often have been diving or swimming a lot, which can bring germs directly into the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear often happens during the summer months, when lots of us are enjoying water activities.
People who don’t swim can also develop it by scratching their ear canals when they try to clean their ears. This is especially true if they use cotton swabs or dangerously sharp small objects, like hair clips or bobby pins.
Sometimes, in a person with a middle ear infection (otitis media), pus collected in the middle ear can drain into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum, causing otitis externa.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear?
The main sign is severe ear pain that gets worse when the outside part of the ear is pulled or pressed on. Sometimes there is itching in the ear canal before the pain begins.
The outer ear might get red or swollen. Lymph nodes around the ear may get enlarged and tender. Sometimes, there’s a greenish-yellow discharge of pus from the ear opening. It can be hard to hear in the affected ear if pus or swelling of the canal begins to block passage of sound into the ear.
How Long Does Swimmer’s Ear Last?
Prescription ear drops usually cure swimmer’s ear in 7–10 days. The pain should ease within a few days of starting treatment.
External otitis is not contagious, so you don’t have to limit your contact with friends as long as you’re feeling well enough to socialize.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if you have any of these problems:
pain in an ear with or without fever
long-lasting itching of the ear or in the ear canal
loss of hearing or decreased hearing in one or both ears
discharge from an ear, especially if it’s thick, discolored, bloody, or bad-smelling
Getting treatment is the fastest way to relieve the ear pain and stop the infection.
How Is Swimmer’s Ear Treated?
How doctors treat swimmer’s ear depends on how severe the pain and infection are. For most outer ear infections, they prescribe ear drops containing antibiotics possibly mixed with medicine to help ease swelling. These will fight the infection and help with pain. Ear drops typically are used several times a day for 7–10 days.
If swelling narrows the opening into the ear, the doctor may clean the ear and insert a sponge called a wick into the ear canal. It will carry ear drops into the ear more effectively. If you have a severe infection, you might also get antibiotic liquid or pills to swallow. Your doctor may send some of the fluid draining from your ear to a lab to find out which germ is causing the infection.
What Can I Do to Feel Better?
At home, follow your doctor’s directions for using ear drops and take all doses of antibiotic medicine as prescribed. Keep taking these for all days of treatment, even if you start to feel better. If you stop too soon, the infection could come back.
You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for ear pain. If they don’t help, let your doctor know. You’ll only need pain medicine for a day or two — until the ear drops and antibiotics begin to work.
To protect your ear while it heals, your doctor will probably tell you to keep your ears dry for several days or weeks — even while showering or shampooing! This can be tough, but your doctor can give you suggestions on how to do this, such as using a cotton ball covered in petroleum jelly as an earplug.
Can Swimmer’s Ear Be Prevented?
You may be able to prevent swimmer’s ear by using over-the-counter acetic acid drops after you’ve finished swimming for the day. But don’t use these drops if you have ear tubes or a hole in your eardrum. Dry your ears well with a clean towel after swimming, bathing, or showering. You also can use a hair dryer on the cool setting to dry the inside of the ears.
Keep all objects out of your ear canals — including cotton swabs — unless your doctor has told you it’s OK to use them.
Outer Ear Infections
Ear infections are common and represent a significant proportion of a family doctor’s work. Fortunately, the majority of infections settle without ill effects whether the problem is in the outer, middle or inner ear, although sometimes longer term problems can arise.
The ear is divided into three parts: outer, middle and inner (see diagram). Infection in each part will give rise to certain patterns of symptoms and the type of symptoms which may occur with ear infections include:
pain or earache
discharge which may be blood-stained or smelly
The only sign of an ear infection in young children may simply be a fever and some tugging of the ear by the child.
Dependent on which features are predominant, it is possible to identify the infection as arising within one of the three parts of the ear.
Outer Middle Inner
Drawings by S Blatrix, adapted with permission from ‘Promenade around the cochlea’. This is an excellent site for explaining in detail how the ear works.
Outer ear infections (otitis externa)
This is an infection of the skin of the ear canal and very common. It can be extremely painful so that sleep may be impossible. Generally, outer ear infections are caused by a bacterial infection of the skin of the canal, although occasionally it may be due to a fungus or yeast.
The skin can become so swollen that the ear canal closes, causing temporary deafness, and there can be a scanty discharge from the ear. It occurs commonly in people who suffer from skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis but also in people with narrow ear canals or who swim a great deal.
It can affect both ears and often keeps recurring, especially if you are otherwise rundown or stressed. Not surprisingly, such symptoms usually mean that you will need to consult your doctor in order to receive effective treatment.
Treatment for outer ear infections is generally in the form of antibiotic ear drops which are instilled into the ear canal for at least a week. Sometimes antibiotics by mouth will also be necessary. In severe cases referral to an ear nose and throat specialist is both necessary and appropriate for cleaning of the ear canal and more intensive treatment.
Eczema of the ear canal and pinna Ear discharge in otitis externa
By D Bowdler and R Lloyd Faulconbridge, University Hospital Lewisham
Disclaimer: The details in this section are for general information only. ENT UK can not assist in providing further information on the content below or booking appointments. Always check with your own doctor.
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is a rare condition that can cause sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain in the throat area near the tonsils, the back of the tongue or the middle ear.
The pain occurs along the pathway of the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is located deep in the neck. It serves the back of the tongue, throat and the parotid gland (one of the salivary glands), the middle ear and eustachian tube.
Painful episodes are usually intermittent, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. The pain might recur several times in a day. In other cases it might not come back for several weeks or months.
Certain activities may trigger painful episodes, including:
Drinking cold liquids
Sneezing or coughing
Clearing the throat
Touching the gums
Sometimes people with this condition may avoid eating, drinking or chewing because they fear that these activities may trigger a painful attack. Over time, this can result in weight loss.
Generally, only one side of the head is affected by GPN. The glossopharyngeal nerve has several branches, including the tympanic branch that receives sensations from the middle ear and mastoid.
Another important branch is the carotid sinus nerve that serves the carotid body and carotid sinus (widening of a carotid artery at the main branch point). Painful attacks may result in life-threatening symptoms, such as fainting (syncope), slow heartbeat (bradycardia) or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). In very rare cases, cardiac arrest may occur with no painful episodes.
How common is glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN)?
The disorder is rare, with less than 1 case reported per year among 100,000 people in the United States. It tends to occur more often in adults over age 40, but it may be present at any age. It appears to affect men more than women.
Symptoms and Causes
What causes glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN)?
Often there is no apparent cause for the condition. Compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve by a blood vessel near the brainstem may irritate the nerve and cause pain. In other cases, an elongated styloid process (a bone in the neck near the nerve) can cause pain. This condition is called Eagle syndrome.
Trauma due to an injury or a surgical procedure may also result in glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Other possible causes include infections, tumors and vascular abnormalities. Patients with multiple sclerosis may experience glossopharyngeal neuralgia as a result of the breakdown of the myelin sheath, the fatty membrane that surrounds and insulates the nerve.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) diagnosed?
The location of the pain is important in the diagnosis of glossopharyngeal neuralgia, since other conditions, such as trigeminal neuralgia, may produce similar symptoms. There is no single diagnostic test that can confirm that GPN is present. An ear, nose and throat physician will perform an examination to rule out other disorders. The physician may stimulate certain areas, such as the tonsils or back of the tongue, to see if pain occurs.
The doctor will ask whether certain activities, such as talking or chewing, trigger pain. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan may be ordered to determine whether a tumor or blood vessel is compressing the nerve.
Management and Treatment
How is glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) treated?
In most situations, anticonvulsant drugs are the first line of treatment. If drug therapy is not effective or if a patient has troublesome side effects from the medication, surgery is considered.
Anticonvulsants: Carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, gabapentin, pregabalin, and other antiseizure medications are often prescribed for GPN.
Antidepressants: Amitriptyline and other antidepressant drugs are sometimes prescribed for use along with anticonvulsants to treat individuals who become depressed due to debilitating pain.
Anesthetics: Local anesthetics may be injected to block the nerve or applied topically to areas where pain occurs (for example, the back of the throat).
Several surgical procedures may be options in alleviating the pain associated with GPN. The most common of these is microvascular decompression as explained below. If a tumor is found compressing the nerve or if Eagle syndrome is diagnosed (elongated styloid compressing the nerve), then a different type of surgery may be warranted.
Microvascular decompression: This procedure is the most common surgical technique for treating glossopharyngeal neuralgia. It is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision and a small opening in the bone behind the ear on the side of the head where pain occurs. He or she will use a microscope and/or an endoscope to view the nerve and search for any blood vessels compressing the nerve. The nerve and artery are separated and a small permanent Teflon sponge will be placed between the nerve and the vessel that is compressing the nerve. After the procedure is performed, the surgeon will replace the bone and close the incision. Microvascular decompression has the highest initial and long-term success rate. It is effective in about 90% of cases and yields a lower rate of pain recurrence. However, if a patient cannot have microvascular decompression surgery due to other medical conditions, a less invasive procedure may be used.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GK or SRS): While this has been used much more commonly in trigeminal neuralgia (similar disorder of a different nerve), it has been used in a small number of cases of difficult-to-treat glossopharyngeal neuralgia. A frame is placed on the head and MRI/CT pictures are taken. The treatment is performed by a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist working together. The glossopharyngeal nerve is targeted using highly precise software and a high dose of focused radiation is delivered onto the nerve to cause partial injury. While this can provide pain relief, it can cause partial numbness in the back of the throat.
Your Ears May Reveal Clues About Your Health | LeMay Hearing & Balance
Want to dazzle your friends in Reno with clues about their physical health or self-diagnose yourself without consulting Dr. Google? Look no further than the ears! They often provide a surprising amount of information regarding what’s going on inside a person’s body.
What the Ears Reveal
The ears aren’t only conduits for sound; they can provide telling clues about a person’s overall health. The following indicators are especially reveling:
Creased earlobes. A horizontal crease across the middle of the earlobe is called Frank’s sign and may indicate the presence of coronary heart disease. It occurs when tissue around the blood vessels of the ears and heart breaks down. A diagonal line alone isn’t enough to make a diagnosis, but if you are displaying symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, make an appointment with a Reno health professional ASAP.
Hearing loss. Not all signs of underlying health problems are physical. Hearing loss can cause a number of physical, social and psychological health problems, especially if untreated. Johns Hopkins researchers found that people with moderate hearing loss are three times more likely to experience dementia compared to those with normal hearing. Other complications include memory loss, social withdrawal, depression, diabetes and kidney disease.
Single-sided deafness. People with hearing loss confined to one ear might have an infection or fluid in the inner ear or a benign tumor called an acoustic neuroma. While it’s noncancerous, it may eventually grow large enough to press against the auditory nerve, causing single-sided deafness. Other symptoms include dizziness, tinnitus and facial drooping or weakness.
Tinnitus. A ringing sensation in the ears is often a sign of an underlying health issue. There are many possible causes of tinnitus including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, hormonal changes, Meniere’s disease and tumors. Those in Reno whose tinnitus is particularly bothersome might experience stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Itchy ears. Itchiness in the ears is often a sign of eczema or fungus. White flakes and a red ear canal often accompany the former condition, while a white discharge might occur when you have a fungal infection. Any itchiness lasting longer than a couple of days should be evaluated by a Reno hearing professional.
Earache. Children frequently experience earaches in association with infection due to their still-maturing anatomy, but the condition is rarer in adults. An earache may be “referred pain” from a toothache, TMJ disorder, cellulitis, tumor or sore throat. Frequent or persistent earaches should be checked out by a Reno audiologist.
Wet, sticky earwax. There’s nothing unusual about earwax, but if the consistency is wet and sticky, your odds of breast cancer might be higher. This texture often occurs in response to a mutation on the ABCC11 gene. If you experience wet, sticky earwax – especially if there’s a family history of breast cancer – you should schedule a medical checkup.
Red ears. Obviously, your ears are going to be red if you’ve spent too much time in the sun or have just done something embarrassing, but if neither of these things have occurred, you may be experiencing something more serious. Red ears can be signs of hormonal changes caused by menopause or a sign Red Ear Syndrome, a disorder that causes a burning sensation in the ears and may trigger migraines and cluster headaches.
Numbness. Numbness that occurs with symptoms such as facial drooping, limb weakness or speaking difficulties may indicate a stroke. If it’s accompanied by vertigo, hearing loss or tinnitus, you might have an inner ear disorder called Meniere’s disease. Numbness and a tingling sensation that extends to other extremities, such as the hands and feet, is often associated with peripheral neuropathy, a common symptom of diabetes.
Structural abnormalities and skin tags. Unusually-shaped ears that have excessive skin tags – small, fleshy growths – can indicate the presence of kidney disease.
Keep in mind that none of these symptoms offer irrefutable proof of an underlying disease, so approaching a stranger with red ears at a cocktail party and saying, “How’s your menopause coming along?” is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Still, symptoms such as these are worth noting and, if accompanied by other signs, warrant a talk with your Reno audiologist.
Call LeMay Hearing & Balance at (775) 323-5566 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Tips for Using Ear Drops Correctly
If you have some water in your ears after swimming or have an ear full of wax, you may have reached for ear drops. They have many uses, including treating ear infections, such as swimmer’s ear, excessive ear wax (AKA cerumen) and ear pain. And you can get them over the counter (OTC) or by prescription.
But before you go dripping drops in your ear, there’s a few things you should know. We spoke with Heather Coffman, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, to share important information regarding different types of drops and tips for how best to use them.
Is it safe to use ear drops?
Whether for ear wax, ear pain, tinnitus or swimmer’s ear, ear drops are generally safe, but take note.
“Ear drops are safe as long as your eardrum is intact,” Dr. Coffman said. When there is a perforation in the eardrum, drops can get into the middle ear. In this case, drops with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can be painful. Some types of prescribed antibiotic drops, such as gentamicin, neomycin or Cortisporin, can damage the ear.
“It’s best if you ask your healthcare provider if the medicine is safe if you have a perforation,” Dr. Coffman said. “Additionally, if the drops are causing significant pain, seek medical care from your primary care provider or an ear, nose and throat specialist.”
Safe treatment options
For ear wax
Ear wax isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact it protects the ear canal. However, for some, it can be a nuisance and excess wax can lead to hearing loss, discomfort and rarely infections. To remove ear wax build-up, Dr. Coffman recommends the following methods:
Hydrogen peroxide-based products like Debrox and Murine, which also contain glycerin.
Mineral oil to help soften hard wax and help with itchy ears
Wax irritation kits, but use these with caution, Dr. Coffman said.
“They can cause eardrum perforations and may lead to infection if water gets trapped behind the wax,” she said. “I never recommend water irrigation for diabetic patients due to the risk for severe infection.”
Removal by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Don’t stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow,” and it’s for good reason. Dig around with things that don’t belong in there, and you’ll put yourself at risk. Dr. Coffman recommends steering clear of cotton swabs, paper clips, bobby pins and using ear candling to remove unwanted ear wax.
For ear pain
Ear pain might be from an ear infection, an ear injury or poorly fit hearing aids. Typically, ear wax does not cause ear pain. However, frequently ear pain is referred pain from another location such as the throat or the jaw joint. Drops used to numb the ear canal are not recommended. “Drops for ear pain often contain benzocaine, and typically are not effective and have not been FDA-approved,” Dr. Coffman said.
For ear infections
To prevent infection, you can use swimmer’s ear drops containing rubbing alcohol to help dry out the ear canal or a combination of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar (mixed half and half). Use caution, however, because these can be painful in a red and swollen ear.
To relieve ear infections and decrease ear pain, your provider may prescribe antibiotic ear drops.
Tips for using ear drops correctly
The following instructions can help you put ear drops in your ears. If you’re having trouble putting them into your own ears, ask someone to help you.
Warm the ear drop bottle in your hands. Any ear drops that are cold (or too warm) can cause dizziness when placed in the ear canal.
Lie down with your affected ear facing up.
Gently pull your ear back to help straighten the ear canal.
Hold the dropper over the ear and squeeze out recommended drops (typically 4 to 5 drops of antibiotics per dose).
Massage the tragus (the piece of skin that sticks out just in front of the ear canal like an open trapdoor). This will close and open the ear canal and force the drops down the ear canal.
Continue to lie on your side for a couple minutes to allow the drops to reach the eardrum at the base of the ear canal.
Sit up and let any excess drops drain out.
Repeat in the other ear, if needed.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
If your ear is hurting, ear drops are causing you significant pain, you have trouble hearing or are experiencing other symptoms, such as dizziness or ringing, contact your healthcare provider or an ear, nose and throat specialist. To find a Banner Health specialist, visit bannerhealth.com.
Got more questions? We’re all ears.
Here are some additional topics you may be interested in:
Ear, Nose and Throat
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Ear Pain & Damage from Q Tip Cotton Swabs in Draper, UT? What to Use to Clean Ears Instead: ENT Specialists: ENTs
Earwax’s purpose is to keep your ear canal clean. Most earwax (cerumen) is beneficial, though excessive, hard, or obstructive earwax can prove to be problematic. For the sensitive skin of the ear canal, the ear was is a normal protective coating. Water is repelled from the ear wax coating and it helps deter ear infections. Earwax provides some antibacterial and lubricating advantages in addition to keeping dust, dirt, and debris away from the eardrum. Generally, the ears are self-cleaning. Motions with the jaw, such as chewing, talking, and so on, helps cycle out the old ear wax. Digging in your ear with a Q-tip actually leaves you vulnerable and we at ENT Specialists would like to continue to elaborate on using cotton swabs in your ears.
Excessive Use of Q-Tips
The more frequently the ears are rubbed, the more histamine you release, making the skin irritated and inflamed. The ear also becomes drier since the earwax acts a natural lubricant, promoting the use of further swabbing to find relief.
Dangers of Cotton Swabs in Ears
Though it initially seems like a good idea, people commonly reach for the Q-tips to clean the wax out their ears. Functioning to moisturize the skin and help prevent foreign bodies from entering deeper into the ear canal, the outer one-third to one-half of the ear canal produces cerumen, or earwax. It’s normal for cerumen to drain very slowly out of the ear due to the hairs and the natural growth of canal skin. During the activity of cotton swabbing the ears, people may get a portion of wax out, but often push some back deeper into the medial canal, which is not well-equipped to remove it. The impaction from pushing the wax against the tympanic membrane, or eardrum, can impair hearing, lead to painful and challenging to eliminate ear infections. Also, water can get trapped in the self-created wax dams, making your ears feel uncomfortable. Eardrums are very delicate and using a Q-tip can easily puncture it. If the puncture is deep enough, you can potentially press on the little bones of hearing underneath. As the tiniest bones in the body, these bones attached to the ear drum can cause hearing and balance problems.
What to Use to Clean Ears Instead of Q Tips
Where some people build up excessive earwax, or you feel they need to be cleaned, apply the following steps to carefully clean your ear canal. Keep in mind, these steps should only be used as long as you do not have any tubes or holes in the eardrum. 1) Ear wax softening. Twice a day for no more than four to five day, use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin or hydrogen peroxide in the year. 2) Warm water in ears. When the wax is softened, after a day or two, gently squirt warm (body temperature) water into your ear canal with a rubber-bulb syringe. To straighten your ear canal, tilt your head and pull your outer ear up and back. Tip your head to the side to let the water drain out after you finished irrigating. 3) Dry the ear canal. Using a towel, gently dab your outer ear to dry it off.
Ear, Hearing & Balance Audiology Services
Keep in mind that you may need to repeat this wax softening and irrigation procedure several times before the excess earwax is cleared out. The softening can also cause wax to fall and become lodged deeper into the ear canal or against the ear drum. If symptoms do not improve, see a doctor. Other methods include earwax removal kits available in stores. If you believe you have a compaction of earwax or fear there has been potential damage, call ENT Specialists and our medical staff will assist you.
90,000 Pain in vuhe – causes, diseases, diagnosis, prevention and treatment – Likar24
Ear pains usually occur in children, but also occur in adults. Ear pain can affect one or both ears. The pain can be constant or short-term, dull, sharp or burning. If there is an ear infection, fever and temporary hearing loss may occur.
Along with ear pain, symptoms may occur: hearing impairment, fluid draining from the ear, fever, sleep problems, twitching or pulling to the ear, headache, loss of appetite, loss of balance.
The ear gets rid of earwax all the time. When the process doesn’t work well, the earwax builds up and hardens so that the ear canal becomes blocked. Do not use cotton swabs or other objects to pull out the wax. This will lead to further advancement further into the ear canal.
Most of the time, the ears maintain equal pressure on both sides of the eardrum. But rapid changes, such as when flying in an airplane or in an elevator, can throw off balance.
Infection from water
If your ear hurts when you pull on your earlobe or press on the tiny piece that covers it, you probably have an external ear infection. This happens when water gets into the ear canal and germs begin to multiply. The ear may be red, swollen, or itchy, and pus may leak out.
Middle ear infection
A cold, allergy, or sinus infection may block the tubes of the middle ear.When fluid builds up and becomes infected, it is called otitis media. This is the most common cause of ear pain.
You may feel ear pain even when the cause is not an ear infection, but, for example, a toothache. This is because the nerves in the face and neck run very close to the inner ear.
If you have a sore throat, it could be an infection such as tonsillitis or pharyngitis. In fact, ear pain is often the worst symptom of one of these conditions.
Dental abscesses, cavities and affected molars can also cause ear pain.
The temporomandibular joint is the “hinge” of the jaw that sits under the ears. Ear or face pain occurs after you chew, talk, or yawn.
Some causes of ear pain can be serious, such as tumors or infections, including cellulitis or shingles. If your ear pain is severe, does not go away within a few days after home treatment, you have a high fever, sore throat, or a new rash, see your doctor right away.
To establish a preliminary diagnosis, the doctor will probably ask you the following questions:
What is the nature of the pain?
Is the pain persistent or short-term?
Are there any associated symptoms such as fever, hearing loss, balance problems or dizziness, ear drainage, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?
Have you been sick recently?
Or were you experiencing some kind of trauma to your face or ears?
After polling, the following diagnostic methods will be used:
During a physical examination, the doctor will use an otoscope to examine the outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum. Also examines the nose, mouth, and sinuses. The doctor may press on the temporomandibular joint, look at your posterior molars to check for signs of grinding or frequent compression of your teeth, and look in your neck to look for enlarged lymph nodes or other growths. It is important that on examination, the otolaryngologist can perform a non-surgical procedure called nasal endoscopy. An endoscope is a thin tube with a camera and light that allows you to better see your nose, sinuses, and the top of your throat (where the opening of the Eustachian tube is).
Finally, if you experience hearing loss and dizziness, your doctor may refer you for a vestibular function test.
Tomography is sometimes necessary to diagnose ear pain. For example, an x-ray can be used to evaluate a dental problem or to examine the jaw. Computed tomography (CT) may be needed if mastoiditis is suspected, especially if the person has disturbing complications of mastoiditis, such as a cranial nerve deficiency or signs of meningitis.
CT or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be ordered if the doctor suspects a possible tumor, such as nasopharyngeal cancer or cholesteatoma, as a source of ear pain.
Brain MRI can be used to assess the diagnosis of Ménière’s disease, as conditions of the central nervous system, such as a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis, can mimic the symptoms of Ménière’s disease.
Blood tests can be used to diagnose various conditions of ear pain.For example, if a doctor suspects a severe infection, especially mastoiditis, he may ask for a white blood cell count and tests for a marker of inflammation, namely erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Blood tests can also be used to rule out problems such as thyroid disease, diabetes, and syphilis, which can have symptoms similar to Meniere’s.
Common causes of ear pain include the following:
ear wax build-up;
Less common causes of pain:
temporomandibular joint syndrome;
perforated tympanic membrane;
arthritis affecting the jaw;
tooth is infected;
eczema in the ear canal;
trigeminal neuralgia or chronic facial nerve pain.
If the ear pain lasts for a long period, you should contact an otolaryngologist who, using diagnostic methods and physical examination, will be able to establish a diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment.
You should see a doctor immediately if you have severe pain that suddenly stops. This could be a sign of a ruptured eardrum.
Other symptoms should also be monitored. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
severe ear pain;
swelling around the ear;
prolapse of the facial muscles;
Blood or pus draining from the ear
Some ear pains can be prevented.Try these preventative measures:
Avoid smoking and inhalation of tobacco smoke;
Store foreign objects outside the ear;
Dry your ears after bathing;
90,047 people with ear pain should avoid loud music, concerts and environmental noise. If you cannot avoid loud noise, it is worth getting headphones,
If you are swimming, use ear plugs and a bathing cap;
Ear pain is not only unpleasant, but often distracts from everyday life.The good news is that most diagnoses are treatable, especially if treated immediately.
90,000 Ear pain in adults, causes and symptoms. Treatment in Chelyabinsk
The weather makes us happy with sunny days, and it seems that it is already warm outside, and I just want to take off my hat.
But few people think that the temperature on the street is not yet high enough to take off the hat, and the resulting hypothermia can negatively affect the state of health.After walking without a hat in this weather, you can easily get severe ear pain. It can be
of varying degrees of intensity.
And many in such cases prefer self-medication, begin to use “grandmother’s” methods, warm up their ears and drink pills. However, hypothermia may not always be the cause of ear pain. Other illnesses can also cause ear pain. A person can treat ordinary hypothermia, but in the end it will be found that it is necessary to fight with a completely different disease.
And do not forget that untreated ear pain can lead to serious consequences – otitis media, scarring of the eardrum, hearing loss and even mastoiditis (infection of the temporal bone). Therefore, if you have ear pain, you should see your doctor for the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
“In healthy people, ear pain occurs when a pimple forms, increased sensitivity of the hearing aid to cold, due to the ingress of water or a foreign body into the ear cavity.Ear pains indicate the development of local or internal pathologies. Otitis media is the most common cause. This is an inflammatory process that is primary or arises as a complication of influenza and ARVI. Affects the outer or middle ear. There are other conditions that cause ear pain. For example, mastoiditis. This is an infectious inflammation of the temporal bone. It occurs as a primary disease or complication of otitis media. Severe ear pains complement attacks of cephalalgia, sleep disturbances, purulent discharge from the ear, pulsation in the temples.Hearing deteriorates and congestion occurs. ”
with neuralgia of the facial nerve
Ear pain can manifest itself in different ways:
If it shoots in the ear, the cause may be the same otitis media – external or middle.Tinnitus is also called tinnitus. Causes include damage to the eardrum, head injuries, age-related changes, and certain antibacterial drugs. The development of pain in the throat and ears is caused by tonsillitis, pharyngitis, acute respiratory viral infections, influenza and other inflammatory diseases of the ENT organs. Pain in the jaw near the ear, radiating into the hearing aid itself, is caused by neuralgia of the facial nerve, temporal arteritis, and dental diseases. Internal pain in the ear causes external, otitis media and internal otitis media.
inflammation of the lymph nodes
Ear hurts with ear tumors and brain neoplasms.Ear pain and fever are signs of an inflammatory process. Symptoms are caused by otitis media, labyrinthitis and other infectious diseases of the ENT organs. Pain behind the ear when pressed can indicate lymphadenitis – inflammation of the lymph nodes, mumps or mastoiditis. By the nature of the symptoms, the disease can be determined. However, don’t do it yourself. Contact your doctor, after analyzing your complaints, the specialist will prescribe a diagnostic examination, according to the results of which he will determine the cause and begin treatment. __________________
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Ear pain – a symptom of a cold or an infection? – HealthInfo
Ears hurt? How do you know if this is due to a cold or if you have developed otitis media – an infectious disease? We will try to explain how to distinguish these states.
Differences between symptoms of a cold and an ear infection
Ear pain with a cold is characterized as a sharp, dull, or burning pain of mild to high intensity.Even in a healthy ear, fluid in the middle ear cavity presses against the eardrum, causing it to vibrate.
Ear pain with colds is accompanied by sleep disturbance in children and adults, jumping fever, discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose. As the cold goes away on its own, the ear pain goes away with the other symptoms. If the pain persists for a long time, this may mean the development of an infection, in which case you should visit a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.
Ear pain can be caused by a cold virus or a secondary infection. In this case, the pain is very intense, it occurs suddenly. Sensory nerves in the eardrum respond to increased pressure with pain. After a slight stretching of the tympanic membrane, the pain subsides. Other symptoms of a middle ear infection (otitis media) are as follows:
Loss of appetite. This mainly applies to bottle-fed babies. The change in pressure in the middle ear when swallowing further increases the pain.
Lack of sleep. The pain may become more intense when you are lying down (due to fluid movement in the middle ear cavity).
Fever. With otitis media, the temperature can rise to 40C °.
Discharge from the ear. A yellow, brown, or white fluid leaking from the ear (but not earwax) indicates a violation of the integrity of the eardrum.
Hearing impairment. The fluid accumulating in the middle ear cavity disrupts the normal functioning of the tympanic membrane, and therefore, the sound is not transmitted through the ossicles of the middle ear and does not go further into the brain.
Otitis media with exudate. Symptoms of acute otitis media may subside, but a fluid called exudate still remains in the middle ear. This results in a slight temporary loss of hearing.
How a middle ear infection is diagnosed
In case of suspicion of otitis media, the doctor examines you using a special device – an otoscope. Normally, a healthy, pinkish-gray, transparent tympanic membrane. When infected, the eardrum may be inflamed, swollen, or red.The doctor may also check for fluid in the middle ear cavity using a pneumatic otoscope. This instrument blows a small amount of air into the middle ear cavity, causing the eardrum to bend back and forth. If there is fluid in the middle ear cavity, the eardrum will not be as pliable.
Another diagnostic method is tympanometry. This test uses sound and air pressure to analyze the presence of fluid in the middle ear (this is not a hearing test!).
How is ear pain treated for colds and otitis media
Today, ear infections are mostly curable, they do not lead to permanent permanent damage to hearing with the right therapy. Treatment is with pain relievers, antipyretics, antibiotics for bacterial infections, and / or monitoring for symptoms.
Pain relief for ear pain
Acetominaphen or ibuprofen helps relieve ear pain during colds or fever over 38.9C.These drugs relieve pain for a couple of hours (pain gets worse at night).
Antibiotics for ear infections
Antibiotics kill bacteria that cause infection. They are not necessary for ear pain associated with a cold (viral infection). Antibiotics can cause nausea, diarrhea, rashes, fungal infections, and may react with other medications.
Myringtomy (incision of the tympanic membrane) to facilitate the drainage of fluid from the ear
If fluid remains in the ear cavity for more than three months, or if the child has a recurrence of infection, the doctor may resort to the following treatment: the tympanic membrane a thin metal or plastic tube is inserted to facilitate the outflow of fluid. This outpatient procedure is mainly performed on children under general anesthesia. The tube stays in the ear for eight to 18 months, then falls out on its own. In some cases, the doctor may place the tube for a longer time.
What happens if a middle ear infection is left untreated?
Left untreated, a middle ear infection can lead to severe long-term consequences, which include:
Infection of the inner ear
Scarring of the tympanic membrane
Decreased or lost hearing
Mastoiditis (inflammation of the mastoid bone of the temporal bone)
Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord)
Speech disorder in children
Call the pediatrician immediately if the child has any of the following symptoms:
Torticollis or stiff neck
Baby quickly Tired, responds poorly and cannot be comforted
Also call the pediatrician if the child has the following symptoms:
The child has pain or fever for more than 48 hours
You have questions or concerns
How to prevent ear pain from colds or middle ear infections
There are ways to prevent ear pain in both children and adults. Frequent change of home environment is required. Surgical treatment is sometimes required. Talk to your doctor about the following methods of prevention:
Protect your child from colds, especially during the first year of life. Most ear infections start with the common cold.
Ear infections can develop after the flu, so talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot.
Most children receive a pneumococcal vaccine that protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae , the most common middle ear infection.If you are not sure if your child is vaccinated, ask your doctor about it. The vaccine is usually given to children under the age of two.
Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke as it increases the frequency and severity of ear infections.
Control allergies. Inflammation caused by allergies contributes to the development of middle ear infections.
Where possible, breastfeed your baby for the first 6-12 months of life. The antibodies in breast milk reduce the risk of infection.
If the baby is bottle-fed, do not need to attach the bottle, hold the baby at a 45-degree angle. Feeding in a horizontal position can cause formula and other fluids to leak into the Eustachian tubes. Allowing your toddler to hold the bottle on their own is also at risk, as milk or formula may accidentally enter the middle ear cavity. Weaning your baby from the bottle between the ages of nine and 12 months can help avoid these problems.
Observe the baby’s breathing.If the baby is breathing through the mouth or snoring / snoring, this may indicate the presence of adenoids. This contributes to the development of a middle ear infection. An examination by an otolaryngologist or even surgery (adenoidectomy – removal of adenoids) may be required.
Ear pain – causes, diagnosis and treatment
Causes of ear pain
Ear inflammation is the most common cause of pain in children and adults. Taking into account the localization and degree of damage, pain can be shooting, dull, pulsating or bursting.Usually, discomfort is felt on one side, but bilateral inflammation is also possible. The symptom is combined with headache, malaise, fever. Otalgia manifests itself in various variants of the inflammatory process:
Otitis externa. Patients experience sharp pulsating pain sensations that radiate to the lower jaw and neck. Discomfort is aggravated by talking, chewing food, swallowing. Redness of the skin of the auricle and the visible part of the ear canal is typical.Hearing is usually not impaired.
Otitis media. The disease manifests as a sudden shooting pain in the ear, which is periodically worse. Soreness lasts up to 3 days, then pus goes into the outer ear, and the discomfort dulls. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe that they interfere with sleep and work, and are not relieved by analgesics.
Otitis media (labyrinthitis). Pathology is characterized by moderate soreness in the ear and temporal area, malaise.For labyrinthitis, attacks of dizziness and nausea are pathognomonic, which bother patients much more than pain. Hearing is often noticeably impaired.
A separate place among the causes of pain is occupied by swimmer’s ear syndrome (external diffuse otitis media). Otalgia is the main symptom of pathology. Pulsating or shooting pains prevail, aggravated by pressing on the affected area, pulling the earlobe. Patients also complain of discomfort and distention in the external ear canal, hearing impairment.
Dull pain and discomfort on the affected side are typical for inflammation of the auditory (Eustachian) tube. Patients describe their symptoms as a sensation of fluid overflow in the ear, unpleasant distention or congestion. Severe otalgia is observed with eustachitis caused by sudden changes in atmospheric pressure. A specific symptom of the disease is autophony – the feeling of resonance of one’s own voice in the ear.
When large objects get into the ear canal, patients are disturbed by bursting severe pain, which is felt constantly and does not decrease after the use of drops or pain relievers.If the foreign body has sharp edges, in addition to pain, bleeding from the ear opens, or pain occurs sharply due to damage to the tympanic membrane.
In addition to these symptoms, patients notice ear congestion, unilateral hearing impairment. Dizziness and headaches appear less often. If the object is in the ear for a long time, an inflammatory process begins, in which otalgia intensifies, the pain becomes shooting or throbbing. A mucopurulent exudate is secreted from the ear canal.
In case of damage to the auricle, sharp pains occur on the affected side, which eventually give way to dull or pulsating (with the formation of a hematoma). If the injury affects the ear canal, in addition to sharp soreness, bleeding and hearing loss are observed as conductive hearing loss. Damage to the tympanic membrane is characterized by severe pain syndrome, which gradually subsides, giving way to hearing loss and congestion.
Injuries to the middle and inner ear are often found in the structure of TBI, which determines the characteristics of clinical symptoms.Patients complain of excruciating pain that captures not only the ear, but also the temporal region, the mastoid process. Severe injuries cause excruciating headache without clear localization. Typically, ear bleeding, a sharp decrease or lack of hearing.
Benign neoplasms are accompanied by otalgia only when a significant size is reached and the surrounding tissues are compressed. If the tumor is located near the eardrum, the patient is worried about tinnitus, hearing loss.Burning pains are pathognomonic for malignant tumors. Soreness is at first periodic, as the tumor grows, the intensity of the pain syndrome grows steadily.
In mumps, pain is localized mainly in the parotid region, the zone of projection of the affected salivary glands. Usually, the pain syndrome spreads to the ear. The clinical picture of the infection may resemble otitis media or eustachitis. Otalgia is felt more strongly when chewing and talking, feeling the affected area, the skin over which becomes taut and shiny.The most intense bursting pains occur at night.
Neuralgia of the ear node is manifested by attacks of burning or throbbing one-sided pain that is localized in the ear, as well as in the area adjacent to it. Painful sensations radiate to the back of the head, neck, temporomandibular joint. An attack of otalgia lasts from several minutes to one hour, after which all symptoms disappear. Paroxysms are triggered by changes in temperature and humidity, changes in barometric pressure.
In glossopharyngeal neuralgia, pain is localized mainly at the root of the tongue, but often it radiates to the ear. A painful attack is associated with chewing, coughing, eating too hot or cold food. Otalgia is also noted with ganglionitis of the geniculate ganglion, which develops as part of a herpes infection (Ramsey Hunt syndrome). Moderate dull pain in the ear occurs with cochlear neuritis.
Complications of pharmacotherapy
When drugs with an ototoxic effect are used, dull pains occur, often intermittent.Along with otalgia, ringing, noise and whistling in the ears disturb, hearing deteriorates. Unpleasant symptoms are aggravated by tilting the head in different directions, sharp turns of the body. Iatrogenic ototoxicity is most often manifested by aminoglycosides, loop diuretics, platinum derivatives.
With complaints of otalgia, you should consult an otolaryngologist. A preliminary diagnosis is made already by visual examination, when signs of trauma to the outer ear, suppuration or liquorrhea, tumor-like outgrowths in the ear canal are found.To establish the cause of the pain, informative instrumental and laboratory diagnostic methods are included in the examination scheme:
Otoscopy. Examination with an otoscope is a simple method for diagnosing otitis media, neoplasms, and boils. The study reveals skin hyperemia, swelling or retraction of the tympanic membrane, purulent discharge. If the disease is complicated by the destruction of the auditory membrane, during otoscopy, the doctor will see the structures of the tympanic cavity.
Audiometry. A set of diagnostic methods is prescribed to determine the presence of hearing impairment and the degree of their severity. To obtain a complete clinical picture, several types of research are used: speech, tonal or computer audiometry.
X-ray of the temporal bone. X-ray methods allow a detailed study of the structure of the inner and middle ear. X-ray images can show bone fractures, signs of inflammation or destruction of the mastoid process, deformation of structures due to the growth of neoplasms.
Additional methods . To clarify the localization of the pathological process in traumatic injuries of the ear region, CT of the skull, MRI of the brain are performed. Diagnostic search includes a study of the vestibular apparatus (vestibulometry, stabilography). In case of probable inflammation of the Eustachian tube, it is advisable to perform rhinoscopy, pharyngoscopy.
Laboratory research . With otitis media, a bacterioscopic and bacteriological analysis of the discharge from the ear canal is shown.Children with possible mumps are given serological tests (RSK, ELISA). To verify the diagnosis of a malignant tumor, a histological analysis of biopsies is done.
Otoscopy for ear pain
Help before diagnosis
To reduce otalgia, use ear drops with local anesthetics or oral analgesic tablets before visiting the doctor. Medications can be used if the pain did not arise against the background of an injury.In the pathological process that struck the ear, the bones of the skull and the brain are quickly involved, so self-medication is unacceptable. A qualified ENT doctor should provide care for patients with otalgia.
Treatment involves the use of topical or systemic drugs, or a combination of both. For otitis media, ear drops containing antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic substances are used, and an ear toilet is performed. To improve the outflow of exudate from the tympanic cavity, vasoconstrictors are instilled into the nose.To reduce the pain syndrome in the first days (before the rupture of the auditory membrane), heated 96% alcohol is dripped into the ear.
To eliminate the consequences of taking ototoxic drugs, ATP and galantamine are prescribed, which stimulate the regeneration processes. Nootropics help to improve the nutrition of the structures of the auditory analyzer. To act on the neurological causes of otalgia, sedatives, anticholinergics, metabolic and vasoactive drugs are recommended. Severe painful paroxysms require anticonvulsants.
Physiotherapy methods are effective in practical otolaryngology. To stop the inflammatory process and stimulate local immunity, microwave therapy, laser therapy, UHF are performed. For the prevention of auditory disorders during the recovery period, pneumomassage of the tympanic membrane is performed. Reflexology, amplipulse therapy helps to eliminate paroxysms of neuralgia of the ear node.
The tympanic cavity is cleared of pus during myringotomy followed by rinsing the ear with antibacterial solutions.In chronic otitis media and the lack of effect from conservative measures, anthrodrainage is performed in the area of the mastoid process. Indications for surgical treatment are external cholesteatomas, exostoses, abscesses.
To eliminate the consequences of middle ear trauma, reconstructive operations are prescribed: myringoplasty, tympanoplasty, mastoidoplasty. In case of damage to the inner ear, otosurgical interventions are performed to restore the integrity of the anatomical structures.For severe illnesses and injuries accompanied by hearing loss, the patient needs a hearing aid or cochlear implantation.
90,000 What do the pains in ENT organs say
Ear, nose and throat diseases are often painful. It can be difficult to establish its source.
Ear, nose and throat diseases are often painful. It can be difficult to establish its source.
The difficulty in diagnosing the underlying disease is that nerve endings of the hearing zone, nose and larynx belong to the same nerves that go to the face, neck, facial muscles, soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. Therefore, it is rather difficult to distinguish what hurts – the ENT organ or muscles.
With an inflammatory process in the ear, nasopharynx and larynx, neuralgia usually occurs. It is accompanied by pain caused by damage to the corresponding nerve. The source of the problem can only be identified with the help of computed tomography.
Otalgia is ear pain that has different origins. It appears, for example, with inflammation of the middle or outer ear. The pain can be monotonous, less often – bursting. Usually, ear warming procedures bring relief to the patient. Painful sensations are also caused by irritation of the nerves of the cervical spine, pharynx and mouth. They can also be caused by pathologies of the temporomandibular joint or dysfunction of the auditory tube.
Otolaryngologists are quite common with pain syndromes. And not always the cause of these phenomena are diseases of the pharynx or larynx. Various sore throat syndromes are known. In some cases, additional information is obtained by ordering an X-ray examination. For example, it is necessary for pathology of the cervical vertebrae or the styloid process of the temporal bone.
Sore throat can also cause tissue damage associated with inflammation, growth and trauma, including in the operating room.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain syndromes.
Severe and burning pains in different parts of the body
Among the main causes of these pains are trauma, inflammation, hypothermia, and herpes viral infection. A person feels bouts of pain – neuralgia, which is associated with damage to the nerves of the peripheral and central systems. Diseases of the nerve trunks and nodes are also from this category ..
However, in most cases, constant severe pain is caused by trigeminal neuralgia.It appears in the upper or lower jaw, forehead, and on the face, lips, gums, tongue, and nose.
But most often such pains are provoked by trigeminal neuralgia . They are characterized by high intensity and occur in the forehead, upper or lower jaw, and can also be localized anywhere on the skin of the face or the mucous membrane of the nose, lips, gums, tongue.
Of particular note is the neuralgia of the nasal ciliary nerve, which is accompanied by excruciating burning pain in the area of the eyeball, back and corresponding half of the nose. Lacrimation usually appears, a liquid secretion is secreted from one nostril. The pain syndrome can be removed only with anesthetics, which confirms the neuralgia of the nasal nerve.
The diagnosis of the disease is complicated by its many latent forms, which are caused by chronic inflammatory processes or surgical intervention.
Nasal nerve neuralgia can result from acute respiratory viral infections, hypothermia caused by air conditioning and drafts.
Patients complain of pain under the eye and in the nose. In some cases, clients of the clinic report a burning sensation. But more often than not, they cannot articulate exactly how they feel, while noticing a periodic increase in painful sensations.
Prepare to receive
If you are in pain, be sure to seek help from an otolaryngologist at the DomodenT clinic. The specialist will ask you several questions that will help identify the cause of the discomfort, diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Try to remember:
– Does the pain appear after dizziness?
– Are there any head or neck injuries?
– Have you had face surgeries?
Experienced ENT doctors of the DomodenT clinic conduct a daily appointment and will help you even in the most difficult situations.
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Atherosclerosis – what is it?
Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the blood vessels, as a result of which cholesterol and other fats are deposited on the inner wall of the arteries, the walls themselves become dense and inelastic.As a result, the blood vessels narrow, the access of blood to the organs is reduced. As a result, the vessel can completely close, leading to ischemic damage
Atherosclerosis is considered one of the most dangerous diseases leading to disability and death. It occurs mainly with age, but recently the disease is “getting younger”, which is associated with the wrong way of life. As a rule, the disease is detected already in the late stages, when there is a problem with the blood supply to one or another organ (heart, brain), i.e.e. too late. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of heart attacks, coronary heart disease.
The disease develops over several years, at first large arteries are affected, then gradually smaller ones. The first signs of a lack of blood supply to a tissue or organ begin to bother only when the lumen of the vessel has decreased by more than 3/4.
Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on which organ is experiencing a lack of blood circulation. The main organs suffering from oxygen starvation as a result of vascular lesions by atherosclerosis are the heart, brain, and lower extremities.
1. If the coronary arteries are damaged, heart is affected . Violation of the normal blood supply to the heart is manifested angina syndrome .
The main symptoms of coronary artery disease can occur intermittently:
Chest pain. The pain is pressing, dull aching or burning in nature. Pain sensations can be given to the scapula, left forearm, hand or fingers.
Feeling of pressure on the chest (as if a heavy object was placed on the chest).
Painful sensations arising from breathing.
Also, with damage to the coronary vessels, symptoms such as: pain in the back, jaw, ear, neck may appear; weakness in the limbs, heart rhythm disturbances, vomiting or nausea, confusion.
To diagnose atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, the doctor prescribes coronary angiography – X-ray examination with contrast, which allows you to determine the exact location of atherosclerotic plaques and the degree of narrowing of the artery lumen.
2. In case of damage to the arteries of the brain , the symptoms of atherosclerosis are as follows:
Headache. The whole head hurts, without precise localization.
Ringing and tinnitus.
The person is having trouble sleeping. It may be insomnia, or, on the contrary, a constant desire to sleep.
Nervousness, high excitability, increased anxiety.
Lethargy and fatigue.
Breathing, speech, eating disorders.
Movement coordination disorders.
It should be noted that impaired blood circulation in the brain can be the result of not only atherosclerosis, but also cervical osteochondrosis, for example. With the same symptoms, it is important for the doctor to accurately diagnose so as not to waste time and not lead to disastrous consequences.In this case, the doctor will definitely prescribe an MRI (or CT) angiography of the vessels of the cervical spine, angiography of the vessels of the brain.
3. Atherosclerosis of the vessels of the lower extremities is manifested by the following symptoms:
Feeling of coldness in the legs.
“Numbness” of the limb, the appearance of goose bumps, tingling.
Pallor of the skin (marbled skin).
Leg pain, intermittent claudication. Pain occurs in the thighs, buttocks and calves, appears paroxysmal, as a result of which a person begins to limp.
The formation of wounds on the legs associated with a lack of tissue nutrition.
Redness of the toes, the appearance of edema.
The latter symptoms are characteristic in the later stages of the development of atherosclerosis of the lower extremities.
Cholesterol and its role in the development of atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol is a fatty alcohol that plays an important role in metabolism. Cholesterol is involved in the synthesis of male and female sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone), therefore, deviations of cholesterol from the norm in one direction or another can lead to problems in the reproductive sphere. Violation of the concentration of cholesterol can lead to a decrease in immunity. Cholesterol is actively involved in the digestion process – without it, the liver cannot produce digestive salts and juices.
The vast majority of cholesterol is produced by the body on its own (about 80%) and only 20-25% comes from food (this confirms the fact that not only food is “to blame” for the high concentration of cholesterol in the blood). Therefore, even if you try to reduce the level of these fats with the help of various diets, you will still not be able to “remove” a significant portion of it, moreover, if the body does not receive cholesterol from the outside, it will produce it itself in even larger quantities.
Cholesterol is carried through the blood throughout the body. It is believed that if the concentration of this substance in the blood is higher than normal, then this leads to the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Actually, it’s not that simple .
Cholesterol is conventionally divided into “bad” and “good”. In fact, it is one and the same cholesterol, it has a single composition and a single structure. The only difference is which transport protein it will attach to. That is, cholesterol is dangerous only in a certain bound, not free state.
Cholesterol “bad” (low density cholesterol or LDL) is able to settle on the walls of blood vessels and form plaque layers that close the lumen of the blood vessel. When combined with apoprotein proteins, cholesterol forms LDL complexes. With an increase in such cholesterol in the blood, the danger of atherosclerosis really exists.
Good cholesterol (high-density cholesterol or HDL) differs from bad cholesterol both in structure and function.It cleans the walls of blood vessels from “bad” cholesterol and sends it to the liver for processing. Therefore, it is necessary to strive to ensure that its blood values are not lower than 100 mg / dL.
Another type of fat is called triglycerides . They, like LDL, increase the risk of fatal diseases. Their level in the blood should not exceed 50mg / dl.
The risk factors for the content of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, and as a consequence of the development of atherosclerosis, include:
Sex.Men are more likely to get atherosclerosis than women.
Age. The disease usually occurs after 45 years of age.
Heredity. The level of hormonal levels, immunity, genetically determined specificity of metabolism play important roles in accelerating or slowing down the development of atherosclerosis. If one or both parents had problems with cholesterol, there is a 25 to 75% chance that the child will inherit this metabolic feature.
Bad habits. Smoking, large doses of alcohol accelerate the onset of the disease.
Excess weight. A very negative factor. Excess weight can lead to diabetes mellitus, which leads to atherosclerosis. Almost 65% of overweight people have problems with the level of “bad cholesterol” in the blood.
Nutrition – although it does not play a key role, it still significantly affects the dynamics of cholesterol in the blood.With food, as it was said, no more than 25% of all cholesterol comes from. A cholesterol-rich food (egg, shrimp) eaten with fatty foods (mayonnaise, sausages, etc.) is more likely to cause an increase in LDL cholesterol levels. Therefore, limit your intake of fatty, smoked, fried foods. Eating a lot of carbohydrates is also undesirable.
Sedentary lifestyle. Low level of physical activity is directly related to an increase in the concentration of cholesterol in the blood.It’s all about stagnant processes and disruption of the body’s energy metabolism. With sufficient exercise, the level of “bad” cholesterol usually decreases. Regular exercise helps the body to remove fat, “bad” cholesterol does not stay in the bloodstream for a long time, it does not have time to settle on the walls of blood vessels. Running has been proven to help remove fat from foods. It is people who regularly run least of all susceptible to the formation of cholesterol plaques.
Diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a factor of increased risk of developing vascular atherosclerosis (more than 2 times).
Diagnostics of atherosclerosis
The doctor at the reception will take anamnesis – will measure blood pressure, listen to complaints, clarify whether there are concomitant diseases (diabetes, hypertension, etc.). Next, he will make an initial examination – he will check if there is deformation of the nails, swelling of the extremities, hair loss, etc.e. Then he will refer the patient for instrumental and laboratory examinations:
– Blood test for cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides.
– Electrocardiogram (ECG). Sometimes an ECG is done with stress to determine if there is a lack of oxygen to the heart.
– Doppler ultrasound of extracranial arteries. Doppler ultrasound shows the speed of blood flow in the arteries and the degree of vasoconstriction.
– Coronary angiography is a radiopaque study method, which is the most accurate and reliable way to diagnose coronary heart disease (IHD), allowing you to accurately determine the nature, location and degree of narrowing of the coronary artery.
– MRI of vessels (angiography) of the brain, neck. Also helps to see where the arteries are narrowed. The method does not carry a Rantgen load, therefore it can be carried out as often as desired without harm to health.
There are other diagnostic methods. The specific methods are determined by the doctor, based on the clinical picture.
Treatment of atherosclerosis
1. Treatment of atherosclerosis can be medication . Prescribe drugs that well eliminate the causes of atherosclerosis and its harmful effects.In addition, it is recommended to follow diets and an optimal physical activity regimen.
Groups of drugs prescribed for atherosclerosis:
Statins . They inhibit the function of the liver for the production of cholesterol.
LCD sequestrants . They inhibit the function of synthesis of bile acids by the liver. In this regard, the body has to actively spend cholesterol in order to ensure normal and stable digestion.
2. Surgical treatment is indicated for disease progression.
Today, the following types of surgical operations are mainly carried out:
– Balloon angioplasty and stenting;
– Coronary artery bypass surgery;
– Reconstructive surgery on the arteries that provide cerebral circulation;
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Trapezius muscle syndrome to remove with the help of manual therapy in Moscow
Trapezius muscle syndrome
Trapezius muscle pain is not always limited to just the area of the muscle.For example, this muscle can cause pain in the ear, eye or lower teeth, and it is also a common cause of headaches. Moreover, all these pains are felt not as radiating from the back to the head or teeth, but as a completely independent toothache or headache. And, in general, the trapezius muscle is perhaps the most frequent source of pain in our body. This is due to the fact that the muscle performs many different functions and is often overloaded.
Overwork and overload open the way for illness.It was found that pain in the trapezius muscle is due to trigger points. According to Travell and Simons, the authors of the book on myofascial syndrome, trigger points of the trapezius muscle are much more common than in other muscles [J. Travell and D. Simons Myofascial Pains and Dysfunctions. Volume I. S. 353].
But the cause of the pain of the trapezius muscle does not always lie only in the physical plane. This muscle, like no other, is influenced by emotional factors. However, we will talk about the psychosomatics of the trapezius muscle and myofascial syndrome just below, in the section “Symptoms …”, and now – anatomy.
Anatomy of the trapezius muscle
The anatomy of the trapezius muscle suggests that the muscle is indeed trapezoidal. To be precise, we have two trapezius muscles – the left and the right. Each, individually, has the shape of a triangle with its apex facing the shoulder joint, and its base facing the spine. Joining together at the spine, they form a trapezoid. Recall that a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with two sides parallel and the other two not.By the way, due to the fact that there are not one, but two muscles, situations are possible when the trapezius muscle hurts on the left, right, or on both sides.
The anatomy of the trapezius muscle involves dividing the muscle into three parts: upper, middle and lower. The upper part is usually called the trapezius muscle of the neck, and the middle and lower part is called the trapezius muscle of the back. But, let’s immediately clarify that this division is not official – for documents, but colloquial – for ease of use in speech. In general, the trapezius muscle is one of the largest muscles.Starting from the back of the head, it extends to the lower thoracic vertebra, while covering the shoulder girdle from above, it reaches the collarbone.
Functions of the trapezius muscle
The functions of the trapezius muscle provide movement and statics of the shoulder, scapula and neck. For example, we use this muscle when we want to straighten our shoulders and straighten our neck, or when we bring our shoulder blades together and throw our head back, or when we move our shoulders up and down and back and forth. While walking, we swing our arms, and the muscle works in dynamics, and if we are sitting at the computer – in statics.And even when we just stand with our arms down, the muscle also works to provide an anti-gravity effect. By the way, precisely in order to relieve tension and unload the trapezius muscle, we, mechanically, fold our arms over our chest or put them in our pockets.
Speaking about the anti-gravity function of the trapezius muscle, it becomes clear why, while working at the table, you need to make sure that your elbows are not suspended – otherwise the weight of your arms will cause overload. And, if it repeats from day to day and continues for many hours, then the appearance of pain cannot be avoided.This – to the question of the cause of the pain of the trapezius muscle. The same can be said for driving – the elbows should not be weighed down.
The “cervical” function of the trapezius muscle provides turns and tilts of the head. Therefore, the screen of the monitor and TV should be located directly in front of us. This will also prevent the development of pain and pathology. And, by the way, the habit of holding the phone with your ear also causes pain in the trapezius muscle.
Symptoms of trapezius muscle syndrome
Symptoms of the trapezius muscle are mainly painful in nature, this is due to the fact that the trapezius muscle syndrome is myofascial in nature.
Myofascial syndrome of the trapezius muscle is a pathology in which small painful areas are formed in muscle tissue – trigger points. For a long time, they may not appear in any way, remaining in a latent state. But as soon as they are activated, pain immediately arises. An uncomfortable posture, sudden movement, overload, hunger, hypothermia or stress can become an activation factor. By the way, pain associated with stress and emotions is the psychosomatics of the trapezius muscle.
The mechanism of psychosomatic reactions is easier to understand with the example of animals. The turtle, in danger, pulls its head into the shell, and most others simply press their head into their shoulders. Thus, animals protect their most vulnerable place – the neck. To us, too, evolution has retained this biological reflex. It is he, in response to stress, that causes us to strain many muscles, but, first of all, the trapezius. It is easy to guess that in those people who are experiencing constant emotional stress, the psychosomatics of the trapezius muscle will only grow.But back to the trigger points.
We have already said that trigger points occur more often in the trapezius muscle than in others. At the same time, there is an amazing pattern. In 95% of cases, trigger points are localized exclusively in the upper part – in the trapezius muscle of the neck and only 5% – in the trapezius muscle of the back.
In addition, for the vast majority of people, points arise in the same places; and there are seven such places. These are the seven classic trigger points of the trapezius muscle.At the same time, some of them can cause pain only in the back and neck, while others – in addition to the back and neck – also cause headaches. But, let’s list all the symptoms of trapezius muscle syndrome.
Let’s start listing the symptoms of the trapezius muscle with the neck. After all, trapezius muscle syndrome is the main source of neck pain. Most often, the pain goes along the posterolateral surface and reaches the skull. From the neck, the pain can go to the temple and the side of the head, as well as be felt behind the orbit or spread to the back of the head.Myofascial syndrome of the trapezius muscle can also cause reflected pain in the auricle (but not in the depths of the ear), as well as reflex dizziness and vegetative-vascular crises.
The next symptom of the trapezius muscle is facial pain. Usually it is localized in the corner of the lower jaw, the area of the chewing muscles and lower teeth. This syndrome is well known to dentists.
Often, pain from the trapezius muscle of the neck activates satellite trigger points located in other muscles in the neck.This causes a tension headache. In general, the activation of satellite points is very characteristic of the trapezius muscle. This most often occurs with the scalene muscles. And if the points in the levator scapula muscle and the belt muscle are activated, then the symptom of “motionless neck” arises, in which it is impossible to turn the head.
Talking about the trigger points of the trapezius muscle, you need to pay special attention to a very insidious point located below, between the spine and the shoulder blade.Its insidiousness lies in the fact that it is capable of causing the re-formation of trigger points at the top – in the trapezius muscle of the neck. Inexperienced doctors often “stumble” on this problem. Having eliminated all the triggers in the neck and upper back, such a doctor cannot understand why the pain is not going away. And the reason, most often, is at this point.
Also, trapezius muscle syndrome is characterized by pain in the shoulder girdle and apex of the shoulder joint. And then, everything that puts pressure on the shoulders causes special pain and inconvenience.This includes bra straps, heavy outerwear, a shoulder bag, etc. It should also be noted that in this area there is a point that causes discomfort like “goose bumps”. Another symptom of the trapezius muscle is burning pain in the interscapular region or along the vertebral edge of the scapula.
In general, I must say that many people sincerely do not understand why their trapezius muscle hurts. After all, in their opinion, there is no reason for this.To clarify this issue, it must be said that pain in the trapezius muscle is often a consequence of our habits. After all, what we consider to be a common habit turns out to be a chronic microtrauma. For example, with trapezius muscle syndrome, symptoms may appear due to the habit of holding the phone with your ear or sleeping on your stomach with your head turned in the same direction. By habitually placing our hands on the top of the steering wheel or accompanying our speech with active gestures, we also cause muscle overload.The same imperceptible overload forms the symptoms of the trapezius muscle due to the habit of constantly throwing back the hair from the forehead with a sharp movement of the head. And by propping up our chin with our hands, we overload the trapezius muscle of the back. In general, drop by drop – the water wears away the stone. Similarly, chronic microtrauma is insidious in its invisibility. By the way, this is what prevention is for – in order to eliminate the accumulated overloads in time.
Regarding statistical issues, it should be noted that the trapezius muscle on the left hurts more often than on the right.Although, if you follow the logic – it should be the other way around. After all, most people have a right hand. Therefore, it should hurt more often on the right. However, the fact remains. Most likely, the whole point is in compensatory overload, which occurs in contrast to the working limb. This often happens – the compensating section is overloaded more than the main one. As for medicine, there is no difference – the trapezius muscle hurts on the right or on the left – the treatment methods are the same.
Trapezius muscle treatment
Treatment of the trapezius muscle can be divided into main and auxiliary.The main one is soft manual therapy. It radically differs from the usual manual one not only in its softness and safety, but also in its higher efficiency. And this is not surprising, because 90% of mild manual therapy consists of muscle and fascial techniques.