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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 26383
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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Hi, I woke up yesterday with a pain in the ear. The pain seems

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Hi, I woke up yesterday with a pain in the ear. The pain seems to originate a bit inside the ear. It hurts a bit if I don't touch the ear, but hurts quite a lot if I lightly press on it. I've tried to use a ice-pack on it but it didn't seem to help much.. It's been a day and the problem doesn't seem to get noticeably better.. And the thing is, I didn't hit the ear recently or anything.. the pain started after I woke up, which may be due to a bad sleeping posture? But I don't know why it would make it hurt so much and for so long. what do you think is the problem, and is it serious? Thanks.
Probably not too serious, but you need to have a doctor look at the ear. Most often ear pain is from an infection and it can hit suddenly as your symptoms did. Potentially this could be a problem with your temporomandibular joint just in front of the ear itself, but you really need a doctor to look at the ear canal and ear drum to be sure. You could try ibuprofen for a day or so, but if this persists beyond another day or two it really should be evaluated.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the reply.. before I see my doctor, I would like to get more details about each scenario.

For each (ear infection vs temporomandibular joint), how serious is it and what problems can it cause, what's the most likely treatment, and how long is the whole process?
Neither is too serious, and a TMJ inflammation or sprain may only last a day or so. Ear infections often resolve on their own, but if there's any drainage or a feeling of the ear drum not popping and congestion, then it is important to look at the ear to see if there's enough pressure on the drum to warrant antibiotics. So, for now, if it's just some tenderness to the touch, it's OK to wait a day or two to see if it all resolves, which it very well may do. I wouldn't suggest any antihistamines or decongestants for now.
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