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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9000
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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The bone behind my ear is tender to the touch.

Resolved Question:

Why is the bone behind my ear tender to the touch? I haven't been hit in the head or anything.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 4 years ago.

neuromd2012 :

When you feel behind your ear, you will feel a bump of bone, that is called the mastoid process. Is this the bone you are saying is painful to the touch, or more deeply between the neck muscles? And which side is the pain on?

Customer:

The bone on the right side is what is painful.

neuromd2012 :

Have you had a sinus infection, cold or any kind of nose congestion?

Customer:

No had some chest congestion.

neuromd2012 :

Was it viral? Do you smoke?

Customer:

No I don't smoke. I don't know about viral or not. I couldn't cough anything up.

neuromd2012 :

ok, well it is possible that it moved through your respiratory tract to your sinuses, then up your eustacian tube to the middle ear area, and now you have mastoiditis. Do you feel a ear fullness or if you pull on your earlobe do you notice anything? Stick your index finger in your external ear canal and jiggle it around do you feel anything?

Customer:

Ears seem fine, no change if I pull on or jiggle them.

neuromd2012 :

There is a big muscle that inserts into the mastoid process called sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle, you use it to rotate your head and see what side hurts.

Customer:

Still the right side.

neuromd2012 :

so what I want you to do, is put your left hand on the left side of your jaw, and then try to rotate your head left, holding your jaw from doing that with your left hand, do you get that? Then with your right hand, feel back by that bone, and you will feel the muscle going into the mastoid process, does the muscle hurt close to the bone?

Customer:

It doesn't hurt when I try to turn it

neuromd2012 :

No it wont, but does the right mastoid hurt if you push on that big muscle?

Customer:

It hurts on the hard part behind the lobe.

neuromd2012 :

The muscle as it goes right up to the bone has a tendonous insertion, is the tendon hurt?

Customer:

Could be its tender in that area.

neuromd2012 :

Yes, if you were doing things with your neck, leaning over forward and pulling your head back, puts strain on that tendon and it would hurt there, did you put your head in any funny position recently?

Customer:

It hurt this morning when I woke up.

neuromd2012 :

Was that the side down on the pillow?

Customer:

Yes

neuromd2012 :

If you kinked your head in bed somehow, then you have SCM tendonitis, it is no big deal, take some Motrin or Aleve (take 2 together every 8 hours with food) and it should go away very quickly. Also, put a cold compress on it.

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