Sharp Pain In Head Above Right Ear: Causes And Treatment Options

Published February 9, 2015 by PUP

Headache is one of the most common complaint for which people consult their doctor. Pain in head can originate from the brain itself or the tissues that overlie the skull namely the skin and muscles. It can also be a referred pain from adjacent organs. Fortunately most headaches occur for short duration and recede after sometime, maybe a day or two. Some headaches are chronic and persist for days and weeks. The pain can be all over the head or it can be one sided.

Sharp pain in head above the right ear can occur due to many reasons.

The pain may vary in intensity from mild to moderate and in some cases severe shooting pain. Pain of such nature can be extremely discomforting for the person. It may affect his daily activities. Sharp shooting pain above the right ear can also occur during night which keeps the patient awake throughout the night.

If you are having headaches above the right ear, the first thing that you should do is to consult your physician. There are many probable causes to produce such headaches. Your doctor after thorough physical examination, medical history and several tests will be able to detect the cause and treat the underlying pathology.

What Causes Sharp Pain In Head Above Right Ear?

Unilateral pain in head above the right ear can be an associated symptom of ear disorder or it can have its origin from the brain. Here are some of the reasons for such type of pain in head.

  • Tension headache is one of the common forms of headache. The pain is experienced above the ear on one side of head or it can be bilateral pain. It is generally caused due to tightening of muscles above the right side of ear. Usually the muscles in this area may contract to trigger pain when a person is under stressful situation.
  • Herpes zoster is skin condition caused due to virus infection. It can occur anywhere of the body surface. Small fluid filled blisters can develop on skin above the ear. Herpes is a painful condition. Patient suffering from it will experience sharp shooting pain.
  • Nummular headaches are typically characterized by pain in certain part of scalp and head. The pain is often experienced above and behind one ear. The skin in painful area is tender to touch. It is caused due to damage to the nerves innervating the scalp skin. The exact cause is not known, but it is suspected to be due to reactivation of herpes virus for this type of headache.
  • Carotid artery dissection can produce one sided pain in head behind and above the ear. Carotid artery is the main vessel from the heart which supplies blood to the brain. If right side of carotid artery is dissected it may cause pain above the ear in the head. The pain is sharp and sudden in onset. It can occur soon after traumatic neck injury.
  • Mastoiditis is the infection of mastoid bone which is a part of skull bone. The bone lies just behind the ear. Infection in middle ear is responsible for mastoiditis. Pain in head behind and above the ear is one of the symptoms of mastoiditis.

Treatment Options For Sharp Pain In Head

As there are several causes which can lead to pain in head above the ear, managing this condition mainly depends on treating the underlying condition. MRI and CT of brain are usual imaging techniques which many doctors advice to diagnose the condition. Treatment may depend on the underlying disorder.

  • In case of tension headache, over the counter pain killers and anti inflammatory medicines often alleviate the symptom. If you are experiencing recurrent tension headaches, patient should seek stress management techniques. Yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture are alternative remedies that are found beneficial in reducing the symptoms.
  • Herpes zoster is a viral disease which resolves on its own in 8 to 10 days. However, during this period to alleviate pain, doctors do recommend pain killers. Anti viral medications are also prescribed to shorten the course of disease.
  • Applying heat over the area is beneficial in alleviating sharp shooting pain if the cause is nummular headache or tension headache.
  • Carotid artery dissection is an emergency and it needs immediate medical treatment. Many people with this condition suffer from stroke. If stroke has not developed doctors try to thin the blood with medications to prevent stroke.
  • In case of mastoiditis, surgery may be required to alleviate the symptoms.
    Patients suffering pain in one side of head should avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.


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