Sometimes a stupid mistake can lead to some unwanted pain—or worse. For example, I was in a rush the other day and went out in the cold before fully drying from a shower. A little bit of water must have been in my ear, and for the next day and a half, I was feeling the wrath.
Thankfully, the intermittent stabbing pain in my right ear subsided (although hopefully, it’s not the calm before an infection hits), but it could have been a lot worse. Earaches are not only a significant pain and inconvenience, making it hard to sleep, focus, or relax, but they can signify a major health problem. They may also impact your hearing ability.
If an earache lasts for more than about two days, you’ll want to visit your doctor. It could be the result of several causes, including:
- Bacterial infections
- Referred pain (pain in the ear that is caused by inflammation in another part of the body)
- Chronic conditions
- Skin infections in or around the ear
- Water trapped in the ear
- Pressure caused by changes in altitude.
Dealing with the short-term pain of an earache before taking a deeper look can help you get back on track and potentially move on from the ordeal. One way to do this is with massage. A gentle massage to the head, near the ear, or around the jaw may help get rid of an earache in a timely and relaxing fashion. It may also offer some relief from an infection, as well.
To help with an earache, massage in a downward motion, applying pressure beginning just behind the ears and down the neck. Keeping the pressure, move the hand forward to the front of the ear. The massage may help with pain management while potentially helping to drain fluid.
There are some other home remedies you can try to handle an earache, including drops, cold packs, heat packs, or eating garlic. Once again, if the pain lasts for more than about two days, visiting a doctor for treatment is required.