What Causes Head and Ear Pain on One Side?

Earaches and headaches are common and can happen on both sides. They often come with other symptoms such as nausea and stress. Severe cases like throat infection and sinusitis can also cause serious head and ear pain on one side or both sides.

When dealing with a middle ear infection, face occipital neuralgia, swimmer’s ear, or shooting pain in the outer ear canal, it is necessary to address the affected ear as quickly as possible.

Obtaining pain relief in the inner ear as quickly as possible is necessary to ensure optimal health. This guide will discuss the different causes of head and ear pain on one side. We will provide information about ear infections, how it relates to headaches, and when you should see a doctor.

A woman with Ear Pain from TMJ

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Learn more about TMJ: What is TMJ?

Common Causes and Symptoms of TMJ

Headaches are common nowadays. Often these headaches can turn into severe migraines and earaches. Many people use simple low-dose painkillers to treat them without knowing the underlying cause.

Although these joint disorders are usually genetic, some habits and conditions can lead to TMJ disorder. People grinding their teeth while sleeping or clenching their teeth are at risk of it. In addition, stress, trauma, an improper bite, and arthritis can lead to TMJ disorders. 

Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders 

The following are some of the symptoms of TMJ disorders. 

  • Headache: It is one of the primary symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders. The severity of headaches can cause a problem with lying down, eating, talking, yawning, and swallowing. When the fan-shaped TMJ muscle becomes stressed and strained, it can lead to headache as a symptom. The headache caused by TMJ might be accompanied by jaw locking and earache. 


  • Earache: After headache, earache is also a symptom of TMJ disorder. As the TMJ joint is near your auditory canal, irritation, stress, pain, and inflammation can result in earache. The person might experience symptoms such as ringing in the ears and problems with the eardrum. 

What Causes Pain in Ear and Head

There are many reasons why you experience an earache or headache on one side simultaneously. These include:

  • Bright light

  • Continuous motion

  • Common cold and flu

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Noisy streets

  • Strong smells

  • Stress and anxiety

Young children, infants, and pregnant and breastfeeding women may have to see a qualified doctor. The doctor will prescribe a treatment plan for them. For cases like this, you can use OTC medication and home-care practices to nurse yourself back to health (if you are an adult).

The doctor assesses for severe head pain, behind the ear pain, chronic pain, severe stabbing pain behind the ear, and trouble hearing. And depending on the signs and symptoms you are experiencing, the doctor may order medication to help you.

How an Ear Infection Can Cause a Headache

An ear, throat, or nose infection can also trigger a headache. This is because hollow sinus cavities connect the ear, throat, and nose in the middle of the forehead, cheekbones, noses, and eyes. 

This connection is why you may experience a headache if you have a viral infection or sinus pressure in your ear, throat, and nose. When these infections happen, mucus can fill these sinus cavities and trigger sinus pressure headaches. In some cases, the headaches can become migraines.

Ear infections mostly happen to children, but they can happen to adults too. Aside from headaches, viral infections can also cause fever and significant discomfort. When left unattended for an extended period, an infection can cause permanent damage to the ears resulting in hearing loss.

How To Treat A Headache With An Ear Infection

A painful sensation in the head characterizes a headache. The feeling can be sharp or dull and affect one side or the wrong sides of the head. It can also include other symptoms like sinusitis, colds, fevers, stress, and other viral infections. 

Here are some natural ways to treat the head and ear on one side.

Improve your sleep position.

If you are dealing with a viral infection, it will help elevate your head when you sleep. This position will drain your sinuses, alleviate the pressure in your sinus cavities, and provide comfort from the headache pain.

Apply warm and cold compresses.

You can use warm and cold compresses to provide some comfort from earache. You first want to start by applying a warm or cold compress and then alternating between the two every 10 minutes. 

If you notice that one provides more comfort, you focus on the one that helps more.

Neck rotation exercises.

Some people might get comfort from neck rotation exercises. These exercises can help to reduce pressure inside the ear canal and reduce headache pain. 

Home care practices.

Some home care practices can help alleviate headaches and earaches and reduce fevers. These include:

  • Getting planting of rest

  • Warm drinks and broths (including chicken soup)

  • Steam inhalation

  • Warm baths

  • Apply essential oils such as peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus to your temples.

  • Over-the-counter medications

Go for a massage therapy treatment.

If you are looking for relief from your temporomandibular joint disorder or need help to relieve your tension, our professional massage therapist in Richmond, VA, can help.

When Do I See A Doctor For Head and Ear Pain On One Side?

People suffering from ear-related illnesses can also experience headaches. The severity of the headaches and types of headaches differ based on the type and degree of the ear infection.

Patients experiencing head and ear pain on one side must reach out for a medical examination. You might also consider undergoing massage therapy treatment, but make sure it is under the supervision of a healthcare professional.


 Contact Us Today About TMJ Disorder and Severe Pain Relief in Richmond, VA

If you need help with jaw pain, head, and ear pain relief, or needs help with similar problems, we can help!

Our medical massage practitioner in Richmond, VA, can provide solutions to help with these issues related to your TMJ disorder. Book an appointment with Attune Massage Therapy at (804) 901-2952 to see how we can help.


This article is for informational use only. This does not substitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.




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