ear pain

Earache Relief, Earache Treatment, Ear Pain, Ear Drops For Pain

Earache is very common however it can be very debilitating and can interfere with one’s daily activities. Earache is well recognized in Ayurveda. Classical Ayurvedic texts mention various possible remedies for ear pain, earache relief and earache treatment.

Anatomy Of The Ear 

The human ear is divided into three parts, the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear is further divided into pinna or auricle (the outside structure of the ear) and the external auditory canal which connects the outer ear to the middle ear.

The tympanic membrane or eardrum divides the outer ear from the middle ear.

The middle ear consists of three small bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes and a eustachian tube which connects the middle ear with the back of the nose.

The inner ear consists of the cochlea which contains nerves for hearing and the vestibule and semicircular canals which contain receptors for balance.

A problem in any of these parts can cause earache. Earaches can also be caused due to problems in other organs or body parts. Pain can be in one ear or both ears.

ear pain

Ear Pain Causes

These ear pain causes are related to the outer ear.

  • Any injury or trauma on the outer ear
  • Insect bites
  • Infections and inflammation
  • Severe sunburn
  • Atopic dermatitis or skin irritation

These ear pain causes are related to the external auditory canal.

  • Otitis externa: Also known as swimmer’s ear is a bacterial infection of the external auditory canal
  • Foreign body in the canal like an insect
  • Excessive accumulation of wax
  • Malignant otitis externa, a very rare but life-threatening condition
  • Herpes zoster and tumors (less common)

These ear pain causes are related to the tympanic membrane.

  • Rupture of the tympanic membrane due to outer ear injuries
  • Inflammation of the tympanic membrane

These ear pain causes are related to the middle ear.

  • Acute otitis media, an infection of the middle ear. This is a very major and common cause of earache related to the middle ear.

Here are some other causes of earache or referred ear pain.

  • Various other problems like tonsillitis, post-tonsillectomy, sinusitis, parotitis, pharyngitis, trigeminal neuralgia, temporomandibular joint syndrome, and dental problems (like cavities and abscess) are some other causes which may lead to earaches.
  • Earache or ear pain can also be present with other symptoms like fever, hearing loss, tinnitus, itching, drainage, loss of balance, vertigo, and nausea.

Management of Earache in Western Medicine

The treatment or management of earache depends on the cause since every condition requires a different approach. ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialists or otolaryngologists usually treat ear-related problems. However, a general physician can also treat common ear problems like earaches.

earache

People usually take over the counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and ear drops without consulting a physician.

This may provide temporary relief and suppress the symptoms however it is always advisable to consult a physician. The ear should be examined properly and accurate diagnosis can be made for proceeding with the appropriate treatment.

Sometimes tests like X-rays, CT scans and blood-work are also advised to rule out certain causes.

Earache In Ayurveda

According to the Ayurvedic system of medicine, earache can be correlated with karna shoola. In the Ayurvedic texts, there is an explanation of the causative factors of karna shoola or earache, its pathogenesis, its signs and symptoms, and its management or treatment.

Causes of karna shoola or earache according to Ayurveda 1

  • Frequent and prolonged exposure to dew
  • Spending long hours in water like in water sports
  • Itching or pricking the ear aggressively

Samprapti or pathogenesis of karna shoola 2

Due to earaches, Vata dosha can become vitiated. This vitiated Vata dosha may move in the opposite direction. Along with other vitiated doshas like Kapha, the dosha can also vitiate because of their causative factors, enter the ear canal and trigger earache.

Karna shoola or earache is considered a kashta sadhya rog. This is a disease that is difficult to manage.

Asadhya karna shoola or incurable earache 3

When karna shoola or earache is associated with other symptoms like unconsciousness, burning sensation, fever, cough, cold, and vomiting, then it comes under category of the asadhya karna shoola or incurable earache category.

Read More: Neti Pots For Colds, Sinus Infections And Tinnitis

Ayurvedic Remedies For Karna Shoola

In Ayurveda, karna puran vidhi is used for treating ear problems and relieving earaches. A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner uses swedana or formentation therapy to supply warmth to the affected ear(s) followed by pouring a warm mixture of cow urine, fats like oils or ghrita (clarified butter), or juices of herbs into the ear(s).

earache treatment earache relief ear pain ear drops for pain

This process is called karna puran vidhi.Here are some mixtures used for karna puran vidhi.

  • Ginger juice, honey, and saindhava lavana (rock salt) with sarson taila (mustard seed oil).5
  • Garlic, ginger, moringa bark (drumstick tree), root of varun (Crataeva Nurvala) and banana extract.6
  • Ghee applied to the leaves of the arka plant (Calotropis procera). These leaves are then heated and crushed and the remaining liquid is extracted. 7,8
  • Goat urine mixed with hot rock salt. This preparation is helpful in relieving earaches with secretions (pus).9
  • A paste made from the root of shyonaka (Oroxylum indicum). This paste is helpful in relieving tri doshajaa karna shoola (earaches associated with the vitiation of all three doshas).10
  • Hingu or asafoetida, saindhava lavana (rock salt), and ginger paste added to sarson taila (mustard seel oil). This preparation has been highly recommended by renowned Ayurvedic scholars like Charak and Sushruta.11,12
  • Ayurvedic oils like Deepika Taila, Nirgundyadi taila, and Nagaradi taila.13,14,15
  • Rasnadi Guggulu, an Ayurvedic tablet that contains Guggulu (Commiphora mukul).16

Read More: Inside and Out: Ayurveda and the Healing Power of Oil Treatments

Ayurvedic Do’s And Don’ts (Pathya And Apathya)17

Do’s

  • Swedana karma or fomentation therapy under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Virechana karma or purgation therapy under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Vamana karma or emesis therapy under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Nasya karma or nasal instillation of herbs and oils under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Dhoomapana or herbal smoking therapy under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • Shira mokshana or rakta mokshana which is bloodletting therapy. This therapy may be performed in some parts of India. Please seek out a qualified practitioner for any Ayurvedic body treatments you wish to receive.
  • Wheat, shali dhanya (a variety of rice), moong or green gram, barley, purana ghrita (old clarified butter), pointed gourd, moringa, brinjal or eggplant, bitter gourd, and wild chicken meat are permitted whilst having ear problems

Don’ts

  • Do not brush teeth using a wooden twig.
  • Avoid washing your head during earaches. Water can aggravate earaches caused by infections.
  • Avoid heavy exercises and physical activities.
  • Avoid foods that aggravate Kapha dosha.
  • Avoid heavy and rich foods.
  • Avoid itching and scratching the affected ear.
  • Avoid ice.

Different Ayurvedic remedies are used for different causes of earaches. These remedies should always be administered by qualified Ayurvedic practitioners. Do not attempt to administer these remedies at home without the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.

References

  1. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roga adhikara- 1,2, page no. 309, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  2. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna shoola samprapati- 1, page no. 309, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  3. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna shoola samprapati- 2, page no. 310, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  4. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  5. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-6, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  6. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-7, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  7. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-8,9, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  8. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-10, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  9. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-11, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  10. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-12, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  11. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-13, page no. 313, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  12. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1,2, page no. 315, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  13. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1,2, page no. 315, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  14. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1, page no. 315, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  15. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1, page no. 315, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.
  16. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, karna roganam chikitsa-1, page no. 318, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 20
  17. Yoga Ratnakara with Hindi commentary, uttra ardhagata, pathya apathyam 1-3, page no. 319, by Vaidya Laksmipati Shastri, Chaukhambha Prakashan, Varanasi, 2017.

 

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Dr. Alka Sharma, BAMS is an Ayurvedic practitioner and an avid learner of the field. She graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, Punjab in India. She has been practicing Ayurvedic medicine and doing related work for the last six years. She works as an independent consultant in Ayurveda through online consultancy services. She has a personal app on the Google play store where she consults patients on their health problems following the Ayurveda medical sciences. She additionally has a Masters degree in Business Administration for Health Sciences from Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), India.

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