Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

My mother has severe ear pain, no diagnosis

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 5 Replies
  • Posted By: radiclus
  • April 28, 2009
  • 07:52 PM

My mother has severe ear pain, and pain in lymph gland below her ears. Saliva glands produce excessive saliva and metallic taste. Ears and jaw itch. Her face feels like it's starting to go numb. Sometimes there is a sharp burning pain on the outside of her shoulder.

Multiple doctors have performed blood tests and MRI's and tell her there is nothing wrong with her.

Symptoms started around a year ago, and have progressed. Pain onset is at random, and frequent. She may feel fine one hour and terrible the next.

Never wakes her up at night hurting.

She has been to Scott and White hospital and the only thing they can theorize is muscle spasms, for which they prescribed her epilepsy medicine called "topamax".

Please help if you have any idea what could be causing this.

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5 Replies:

  • Did they rule out herpete sine erupte--shingles without the breakout..
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • I will have to ask. but do shingles last longer than a year and get worse as time passes? I might be thinking of something else, but I will check into that. Thanks for the reply.
    radiclus 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • trigeminal neuralgia. (Cranial Nerve V)Maybe? I think Tegretol is the first line Tx, but Topamax is supposed to help as well. If it wasn't going on for so long I would think shingles as well, same nerve. Best of luck
    landseer 11 Replies Flag this Response
  • That sounds like a good lead, I will definitely ask the doctor about that. I looked it up and it could explain the pain she is having, but I guess I am still concerned about the other symptoms like the excessive salive with metallic taste and the fact that she feels like her face is starting to go numb in areas. Thank you for the reply.
    radiclus 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Good point. The overactive salivary glands is odd. Metallic taste is also odd. There are not may things that cause this. How are you figuring it is her salivary glands? Is she drooling, and complaining over too much saliva? Is the taste constant or intermittent? Is there tendress at the parotid or submandibular glands (on cheek and under jaw)? Does she have headaches? Has she ever had stomach problems like GERD? Is she taking any medications currently? Has she ever had trauma or surgery to that side of her head or chronic ear infections on that side? These questions could lead to any of the three things I can think of that cause metallic tastes, well maybe four: Gastric reflux, and certain medications are numbers 1 and 2.Less likely: CSF fistula. CSF taste very metallic, and can, rarely, leak into the oral cavity through a fistula. They can occur spontaneously, but are most often assoc with trauma, surgery, chronic infections that eventually cause abscess and a fistula. Again, this wound be very unusual. You did mention a periaricular lymphnode being tender, this could be a sign of infection. The fourth (kind of) reason would be metallic fillings in teeth. Also, some of the fistula conditions can cause inflammation of cranial nerves and cause numbness or burning, and loss of CSF can cause headaches. Testing for CSF can be tough esp if it is only intermittent. Again, best of luck.
    landseer 11 Replies Flag this Response
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