While there are many reasons people develop itchy ears, it is the combination of neck issues or neck pain and the itching in ears that points to a disorder like fibromyalgia. In fact, back and neck pain conditions can be associated with itching in and around the ears because the central nervous system (CNS) plays a role in both. Pressure placed on nerves due to physical conditions or malfunctioning nerve signals are believed to be related to ear itching in some cases.
The Role of Nerves in Neck Issues and Itch in Ears
The central nervous system involves the brain and the spinal cord. The brain is responsible for sending signals, but the spinal cord is responsible for sending those signals to the rest of the body. The brain and spinal cord meet at the brainstem which is at the top of the spinal cord. The complexity of the CNS cannot be overstated with 31 spinal nerves entering the spinal cord and serving as messengers down the spinal cord and out to the peripheral nervous system.
The peripheral nervous system involves muscles, skin and joints. This is like a busy highway in which the brain is constantly sending motor commands to the spine and muscles, and in the opposite direction the sensory tissues, like skin, are sending messages to the spinal cord which travel to the brain.
It is easy to see that the central nervous system can impact the muscles in the neck and the skin, and many spinal cord related events can impact the CNS. They include:
- Medical issues like tumors
- Birth defects
Medical conditions like infections and injuries are usually easy to detect. Other conditions can be more difficult. When musculoskeletal pain is experienced in more than one area of the body, and is not explained by the typical conditions or events just mentioned, it may be a disorder.
Connecting Pain and Itching to a Disorder
When someone develops fibromyalgia, the pain is emanating mostly from the brain and spinal cord. This is a disorder that never produces the same issues from one person to the next. However, some patients will experience pain or muscle aches in their neck area and itchiness around the ears. Itching is not commonly listed as a symptom of this particular disorder, but it is a very real and difficult issue for those who experience it.
Though an itch in and around the ear by itself may be related to something like an ear infection, the combination of neck pain and an itch in the ear may indicate a problem with the central nervous system. The CNS might be producing abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters that irritate nerve fibers, leading to ear itching. It is a fact that pain and itching occupy the same nerve pathway in the spinal cord.
It is important for you to take all pain and ear itching symptoms seriously. One can occur without the other, but when they occur together, the body is likely communicating a CNS problem exists. The physicians at the Spine and Pain Clinics of North America can perform a series of tests to pinpoint the specific causes of back and neck pain conditions and ear itching. Once identified, expert medical staff work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that minimizes the symptoms or corrects the medical condition as much as possible.