ZocdocAnswersWhat is this painful spot behind my right ear?

Question

What is this painful spot behind my right ear?

I have a really painful area that is behind my ear. Right behind the curved part in the back in my neck. It is sort of like a bruise but the skin is sensitive too. Is it a pressure point or something?

Answer

If the area of skin that you are talking about has a purple discoloration to it, then it is likely that this is in fact a bruise. It is possible to develop a bruise in this area of the body if, for example, you were to bang the back of your head against a hard object. If, on the other hand, the area of skin is warm and reddened, this it is possible that you are dealing with a skin infection. Localized skin infections can develop here, for example, from an infection at the base of a hair shaft, called folliculitis. More serious skin infections, characterized by spreading redness and pain and fever can also occasionally develop. Finally, if there is just a swollen spot under the skin, without overlying redness or purple discoloration, then this could be a swollen lymph node, which could develop after a viral illness like a cold or with a sore throat or ear infection. I would recommend that you get in to see your primary care doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to examine the area and help figure out what is going on. If, in the meantime, you have severe pain, fever, or rapidly spreading redness, you should go to an emergency room for more immediate help.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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