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Swelling behind ear with Vestibular Migraines?

I have has a swollen lymph node behind my ear ( Posterior Auricular node) for 5 months off and on (mostly on). I have been to the ENT and doctor 3 times and there is no ear infection. I think it is related to my vestibular migraines as it has swollen up quite rapidly (within an hour) with the onset of ear pain and pressure, vertigo and nausea and the crushing migraine feeling of being sucked dry of all energy and will. It also seems to happen when the weather is rainy and overcast quite frequently. I’m worried because now, even when the swelling is down, that side is bigger than the other.

I recently had a baby and had thought that my migraines had cleared up a lot but this seems like a new thing. Has anyone experienced this? I scoured the web and haven’t really seen any mention of lymph node swelling and migraine.

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Hey Sarah, welcome to the site.

I think the jury is out whether Migraine is secondary or Primary. There’s an association with vertigo (hence migraine “associated” vertigo) but the causality has never been fully determined.

We can’t diagnose here but I notice one thing that comes up a few times on here: sinuses - do you have a sinus infection? Upset sinuses can apparently cause vestibular symptoms so wonder if the lymph nodes are flagging an ongoing infection/inflammation there? Vestibular symptoms can lead to migraine.

Conversely, migraines might be swelling your sinuses (there’s a known impact there), leaving them more at risk of infection?

It’s often very tricky getting an accurate answer for why you are experiencing these symptoms.

Swollen Lymph Nodes and Migraines?
MAV because of a infection?


Hi, thanks for the reply :slight_smile: I don’t have a sinus or ear infection apparently. I have been to the GP, the ENT and urgent care. None found anything other than a fluid behind my eardrum and of course the inflamed node. I think it is probably a new migraine symptom in that case, especially since I have experienced such a rapid onset with other migraine symptoms. On Friday it was pretty bad and the weather was bad, I was also having stomach issues, it went away after I treated it like a migraine. Do you by chance know of any articles that speak specifically to ear issues and migraine? I have had 4 sets of ear tubes as a child and have a history of eustachian tube problems, both eardrums have ruptured, very intrigued by this association, which I did not know about until now.

A little background: I have been diagnosed with Vestibular Migraines about 8 years ago by a leading otoneurologist Dr. John Oas, at Ohio State. I used to take Topamax and it completely changed my life. I realized that i was sick nearly all the time and my baseline was dizziness and slight nausea. I had to stop taking it because of bad side effects but I have had a noticeable reduction in symptoms post Topamax; I used to get very extreme sudden onset vertigo that would make me fall, sometimes blacking an eye, etc, nearly fainting and had thought I had MS. I also had several very intense bouts of cyclical vomiting and sometimes accompanying diarrhea. I never realized that all of these disparate symptoms were probably migraine until a few weeks ago actually, so this new symptoms is leading to interesting insights. I am planning to go see my doc but he is booked until Oct :frowning:

Thanks for your help!

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I hear you on migraines, but this is a big red flag.

I suspect my MAV was caused by middle ear (ET) inflammation now. For ages I thought I’d injured my inner ear, now I’m not so sure. I think I created an immune reaction in my middle ear.

For me the ear trauma came before the migraines (by a year in fact).


Thanks for linking to those topics. The second one with more detail really resonates with my symptoms. I have at times become so sensitive that I have immediately vomited from bright lights and I once nearly fainted from a strobe. My father has seizures and I was honestly pretty sure if the light didn’t stop I was going to seize it was the most intense experience of its kind for me. It is good to hear that this is migraine related and not likely some other problem I need to worry about. Hopefully I can get a new treatment plan.

Reciprocal Causal Relationship Between Laryngopharyngeal Reflux and Eustachian Tube Obstruction

And, if you use the Search facility, there’s at least 50 references to ETs.

Ever thought through the possibility the stomach issues and migraine might all just be part and parcel of the same thing and the migraine another symptom amongst many. Obviously this mightn’t apply to life long established migraineurs but for others, like me who developed vestibular attacks with severe vertigo decades before they ever experienced anything resembling even an atypical migraine, the root cause may well be elsewhere. In the ear, caused by fluctuating hormones, histamines/allergies, there are many alternatives though nothings proven. It’s all hypothetical to date. However helps to be open minded. Stomach issues such as IBS could just be another symptom. It’s only recently I’ve realised that, by timing, my GERD diagnosis could well be linked in too. After all why should we be so unlucky as to get some many totally dissociated problems all at the same time.

I’ve become instantly dizzy to the point I could no longer stand by stepping into bright sunlight on a warm day. Similarly in a restaurant. And had a complete collapse following a total White Out on opening curtains concealing a rising Autumn Sun. This condition really does make one so sensitive to environmental triggers. All in my PD.


Just to note this is behind a Trust Level wall because we don’t like to subject our new users to the anxiety of reading scientific papers. Once you’ve been on here a while, we trust you have got your anxiety under control a bit more.


Ok, that’s cool thanks. When should I no longer be a “new user”. I have long since gone through the “do migraines cause anxiety or does anxiety cause migraines?” struggles, in 2016 I was having that problem. I read scientific papers a lot actually, and my husband has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology so he helps me understand a lot of the stuff that laypeople don’t normally get.

It’s not personal by any means, it’s a broad brush rule. Once you’ve interacted with the forum for some time you gain Trust Level. The scientific papers section is walled off to those under Trust Level 2.

Trust Level 1 is gained quite easily, so we decided to stick it at TL2.

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I think I am a lifelong migraineur. I have memories of what I believe were migraines in 1st grade due to the fluorescent lighting in school, it really bothered me. I also have had motion sickness as far back as I can recall as well as ear issues so it for me the chicken or the egg question I think is unanswerable. I also have had a neck injury and clench my teeth so the trifecta! I’m getting massages every 2 weeks and that REALLY helps! getting a bite guard this summer too.

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I get it, I just wondered what “quite some time” means? Like do I have to keep interacting continually or does it happen automatically after 3 months or something? thanks :slight_smile:

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We don’t like to publicise the criteria because some people might “game the system” to acquire rights but it should be a lot sooner than 1 month if you are a regular contributor.

Suffice to say it’s a combination of posting Topics, Reading Posts, Liking and getting Likes etc. I’m sure you are well on your way! (you are already TL1 :slight_smile:)

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