Increasingly bad sinus problems, persistent headaches?

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  • Full Question:

    Hello. I'm a 55 yo man, former smoker, have lone paroxysmal afib (6 years) and been suffering with increasingly bad sinus problems for the last 20 years. I've seen 2 ENT's and two allergists over the last 11 years and been given K and Z packs as well as steroidal sprays and most common antibiotics. I've never had a CT scan despite insistent pleading.

     

    I have been in constant sinus distress for about a year now with almost total loss of smell and currently have persistent headaches like I've never felt before. I know 'normal' sinus headaches and face pain and this is different. I feel a very sharp stabbing left temple region pain that radiates into what feels like the middle of my brain.

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    Of the doctors I've seen one wanted me to go to an Eye clinic, one wanted to enroll me in Women's Balance class (???), one said I had a "pooched over" septum, and the other threw her hands up in the air after antibacterials and antifungals and sprays failed. She ordered a CT scan for after the 'episode' passed but it's been constant since seeing her two years ago. She won't even return calls from me because she doesn't know what to do. I've run out of docs to try here in SE Wisconsin because they are all grouped into multi doc offices and don't want to step on each others toes. Gaaaaah!

     

    I suspect my afib may be a direct result of so many years of sinus related poor sleep and breathing but that's just a hunch. So, you guys wanna take a stab at this? lol
    Thank you! George.

     

    Full Answer:

    Dear George;

     

    We'd love to "take a stab at this." Please understand that we can give you some information, but it's impossible for anyone to give you a diagnosis via the Internet.

     

    Sinus headache is very rare unless you have a sinus infection. Research has shown that some 90% of what people think are sinus headaches are really Migraines. You can find more on this in Sinuses Giving You a Headache? It’s Probably a Migraine. Is there any history of Migraines or "sick headaches" in your family? If so, this is something you should have in your medical history because Migraines are hereditary.

     

    Migraines can produce pain in the sinus area because the trigeminal nerve becomes inflamed during a Migraine, and one branch of it runs along the sinuses. Take a look at this diagram of the locations of the branches of the trigeminal nerve, Pathways of Migraine.

     

    Since the doctors you've seen thus far haven't been able to help you, the best advice we can give you is to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It’s important to note that neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check the Find a Health Care Specialist on the ACHE web site.

     

    We sincerely hope you find the help you need soon. Please keep us posted?

     

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

     

     

     

    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.

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    Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.

     

    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

     

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    Last updated January 21, 2014.

Published On: January 21, 2014