Headaches are a common health complaint in Medford. We all experience them occasionally, but some people suffer through chronic headaches and a host of related symptoms, one of which is obstructed breathing. New research shows that patients who opt for sinus surgery don’t just end up breathing better—they also notice a significant reduction in their number of headaches.
The Benefits of Sinus Surgery
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, looked at whether nasal surgery to relieve obstructed breathing could also reduce or eliminate chronic headaches. Their results, published in the December 2018 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that chronic headaches sufferers have plenty of reason to be hopeful.
How comprehensive was the study review?
Dr. Ahmed M. Afifi led a team of researchers in a peer-review study that examined the results of 39 different studies involving a total of 1,577 patients who had undergone functional nasal surgery targeting contact points in the nose and sinuses that were believed to be the catalyst for chronic headaches.
Which nasal surgery helps with treating breathing issues?
Functional nasal surgery
Functional nasal surgery is often a recommended treatment for patients experiencing breathing obstructions, allergies or obstructive sleep apnea. Often, the procedure involves straightening a deviated septum or removing excess sinus tissue.
How effective was it?
Those patients who had functional nasal surgery experienced a significant drop in the number of days they experienced headaches, going from 22 on average to only 6. And their headaches were accompanied by less pain when they did occur.
Individuals who were given a local anesthetic nerve block and those who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery were the most likely to report positive outcomes following their surgeries.
Endoscopic sinus surgery
How effective was it?
85 percent of the patients in Dr. Afifi’s study sample reported at least a partial improvement in their headaches following nasal surgery. Of that group, almost half (48 percent) said their headaches were cured and 37 percent experienced a reduction in the severity and/or frequency of headaches. The rest noted no change in their symptoms.
Dr. Afifi’s study is helping move treatment forward
The research from Dr. Afifi’s team is the first to look at data from multiple studies to determine the effect that sinus surgery has on nasal mucosal contact points and its ability to cause a drop in the number and severity of headaches. It clearly demonstrates the association between nasal anatomy and headache feedback loops.
Physicians with patients who complain of chronic headaches now have some viable treatment alternatives and are urged to recommend in-depth diagnostic testing on individuals to determine whether they could benefit from functional nasal surgery.
What should you do if you have chronic headahces?
If you are dealing with chronic headaches and haven’t found a long-term solution, make an appointment with a Medford ear, nose and throat doctor to learn about treatment options.