Chronic headaches are a common health complaint among adults in Mechanicsburg. There are a number of reasons you might suffer persistent headaches—including obstructed breathing. It turns out that sinus surgery might not only improve your ability to breathe; it could also put an end to your headaches.
Nasal Surgery to Relieve Obstructed Breathing
A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that nasal surgery to relieve obstructed breathing could help reduce or eliminate chronic headaches in some patients. Their research was published in last December’s issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
The team, led by Ahmed M. Afifi, MD, set out to review the results of 39 different studies that followed 1,577 patients who had undergone functional nasal surgery targeting “contact points” within the nose and sinuses to treat chronic headaches. Experts believe that these function as trigger points for chronic headaches. This procedure is often a part of functional nasal surgery that is performed to relieve obstructed breathing, allergy symptoms or obstructive sleep apnea. The most common surgery involved correcting a deviated septum or eliminating excess sinus tissue. About half of all procedures involved endoscopic sinus surgery, which is often performed on patients with chronic sinus infections. Results showed that 85 percent of patients experienced at least a partial improvement in their headaches following surgery. Furthermore, 48 percent of patients reported their headaches were cured and 37 percent reported improvement in the severity or frequency of their headaches. Only 15 percent noted no change in symptoms.
One subset of studies found that patients who underwent functional nasal surgery experienced a drop in the number of days they had headaches from about 22 days per month to just six. The pain associated with these headaches was also reduced. Patients who were selected for a type of nasal surgery using a local anesthetic nerve block were the most likely to report positive results from the surgery, as were those who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery.
Dr. Afifi’s paper is the first to collect data from multiple studies and show that surgery on nasal mucosal contact points could be an effective treatment in improving headaches in certain patients. It makes clear the relationship between nasal anatomy and headache feedback loops and demonstrates the importance of undergoing detailed diagnostic testing in order to identify those patients who would likely respond well to functional nasal surgery.
If you are experiencing chronic headaches and looking for treatment solutions, reach out to a Mechanicsburg ear, nose and throat specialist for relief.