I had numerous procedures done on 6/07/2012 with my sinuses. Septoplasy,
endoscopic bilateral maxillary antrostomy, endo bilateral ethmoidectomies,
bilaterial middle turbinate concha bullosa reductions, I believe the surgery lasted nearly 3 hours. The reason behind the surgery was yearly sinus infections which always led to me being hospitalized in order to fix.
Six days after the surgery, I was home laying on the couch, bent over and sneezed and it felt like my head was in a set of vice grips. My head throbbed, pounded, ached and the only thing I was able to do was prop my head into the cushions of the couch and not move for EIGHT hours. I figured I pinched a nerve and in the morning I could go to the chiropractor. Well, 5 am arrived and I was in tears laying in bed with pain. I immediately went to the ER. They transferred me to the hospital I had the surgery at, where my surgeon showed up and vehemently denied that this had anything to do with his operation. They put me in heavy meds, controlled the pain, and released me two days later.
As soon as I got home, another headache blew up, just as bad as the first, I just laid there.
I just turned 40 and otherwise very healthy. I have experienced, maybe, 5 headaches my ENTIRE life. Now, every single day, I have a headache. I returned to my surgeon for the initial followup, he pulled a few chunks of packing out and said " maybe this caused the headaches". However, the headaches continue everytime I strain, regardless of how little of a strain it is.
Ive googled this a bit, and see a few other posts with no end results. I would of NEVER had this surgery if I knew the remainder of my life is going to mean living with these headaches, the only way I can describe them is that they are debilitating.
Any advice, clues, posts? The surgeon still denies any relation. Did something happen in the surgery? I am obviously not the first person complaining of this and the closeness to the brain is undeniable regarding these operations.
Im sorry you're going through this. It certainly does sound alarming. I had the same surgery as you did for chronic sinus infections. If I'm reading this correctly, it has only been a week since surgery? If that is the case, I'd just relax and give yourself the energy needed to heal. Your sinuses have just been through some trauma and they need to heal. I remember having pretty bad sinus headaches while recovering, but nothing that landed me in the ER. Also, any sort of movement or altitude change (laying to sitting, sitting to standing) hurt me pretty bad for the first two weeks. Sinus pressure and infections always give me migraines of varying degrees, so I wasn't surprised to have them after surgery. Did your docs give you any meds specifically for migraines? Immitrex or Zomig? I take Zomig and it does a pretty good job. But I get a migraine headache almost every month.
Edit: also just thought of something else... Are you doing saline irrigation? My ENT/surgeon said to do it every four hours while awake during recovery. I was also taking Vicodin during the day for the first week, maybe more. Make sure you take some before they remove the packing. Omg does that hurt!!!
Last edited by Pastafarian; 06-29-2012 at 12:52 AM.
That's terrible. If I were you, I'd start looking for another doctor for a second opinion. If you are getting migraines (with light sensitivity), sometimes it helps to drink caffeine or have a cold compress on your neck or forehead. I hope you can get this resolved soon. It sounds really disruptive.
I had surgery on the 18th. I had discomfort and a few nights a severe migraine, eye pain the whole thing.I have been using the Nettie pot as directed twice a day. I was amazed at the junk that suddenly would loosen up. When I saw the dr today she said use claritin, keep rinsing out the sinuses and if I get headaches that last more than a few days then come back in. She irrigated the sinuses again today and I can now taste food. 5 days after surgery she irrigated the sinuses and vacuumed out my sinuses. It hurt but she sure cleaned them out. I had mold and fungus so she wanted to make sure there wasn't anything. Did your doctor do anything like that? I think I would go see another dr
It's a good idea to keep doing the saline rinses daily, but I would also recommend that you get a second opinion from another ENT. You shouldn't be having that kind of pain (or really any pain) this long after surgery.
It's really unusual, and fortunate for you, that you had chronic sinus problems but didn't get sinus headaches. I've had the surgery as well, and I was not happy with the results because it just didn't help much. It does take quite awhile for your sinuses, head, face, taste and smell to return to normal, but continued headaches after 3 weeks seems unusual and I don't blame you for being a little alarmed about it.
I wouldn't assume you have to live with it forever. At this point you just need to do what you're doing and try to find answers. I agree with the other replies that you should get a second opinion. The doc saying it's "absolutely not related" to the surgery is a big red flag. Most docs don't say "absolutely" about anything (even if you want them to ).
I don't know where you are or what kinds of medical services are available, but I have found that you can sometimes get better results from a teaching hospital, especially for a second opinion. The docs at these hospitals tend to be more interested in the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Docs in a particular specialty in regular med practices tend to eat lunch together, think alike, etc. A teaching hospital allows you to step out of that environment. I got this advice from my dentist after my sinus surgery and found it to be very true.
__________________ "The only thing that makes me depressed, Doc, is not getting any answers from you."
On my follow up, my dr pulled out a bit of the dis solvable packing and said this might be the cause of some of the headaches. There was no cleaning or irrigating of the nasal cavities. He made a follow up for mid June. Im in the midst of another headache right now, which is why I figured I would check the forums.
Again, before this surgery, I had less than 10 headaches my entire life, now, on a daily basis, I am in pain. I really am amazed... Either something went drastically wrong during the surgery or something is still clogged, stuck where it should not be. Just a guess but something is drastically wrong here...
The fact that your doctor didn't schedule 2-3 "cleanings" after the surgery is a BIG red flag. Generally debridement (the removal of dried mucus and scabs) is performed about a week after the initial surgery and again 2 weeks after that to help minimize scarring and improve healing.
Some "old school" general ENTs don't buy into debridement (or don't take the time to do it), but every surgeon I've ever seen who is an expert in treating sinus disease swears by it.
I would recommend getting a second opinion from an ENT who specializes in the treatment of sinus disease at a teaching hospital or major medical center. It's possible that you have scar tissue, inflammation or dried mucus that is causing your headaches.
If you want to let us know what city you live in (or near), someone may be able to recommend an ENT for you to see for a second opinion.
It will be 2 weeks for me tomorrow since my sinus surgery and nasal widening via grafting was done. I saw the surgeon Friday. She flushed out the sinus again. She said everything was coming along fine. Regarding pain and headache, she said to use Clariton and to continue rinsing twice the day. She said if a headache lasts more than a few days to return to her instead of waiting for my next appointment in a month.
I can breathe today through my nose and haven't had much cheek pain today.
I had similar surgery in June 2012 and the headaches reappeared. I found that prednisone helped immensely. Opiates not so much. After two more CTs I had another "revision" FESS in November. The headaches continue. With each surgery there was significant infection discovered and removed. I'm still in treatment - seeing neuro, ENT, pain specialist...
I ended up printing out and showing him the hordes of documentation I had found online regarding the headaches and this type of surgery. He ended up admitting that there was a "small possibility" that he surgery had caused them but they should continue to get better.
This was one of the more well respected Doctors in our area and I can't understand why he either did not know this was a possibility or simply deny the fact.
My headaches have subsided and I only get them once in a great while. This is the time of the year where I would get a horrible sinus infection and have to be admitted to the hospital ( 3 out of the last 4 years ) to rid myself of it.
So we will see if it helps. I am still on the fence if I would ever do this again, as the pain caused by those types of headaches are debilitating.
Splork, I don't see any responses to your headaches post with a solution.
I had sinus surgery for recurrent sinus infections on Nov 5, 2012. I have not been prone to headaches except for a fairly mild one when I had a cold.
Since the surgery which went well and doctor says I'm healed well, I have had daily headaches starting about 2 weeks post surgery. Sometimes I have a sharp pain in the left side of my neck, radiating into my head, and sometimes it's just a vague but painful headache, more towards the back of my head.
Doctor didn't have any response when I told him about the headaches, bad taste in my mouth that I didn't have before the surgery and pressure-caused tooth pain on the right side. Despite the doctor saying I'm healed well, I don't feel any better than when I had sinus infections. I'm so disappointed...I thought I was going to get better and have a better life.
Now that you're 6 months out...do you feel better? I'm hoping I just haven't given it enough time.
It doesn't appear that there is any solution, the only thing you can do is take pain medication which does not really touch the types of headaches being discussed here. The only way I was able to feel relief was being admitted to the hospital and being put on morphine, not exactly ideal.
Its been around 5-6 months for me and the headaches have mostly disappeared. So there is hope for you. It seems these headaches as a side affect of these types of surgeries are a rarity but they do indeed happen.
The only advice I can give to try to prevent the headaches is to avoid anything which would cause a person to strain. That was what triggered all of mine. Pushing too hard while going to the bathroom, lifting heavy things, yelling too loud, etc.
Hope all works out for you. Don't be afraid to do what I did and print out some of these forum posts and other articles you have come across regarding this side affect to show to your Doctor. For some reason they seem to think we are making these things up
The Following User Says Thank You to splork For This Useful Post: Bea590 (12-08-2012)
Dear insane headache thread-followers:
My husband had sinus surgery late August 2012 (moderate amount of work done) and exactly a month later his chronic headaches began. No history of headache or migraine other than sinusitis-related. 6 out of 10 pain scale -- 8 sends him to the ER. 6s and 7s for SIX MONTHS now every single day. Wakes up with it, no change without Maxalt or similar. Neurologists have him taking a rainbow of meds one after the other. Surgeon says not related - same as Splork - it's unbelievable. Period. Please keep the suggestions coming! Thanks!
I too suffer from these debilitating headaches! I had septoplasmy surgery in Jan 2011 to reduce sinus infections, and I did really well for 4 months after. I had no headaches and no infections all was well with the world; however, after that it has been horrible. I have migraines almost daily. Many times they come on while I am asleep and I am awakened by severe pain; I take an Imitrex together with an Aleve capsule and sometimes it will relieve the pain and others it will not. I have been to two neurologists and two ear,nose, and throat doctors (ENT) and I still do not know what the problem is. The neurologists say the headaches are sinus headaches and they cannot help me and the ENT's say they are migraines and they cannot help me. I am lost and suffering!!! I am currently taking 50mg of Amitryptolen every night before bed, and they have helped me sleep better, but they have not relieved the pain. I am also taking Nasonex Spray twice a day, two sprays in each nostril. Has anyone found an answer for this? I truly believe it was caused by the surgery. How do I get my doctors to understand what I am going through?
Last edited by lillygirlfletch; 05-21-2013 at 10:28 AM.
My husband (mentioned in post just before yours) also takes amytriptyline at night, but his dose is higher than yours now. He also takes valproic acid. His neurologist increased the doses for both a couple weeks ago, since there was an indication that they (or something) were helping (daily rating went from a 6 to a 4 during April). Increased dosage has not continued to improve the headache rating. Not sure if we'll stay with this treatment but not willing to back off yet in case it really is helping. Migraine diet for 5 months did nothing, so we're off that now.
You are right... these docs are in denial and someone needs to be doing the research to figure this problem out! There is a classification called NDPH--see article below. Wishing you better!
Young WB, Swanson JW. New daily-persistent headache: the
switched-on headache. Neurology. 2010;74:1338-1339
New daily persistent headache is
characterized by an out-of-the-blue onset of
a headache that becomes unremitting soon
after it develops. To receive a diagnosis of
NDPH, the patient must have a headache
that started suddenly and has continued for
3 months or more.
Most patients diagnosed with NDPH are
able to recall, to the day, when the headache
started. More than 50% report a precipitating
event, such as a viral illness, a stressful experience,
or surgery.15 ICHD-II defines NDPH
as having the characteristics of a tension
headache. Notably, however, migrainous
features are also common, and neurologists
often diagnose NDPH with either migrainous
or tension-type features.16
The sudden onset of NDPH is a red flag
and, like other red flags, always warrants
further work-up. Magnetic resonance imaging
with gadolinium is preferred to computed
tomography. Magnetic resonance
venography or lumbar puncture may also be