Headaches are no fun. We all experience the pounding, throbbing, and aching discomfort of headaches from time to time and for some, these unpleasant experiences occur frequently. If you encounter a headache at least fifteen days per month, you are experiencing chronic headaches. A chronic headache is not a specific type of headache but rather a term that applies to many different kinds of headaches. Chronic headaches can be debilitating enough that over-the-counter remedies no longer help. In these cases, medical intervention is usually the only option. A newly published research study suggests that chronic headache sufferers may have a new opportunity for relief in the form of functional nasal surgery.
Functional nasal surgery benefits patients who have airway obstruction. The procedure corrects nasal function due to obstruction from nasal trauma and congenital disabilities. The most common structural defects include:
This surgery that relieves airway obstruction may also eliminate chronic headaches according to a new study that systematically reviews the available literature on the subject.
For many people, aspirin or other pain remedies will often make a headache go away. However, for some patients who endure chronic headaches, surgery may be the only option to relieve the pain. The type of a problem dictates the type of surgery. Nasal surgery to treat chronic headaches focuses on contact points within the nose and sinuses. These points serve as trigger points for chronic headaches. Functional nasal surgery of this type is known to help in the relief of airway breathing, allergy symptoms, and obstructive sleep apnea. According to the findings published this past December, eighty-five percent of patients undergoing functional nasal surgery experienced at least a partial improvement in headache pain. These findings suggest that nasal surgery may be a treatment option for headaches.
The researchers conducted a review of 39 studies including 1,577 patients undergoing nasal surgery for treatment of headaches due to mucosal contact points. Deviated septums and excess sinus tissue led the way as the most common procedures. The findings indicate that functional nasal surgery is useful in the reduction or elimination of chronic headache symptoms. Curing of headache symptoms occurred with 48 percent of the study participants while 37 percent reported a noticeable decrease in the occurrence and severity of their headaches. Fifteen percent say they experience no change.
The data for this study has limitations. Because of the range of studies examined in the project, the researchers were not able to identify a standardized surgical procedure. Also, there was no medical treatment described that the patients were undergoing at the time of their particular study. However, the results of this research serve as the first systematic evidence review that shows that nasal mucosal contact points may be manipulated to relieve chronic headache symptoms. The team suggests the need for controlled randomized trials and careful patient selection to hopefully identify those who may benefit from this surgical treatment.