Misdiagnosis: Sinusitis and body pain

Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center made a surprising discovery about patients with sinusitis.  It’s not just about headache, stuffy nose and tenderness in the face.  There’s pain all over the body!

All right, this might not be so surprising to patients with sinusitis.  But chronic sinusitis apparently does result in bodily pain – a symptom not usually listed.  The researchers compared the pain with the chronic pain of the elderly, or those with arthritis.

Dr Alexander C. Chester, the study’s author, notes:

Bodily pain is not listed as a symptom of chronic sinusitis in general medical texts or journals and as a result, patients are sometimes diagnosed with unrelated conditions such as arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.  Unfortunately, this leaves too many people unaware of treatments for sinusitis that can improve their overall condition.

Speaking of misdiagnosis, it is believed to be extremely common that people with migraine are misdiagnosed with sinus headache.  Many symptoms are common to both – tenderness, congestion, and headache, for example (read more about sinus headache here).

Before taking drastic steps (such as going for surgery), it helps to get a second opinion from a qualified specialist, and it also helps to do your own research.  Looks like you already are!  🙂

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3 comments… add one
  • MaxJerz Oct 5, 2008

    I was mis-diagnosed as having sinus headaches for years. When I was in college, my allergist referred me to an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doc to see about getting my deviated septum repaired. Luckily, the ENT referred me to both an ophthalmologist and neurologist first. The ophth didn’t find anything, but the neurologist was the one who finally diagnosed me with Chronic Daily Headache and Migraines!

    Be well,
    MJ

  • James Oct 6, 2008

    Wow – thanks for sharing that, MJ!

    I’m reminded again that when someone mentions “surgery” it’s a very good time to get one or more “second opinions”.

  • Lena Welch Nov 17, 2012

    Two docs now have recommended sinus surgery. I have migraines, migraines triggered by sinus stuff, and sinus stuff. The sinus part won’t go away with the Imitrex that always works. I may get rid of the migraine and not all of the head pain. It is excruciating. I asked the second doc where my infection would make me hurt and I was told that with what is under pressure, the whole front of my head would hurt. I doubt it will rid me of headaches but I am so hoping that this summer I find myself rid of some of them. If nothing else, I should be able to quit drilling my finger into the side of my nose…. I always thought that was strictly migraine but the CT scan shows otherwise. The side of my nose is right where everything is full of stuff.

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