Research & Publications

The Link Between Your Sinuses and Your Headache

The Link Between Your Sinuses and Your Headache

Have you been experiencing the following symptoms in your head, face or nose?

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • “fuzzy headedness”?

The combination of the aforementioned can be referred to as cognitive dysfunction. They can be caused by a phenomenon called “sinus migraine” and they may or may not point to problems in the sinuses themselves.

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Is Your Deviated Septum Causing Vision Problems? | Symptoms and Treatment

A deviated septum is a condition in which the thin area of tissue between your nostrils (called the septum) is not centered, making one nostril smaller than the other. The septum is the bone and cartilage that divides your nose in half. A deviated or displaced septum may cause snoring, nosebleeds, create difficulty breathing, and can also cause recurrent sinus infections which can be painful and disrupt your vision.(1)

Many people with deviated septum were born with it but it can also be the result of an injury – common amongst those that play sports. The American Academy of Otolaryngology estimates that up to 80% of nasal septum’s are not centered and that it’s usually not noticed.(2) A deviated septum can be diagnosed when the septum is severely off center or noticeably crooked. In some cases, treatment is not needed. For those with symptoms, nasal sprays and nasal strips can be attempted. However, surgery to correct the deviation is the most effective therapy.

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Beware: The Cold Winter of 2014 Will Lead to a Bad Allergy Season

John Bolaris of Philly.com commented today that, because of the unusually cold and stormy winter we’ve just endured, we are due for a pretty bad and prolonged allergy season. Dr. Jennifer Ashton of ABCNews corroborated his thoughts saying “that instead of a gradual bloom, it will take place all at once, setting up “The Perfect Storm” for allergy sufferers.

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What Causes Vertigo?

Sitting in deep within your skull, alongside your snail-shaped hearing organs, are your inner-ear balance organs, also called your vestibular system.

To begin to understand what your vestibular system does, perform this simple experiment: Hold your finger out in front of your face at arm’s length. Now shake your head back and forth while looking at your finger. You can keep the finger in fairly good focus, can’t you? Now hold your head still and move your finger very quickly. You will see that it is much, much harder to keep a good focus on your finger. The clear focus that you are able to keep on your finger during the first part of this experiment demonstrates the incredible efficiency of your vestibular system.

Your vestibular organs sense the position and motion of your head. They are hooked up to a reflex arc in your brainstem that controls the position of your eyes. As you move your head, your brainstem automatically moves your eye muscles to keep them on your finger. We believe that the “purpose” of this arrangement is to stabilize gaze and allow us to keep things in focus while we are moving.

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Are You Sure It’s Just An Allergy?

Seasonal and year-round allergies are extremely common. Hang around with an ENT and you’ll be convinced everyone has them. Many seasonal allergy sufferers put up with untreated or partially treated symptoms for a few weeks of the year. Many year-round sufferers do the same, convinced that “nothing really helps.” What a shame!

Nasal allergies are very treatable, often with a combination of pills, intranasal sprays, saline irrigation, and sometimes even allergy shots. But there are also conditions that mimic allergies that you should look out for, either because they require a different treatment or because they can be dangerous. Your Ear, Nose and Throat doctor can help you figure out if any of these conditions exist:

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Get Rid of Dizziness and Vertigo Without Medication or Surgery

Sound too good to be true? It’s not! A certain portion of people with dizziness CAN be cured easily in one or two visits without medication or surgery. These people have BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (or BPPV for short), one of the most common causes of intermittent dizziness.

BPPV causes the sensation of spinning in a circle that is triggered by movement. BPPV at its worst can cause a mild, vague sense of motion when you are at rest but the true violent spinning calms down when you are very still. The spinning is usually very brief, sometimes only a few seconds but it can be violent. If you experience a spinning sensation when rolling over in bed and your ears feel otherwise normal, you are likely to have BPPV and should get to an otolaryngologist ASAP!

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Do You Have an Ear Infection Or Is It Really TMJ?

At least once a day, someone comes into our offices complaining of ear pain. Most of our patients think that they have an ear infection based on assumption (the pain is coming from the ear region after all!) or becuase their primary care physician indicated as such. Some patients are indeed diagnosed with ear infections but it may come as a surprise that most ear pain has nothing wrong with the ears.

The most common cause of ear pain in an adult is the temporo-mandibular joint or TMJ. The temporo-mandibular joint is located extremely close to the ear canal and middle ear. The muscles that surround the temporo-mandibular joint and the fascia and ligaments that hold the bones in place are intricately connected with the ear and the nerve that supports the ear. Frequently the pain (in one ear or both) has persisted for several weeks and may even come and go. Very often, hearing hasn’t been affected but there will be a stuffy or clogged feeling in the ear. Ear pain is often worse at night or in the morning. Some patients even tell us that their ear pain is worse when they chew or yawn.

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Simplifying Cold Medicines: The Ultimate Guide to Over the Counter Therapies

The cold medicine aisle can be baffling, even for those of us in the know. The shelves teem with so many products, mostly combinations of unpronounceable ingredients with different purposes (and different side effects!). Many patients give up on the whole endeavor, especially those people who have been warned off of OTC because of interactions with prescription medicines or undesirable side effects. But these same folks may be suffering needlessly through their cold when safe, effective help is out there.

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Learn the 5 Easy Steps to Sinus Health

    1. Treat your allergies
      I made this number 1 for a reason! “Putting up with” allergy symptoms means that your nose and sinuses are busy fighting off pollen molecules and are slacking on simple housekeeping chores. A chronically inflamed and internally swollen nose is much more likely to get infected and/or trigger headaches.
    2. Wash your nose
      Saline irrigation is an age-old practice. It can be done with a Neti pot or the more modern (easier) “squirt bottle” type kits. Salt water washes out mucous, bacteria and allergens and doesn’t just feel good; it reduces symptoms and the chance of infections.
    3. Decongest during a cold
      At the peak of a viral upper respiratory infection, having your sinuses drained not only helps you to feel better but can prevent secondary sinusitis. If you cannot tolerate the oral decongestants (because of side effects or high blood pressure) then consider 1-2 days of a topical decongestant spray.
    4. Treat the “crusties”
      Don’t tell that little kid you know, but green “boogers” are not normal! If you have a dry, crusty, irritated even bloody nose, you could be carrying an excessive bacterial load in your nose. Topical therapy (sometimes even prescription therapy) can reduce this and prevent a deeper infection in the future.
    5. Consult an ENT Specialist
      Recurrent sinus infections are often caused by abnormally tight anatomy of the sinonasal tract. Not to worry. It can be easily corrected with surgery, resulting in fewer and less severe sinus infections.

Learn the 7 Signs that Silent Reflux is Damaging Your Throat

7 Signs that Silent Reflux is Damaging Your Throat

Do you have many or most of these 7 symptoms?

  1. Chronic dry cough
  2. Chronic throat clearing
  3. A lump or tight feeling in the throat
  4. Difficulty swallowing
  5. Excessive throat mucous
  6. Hoarseness of voice
  7. Throat irritation

There is no one single symptom that denotes silent reflux (laryngopharyngeal reflux as we call it, or “LPR” for short). But if you have a combination of any of the symptoms described above, it is likely that LPR is part of the problem. LPR can be treated with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes in combination with anti-acid medications.

Note that “history of heartburn or GERD” is not on the list! Only 50% of people with LPR have any history of heartburn or indigestion. Of course, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above and they have persisted longer than 2 weeks, you will want to get checked by an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor (otolaryngologist) to make sure that the symptoms are not from something more serious.


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