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Sharp Pain in Soft Pallete of Mouth
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Sharp Pain in Soft Pallete of Mouth

Hello,
I've had sinus problems for about a decade now.  My primary symptom is frequent colds (approximately 12 times a year) that start with a sharp pain that I describe as being in the roof of my mouth, usually on the right side, but sometimes on the left.  The pain is usually triggered by anything that involves moving of the soft pallate of my mouth.  This includes swallowing and talking, which makes for some frustrating conversations and interferes with my job.
In terms of intensity, the pain is so sharp that it wakes me up at night and prevents me from sleeping properly.  Usually at least a few nights every month, I take 800 mg of ibuprofen to allow me to sleep through the night, then more during the day so that I can focus at work.  If I sleep on my back, I frequently will wake up because the painful/swollen tissue temporarily blocks my airway.

The strange thing is that sometimes the pain is the only symptom.  Othertimes it's just the start of the symptoms that eventually lead to a full blown cold/flu.

Even when the pain is not present, there is a sensation that something is not right with the roof of my mouth.  It almost feels like there is mucus stuck there, but I can't get it out.

I've tried to treat it by using nasal rinses, which seem to relieve it temporarily, but often times seem to lead to more congestion, so I don't view it as a permanent solution.

I've been to three separate ENTs.  The first corrected my deviated septum, which helped me breath slightly better, but didn't actually help with the pain.  He said he couldn't see anything that would cause the issues I feel.
The second and third ENTs said the same thing.  One of them gave me Ponaris Nasal Emollient, which seems like it helps a little.  It burns a lot when it contacts the tissue that hurts, but eventually it seems like it calms down.  The last ENT said that I had very tight neck muscles and that could be the cause of the pain.  I explained to him that the nasal rinse would temporarily relieve the pain, but he still insisted that any sharp pain couldn't be caused by an infection.

My question is, what could possibly be the cause of my symptoms?  I can't seem to find anyone else who has ever experienced them, especially not on a recurring basis.  When I talk to ENTs about this, they seem to think it's no big deal, but I can't stress enough how much this interferes with my day to day life.  Not being able to sleep well, struggling to speak and swallow correctly, leads to a lot of anxiety that has made these last 10 years difficult and affects my day to day life.  

Any help anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.  In particular, if anyone knows of an ENT in the Minneapolis area who is actually willing to listen to me and not just take a quick peek at my sinuses and tell me everything looks good would be helpful.

Other miscellaneous information:
Male, 26 years old, 6 feet tall, 170 pounds.  I exercise regularly and try to eat healthy.  I've been to an allergist and been tested for the basics with no positives.  I also have problems with dry eyes, primarily my left eye.  I occasionally have canker sores (not cold sores), but I've seen no correlation between those and the pain in the roof of my mouth.  I don't remember having sinus problems growing up until I went skiing around the age of 16 and got a lot of lake water in my nose.  My nose got congested for days and water would run out slowly as my sinuses drained.  That happened several other times after that, so I've pretty much given up swimming.  As a child I swam constantly, but I can't seem to do it anymore without getting water in my nose.

Thanks in advance for any help.
4 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Considering your symptoms of point tenderness and pain on opening the mouth, your symptoms could be due to temporomandibular (TMJ) joint arthritis. This is the jaw joint and inflammation of this joint can cause pin on opening the mouth and tenderness on palpating behind the ear. As you have sinusitis, it could also be a lymph node enlargement. Local causes like tooth infections, tooth abscess or periodontal disease can also cause referred pain. You will need to consult your dentist who will examine you and determine the cause so that appropriate therapy can be initiated.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello,

I have been living the live you described for two years now. Down to a tee. I get colds at least once a month and they all start with sinus pain in the nose and eyes and severe pain in my soft palate. I have also been to the doctor countless times and all they prescribe is a nasal spray. I have seen an allergy specialist only to have him suggest my childhood asthma has come back after 6 plus years of having no symptoms.
I am currently waiting on a recommendation to see an ear mouth and nose specialist (fingers crossed).
I can openly admit I have avoided the dentist in the past little bit out of fear, but I was wondering if you had any luck in this department? An update would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_m_tn
hi
i had since 4 y the same symptoms + eye pain .I went to all possible ENT doc in chgo,and received different diagnosis ,I saw NEURO doc he eliminated TN,  I have visited endo nothing. Now, for today  i am still taking antibiotics and waiting for miracle.I have feeling that are my last days to live.cant manage pain.sometimes  I conclude that docs don't take me serious.
if you see English mistakes sorry this is not my language
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello,

I'm sorry I never realized anyone responded to this post.  I think the email notifications must have been filtered into my junk mail.  I just received a message from a member and I wanted to post my reply to them here, in case it helps anyone.

I'm not having nearly as many problems as I used to with it, though it still comes up from time to time.  I think it was at least partially related to extremely tight neck and shoulder muscles.  The muscles were so tight that they were interfering with my swallowing which also affected the drainage of my sinuses.

What I did to minimize the symptoms was to begin stretching my neck regularly throughout the day, tilting my head back and forth and side to side and concentrating on proper posture.  I still do that regularly, especially if I feel the symptoms coming on again.  Now when I do have the pain, it's usually only for a day and only a few times a year.

I first received that suggestion from an ENT and basically laughed it off, thinking it couldn't be as simple as that, but eventually I was so desperate that I tried it and gradually it seemed to help.  Now if I ever feel the symptoms coming on, I may use nasal spray for one night, make sure I'm stretching my neck and shoulders and the symptoms go away within a day.  

It's also important not to get to anxious about it.  I would get so anxious that I would swallow constantly which only seemed to exacerbate the symptoms.

On a side note, I mentioned in the original post that I was getting canker sores regularly, to the point of 75% of the time I had one or more canker sores.  Last October (2013) I stopped eating grains (rice, wheat, oats, etc.) entirely and had zero problems with canker sores.  After about four months I began to add small amounts of grains back in and the only time I get canker sores now is when I eat more than a few small servings of grains a week.

I think both the nasal pain and the canker sores may be related to an underlying auto immune condition.  I had a positive blood test for elevated levels of IGG4, which is a symptom of a little known auto immune condition they sometimes generically call "IGG4 related disease".  I have not yet followed up with the rheumatologist on that because the treatment option will be oral steroids, which I don't want to take.  I'm hoping that through diet and exercise I can control or reverse any conditions that have developed.

Sorry for taking so long to reply.  I see that there are been some pretty desperate posts.  I should get the email notifications now so I'll respond if anyone has any additional questions.
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