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Allergy or arthritis or something else


I have had headache and sinus/ear problems it seems forever. I had a deviated septum surgery done back in the  70's and that did help a bit with draining. But,  since the last 10 years I MUST stay away from AC, cold air, fans, drafts, etc. If I have been in any of these for more than 10 minutes, the next day my head feels swollen--the whole head hurts, then it goes into my ears with a terrible ear ache and then down into the sinus cavities. If left without doing anything, I get congestion that eventually turns into infections. An MRI showed that my sinus cavities are terribly shrunken and do not drain properly. I went to doctors originally to see if the sinus cavities could be blown out, but I am not keen on a facial surgery of any sort. I live alone now. A couple doctors tell me maybe I have chronic siunitis, arthritis, allergy to cold, or problems from prior injury--I fell down stairs when I was a toddler. On top of that, the ENT doctor said my jaw alignment is off. My right side is off when chewing and she says may be the cause to ear pain in my right ear.  This came to light when I took a flight recently and the pressure built up in that right ear something fierce.  I may have two complete issues here--one from the cold and the other due to this jaw misalignment.  I am 72 years old, live in FL and the cold symptoms on the head have gotten worse because AC is needed here in all the buildings. All of my registers are pointed away from my chair or bed. When I was young, they tell me I had cotura of the head whatever that is. I was extremely sick from spending hours in a drafty situation. If I cover my ear (right), wear a hat to ward off the cold, draft or fan, I can avoid many problems. Spending a few hours in the airport brought 2 weeks of heat from my heating pad plus the NSAIDS to my rescue for the cold issues, but the pressure in the ears from the flight were another problem. Are there any precautions I can take or should I not fly again for this problem. The cold problem I have managed to just cover up as best as I can--I think I am stuck with it. Any ideas? Terri
2 Responses
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi, inflammation in the nose and sinuses can cause inflammation around the Eustachian tube, which is the tube that runs from the back of the nose to the middle ear and is responsible for draining the middle ear of fluid.  If there is Eustachian tube dysfunction from nose or sinus inflammation, fluid can remain in the middle ear which can lead to dizziness and problems of balancing air pressure during air travel. The best way to get to the bottom of your sinus issues is to see an ENT.  A good examination inside the nose with a camera might give the ENT more information as well as a CT scan of the sinuses.  If it is a chronic sinus infection, 4-6 weeks of antibiotics are pretty standard in addition to nasal steroid sprays, oral steroids, and salt water irrigations of the sinuses.  If this fails to solve the problem, sinus surgery is usually recommended. Regards.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comment. I did go to an ENT but she wanted me to use saline several times a day. Since my sinus cavities are so constricted, the liquid just built up and I had a terrible time waiting for It to finally drain back out. I don't think I will visit her again. She did not understand at all.

The scans show the sinus cavities very narrowed. I do not have problems now--no pain or discomfort. However, I have to stay away from cold, winds, drafts, fans, etc.  THEY aggravate the whole situation and that starts everything in motion. The pressure, swelling and pain. I wanted to find out if there was any solution to that other than what I am doing and if I should pursue getting those passages cleaned out WITHOUT surgery if possible. I guess the pain/pressure in the ears could have been because I was already compromised with the AC in the airport and plane for so long and may have already started to swell in the passages. I don't know what my next step should be. At 73, maybe I should just be aware and take precautions??
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