New research conducted by scientists at the Georgetown University Medical Center shows that a number of sinusitis sufferers have chronic pain such as that experienced by seniors and those who suffer from depression or arthritis. The study has found that endoscopic sinus surgery for the purpose of clearing plugged up sinuses can bring about an accompanying reduction in chronic body aches and pains. Some 14% of U.S. residents are afflicted with sinusitis, which tends to be a chronic ailment that isn’t easy to relieve.
Study author Alexander C. Chester, M.D., internist and clinical professor at Georgetown University’s Medical Center states that, “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.”
The study aimed to evaluate whether an increase of body pain is common to sinusitis and to determine whether such pain might be reduced through endoscopic sinus surgery. The study results were presented on September 22, 2008, at the yearly conference of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and the Head and Neck Surgery Foundation in Chicago.
Chester and his team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 11 studies which assessed health-related quality of life as well as body pain by surveying the participants before and after endoscopic sinus surgery. The patients rated their body pain on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the least body pain experienced.
Chester commented that the experience of body pain on a day to day basis was greater in patients with sinusitis than is found within the general population. The findings of this study were reassuring to patients suffering from sinus conditions since many were convinced they suffered from more than one ailment.
In addition to obtaining an evaluation on the relationship between chronic pain and sinusitis, most of the studies under analysis proved that after undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery, and after postoperative recovery, the patients were found to experience body pain on a level comparable to that of the general populace.
Chester believes that this data underscores why sinus surgery is an important consideration where medications have failed to achieve relief. Today’s surgical techniques mean that the procedure is much less invasive and safer than in the past. More than 200,000 endoscopic sinus surgeries are performed every year in the U.S.
Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, an otolaryngologist and sinus surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the study’s senior author, states, “This study highlights an important point: Chronic sinusitis should not be considered as a minor localized disease condition rather, as this study emphasizes, sinusitis can cause serious clinical levels of discomfort in many patients.