Posted by: Stashi | 2007/04/19


Hi There
I have been Suffering with headaches for the past year or so.
I always thought it was due to Sinusitus, as thats where the pain is, my cheeks and above my eyes.
I went to the ENT and he did an MRI and no sign of infection, only slightly swollen sinuses, he said nothing that could cause pain!
He suggested I take anti inflamatories and if that does not relieve the pain, he wants me to see an Neurologist!
I cannot carry on like this anymore, the pain is effecting my life, I cannot exercise and I am miserable and moody because of the pain!
This last visit to the ENT etc has cost more than R2500, my medical savings are exhaused. Where do I go from here??

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Stashi,

Although the sinuses can play a part in the headache process, it is not nearly as common as people think. Research from headache clinics throughout the world shows that “sinus headache” is the most common misdiagnosis. Just because the pain is in the area of the sinuses, or because the patient has a post-nasal drip or blocked nose when the headache strikes, doesn’t mean that the sinuses are responsible. In fact what often happens is that when the underlying cause of the headache is treated, the sinus problems often clear up.

Taking anti-inflammatories is certainly not the answer – that may only relieve the symptoms – it doesn’t help to find the cause, which is essential if you want to get rid of the problem.

Seeing a neurologist alone is not enough. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

Unfortunately, if you have exhausted your medical savings, then you have to bear the cost of any further treatment yourself – medical aids nowadays give limited benefits compared to years ago.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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