It worked. The first two months in recovery were absolutely horrible. But once the fall began, I didn’t have any issues, and that has continued until today. Amazing. I haven’t used saline rinses, OTC meds, or seen my ENT. I have had dry eye problems in the spring, and I am on two regular low-dose allergy meds, one a spray and one a pill each night. But during allergy season I can feel everything drain. No sinus headaches, no sinusitus, no infections. Now I’ve had other problems which were much worse than this, but, that’s a different story.
Overall, the past year has been painfree. For the most part, I’ve had few sinus related issues. I did have one infection that I got an antibiotic for and it cleared up. Other than that, one other headache. I did notice other types of headaches: a few tension which were easy to diagnose and fix, and dehydration headaches which mimicked sinus headaches (for me). Easily solved as well!
But, my taste and smell is still askew. I would estimate taste at 60% and smell at 30%. If I have any colds or allergy issues, it drops to almost zero for weeks.
I am planning on a follow up appointment this coming month and will post my results.
Because the number and severity of sinus headaches has all but stopped, I am now able to work with another set of headaches that have always plagued me.
Tension headaches…these tend to come in the early afternoons after a difficult day at work. Very mild, maybe a 1 or 2 on a 1-10 scale. A tylenol takes them away quickly. It’s amazing how small they are, but they almost wear you down in and of themselves.
Congestion headache…due to a cold where the sinus pressure begins to build up. Because there is no infection, the pressure is not that bad but relief only comes after drainage begins. They sometimes hurt above my eyes and on the top of my head. A 2-3 on a scale of 1-10.
Hydration headaches…Originally I thought that it was due to coffee. Like caffeine withdrawal. So I limited my coffee intake in the mornings but it was clearly not the problem. As it turns out, I experienced them towards the end of the week. I noticed that my exercise routine forces me to drink lots of water, and I do a great job on the weekends, but towards the end of the week I drink less and less.
One time I drank massive amounts of water and the headache was gone in 12 hours. Another time they started in again on a Wednesday so I took the cue and drank a lot of water and it went away. Since then I have been drinking a lot of water and all the headaches are gone.
This weekend I had a sore throat, upset stomach, and an off/and on again headache. When it came to the headache, I had tried tylenol but there was no change. I have avoided nasal decongestants because I want my body to function by itself, but with the illness, I needed extra help. Once I took a 12 hour ill, the mild congestion (one nostril at a time) cleared up fairly fast. Within a few hours the headache dissipated and has been gone since (24 hrs). For some reason, despite the location of the congestion (right or left nostril), when I get congested, pressure builds up in my nasal sinus cavities. This pressure leads to painful headaches.
Since my summer sinus surgery, I haven’t had many headaches. But then again, when my allergies kick in, I find that I drain fairly well. But without a doubt, sinus headaches can be resolved at times with decongestants.
For the past month or two, I’ve had off and on small headaches; more of a nuisance than a problem. They usually begin in the morning and on one day, can get very painful. They are usually located in the lower forehead and can move up to the high forehead or frontal rim of the head. So far, it appears that Tylenol and Advil may help it. This would show that it is probably not sinus related for me personally.
I began watching the timings of the headaches and believe I narrowed it down to a few possible causes: smells, caffeine, or tension related. I really don’t think it’s due to tension, but that could be adding to it. Because it begins in the mornings, I’ve been drawn to the idea of caffeine. I’ve tried drinking it slowly, faster, earlier, later, and with less caffeine. I’ve come to believe that it could be contributing to it in that if it’s already there, it makes it worse, but, it doesn’t cause it.
I noticed around Thanksgiving break that it stopped for a week and then started again when school started. I thought about it. Caffeine stayed the same, tension? But I also had been shopping and noticed that my son started using his AXE cologne spray again. Could it be because of smells? Usually in the morning he (used to) spray enormous amounts on himself and the upstairs would stink horribly. Since my surgery, it’s hard to smell so I haven’t noticed it. But, good news first, I did begin smelling it the last month, but bad news, it could be leading to the headaches. So we’ve been running an experiment mid-week this week. He stopped using it. My headache had been very bad Tuesday. On the first day, I had a very (similar) minor one and then the rest of the week just flashes of small pains. It looks like it could be the cause. Then again, it could just be the CPAP pressure that keeps me breathing regularly each night (two years and running).
Sinus headaches and fall. Why do people get them during the fall? From the friends and research that I’ve reviewed, it’s due to a number of factors.
First, weather changes. Like Spring, Fall is a time where weather fronts of low and high pressure change frequently and at extremes. This is commonly referred to as one of the causes of sinus pressure and headaches. But not only is it a cause, it is also a exacerbator that adds to the pre-existent condition and makes the pressure worse than it originally was. So even though it may not be the main problem or cause, it still contributes to it.
Secondly, the humidity can drop significantly in the fall. When this happens, mucous doesn’t flow as well and passages can become blocked. Also, allergens and bacteria in the nasal cavity do not clear out as well as usual. Regardless of the reason, it still leads to less drainage, more chance for infection, and many times, sinus pressure develops because of the clogged sinuses.
Thirdly, fall allergies (late grasses, and molds, and soil molds) may be triggered. With the congestion comes the possibility for clogged sinuses and less drainage; hence, the powerfully painful headaches.
After 4 months, I’m feeling pretty good with how much taste I have. During the last few weeks, I’ve regained more and more taste. I can taste eggs consistently, croutons, toast…some of the more mild flavors or flavors that aren’t so consistently strong. After surgery I had to work with the tissue healing itself for about one month. Then, my nose and sinuses kept reacting to anything it didn’t like (smells, allergies, etc) with congestion. That didn’t help with tasting at all.
In the last few weeks since my last sinus infection, I’ve been generally clear with breathing through my nose which has helped my taste. Smell is still questionable. It isn’t usually as prominent in your day to day activities, and smells waft; they come and go in strength and variety. So my smell hasn’t really improved that I’ve noticed. I enjoyed picking up a pile of leaves yesterday and putting them up to my nose. I don’t know how strong they were in smell, but I could smell them bunched up in my hand. It brought memories from childhood and past falls in New England.
I need to be careful of eating this Christmas!