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Sisters Hospital Offering Cutting Edge Diagnosis and Treatment for Patients Who Suffer from Headaches

If you can predict an approaching thunderstorm by the throbbing in your head, Sisters of Charity Hospital has a new diagnostic and treatment option that can help relieve your sinus pain.

Dr. James Chmiel, a Catholic Health Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at Sisters Hospital, sees patients who have already been evaluated for headaches, but have not found the cause. Many of these patients have x-rays that appear to be normal.

Headaches are a common complaint often associated with sinusitis. However, the true cause for a headache may be difficult to determine due to various reasons.

The United States Center for Disease Control reports that sinusitis affects over 30 million people and is the most common chronic disease in this country. Rhinologic headaches, or headaches involving the sinus area, also occur in patients who have unknowingly experienced nasal trauma and have developed bone spurs, which can cause pain around the eye and above the nose.

To confirm a patient suffers from nasal bone spurs, Dr. Chmiel examines the patient and reviews his or her x-rays. If the patient has a headache on the day of the exam, a simple “in-office” test can be performed to see if the headache is caused by bone spurs in the nose. The test involves applying a topical anesthetic to the nasal cavity to locate the bone spur. Once the bone spur is located, the anesthetic usually relieves the headache instantly.

From there, Dr. Chmiel recommends a treatment plan to remove the bone spurs and resolve the headache problem permanently. With recent advances in the safety of outpatient surgery, doctors are increasingly offering minimally invasive techniques to remove headache-causing nasal bone spurs.

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