Headaches & Sinuses on The Morning Blend
Everyone’s experienced a headache at least once in their life….and the location of it can give you clues to its cause.
[Molly] Welcome back to The Morning Blend. Most of us have a headache from time to time. It's just part of life. Well, on Friday, we asked you on Facebook to identify where you get your headaches most often. In today's Sleep Well, Breathe Well series with ADVENT, we explain the connection between the location of your pain and how it can provide clues for a cure.
The founder and CEO of ADVENT, Dr. Madan Kandula, is here with help for our viewers and Facebook friends too. Good morning to you, doctor.
[Dr. Kandula] Good morning!
[Molly] Let's start with a brief explanation. Since you're a sinus expert, I'm wondering if people have chronic sinus issues, where do they usually have headache pain?
[Dr. Kandula] It can vary, but just to get everybody up to speed, the sinuses sort of live around the nose, up on the forehead, in the cheeks, right between the eyes. And so folks who are having issues on the sinus front or chronic sinus infections or just narrow passages can have issues overlying those areas.
But sometimes the pain can vary or travel. So if somebody is having issues right over those spots on consistent basis, it may very well may be the sinuses. But for instance, some of the sinuses can cause issues in other parts of the head, even all the way at the top of the head, sometimes in the back of the head. So it can be sometimes very, very tricky for somebody to figure out whether it's sinus related or if there's other things going on.
[Molly] Especially if that pain can radiate, as you just mentioned. I wonder if besides headache pain or a pain maybe in the face, are there other signs that you see that might indicate a chronic sinus infection?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when it's chronic, it can be really tricky to pin down. So some folks have congestion. They just have a hard time breathing through their nose. They'll have thick drainage. Many, many folks just have a hard time breathing, just moving air through the nose on a consistent basis.
So it can be a variety of things. For many folks, the headaches can be there, certainly, and for other folks, it could just be this sense that something's not right. It can almost be this sort of an anxiety provoking situation where people are just feeling like something's not right, and I don't quite know what it is.
[Molly] I was reading that in your notes today and had never heard that before, but people can actually experience anxiety related to chronic sinus issues.
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, I mean, if you think about where the sinuses live, they live right around your face and right around your airway. And so when somebody has any issues that compromise the airway, it can be profoundly anxiety provoking.
It isn't always, but I'd say certainly for many of the folks that we treat, it's something that can go hand in hand, and many folks don't realize there's a connection there. So it's one of those sort of odd things that can be there. Certainly, people have anxiety and they might not have sinus issues, but I think if you're having issues in this area, it can only hurt from the anxiety front.
[Molly] Yeah, that makes sense. We have this question from a viewer. The pharmacy is filled with nasal sprays and pills as a lot of people know if they have chronic issues. Can this help with chronic sinusitis or headaches?
[Dr. Kandula] You know, it's not a root cause solution. I mean, it certainly might give you a little bit of a Band-Aid relief temporarily. And, you know, sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. For folks who are constantly having to go and staring at that pharmacy aisle trying to figure out what to do and grabbing something, seeing if it works and if it's not helping, which it likely isn't, if it's not providing, you know, getting to the bottom of things, which it certainly isn't and then looking for true answers and looking for true solutions are, I think, where it's at.
[Molly] On our Facebook page, a lot of people responded, identifying the location of their headaches. Is that something that you use in your office that's it's helpful to you in determining the cause?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, it certainly can be. I mean, you know, we keep an open mind to that. Meaning we know that sometimes what somebody is pointing to is directly overlying the sinuses and will have it higher on a radar screen.
And sometimes, if somebody is having headaches in other areas, it may, even if there aren't sinuses in that area doesn't mean it's not related. One of the most common complaints for folks who have chronic sinus issues are sleep issues.
They have a hard time sleeping, they have a hard time sleeping soundly. And even there, for instance, if you're not sleeping properly, that will give you a headache by itself. So it's tricky. I mean, you know, there's certain times where it's cause and effect and we can have a direct approach.
And other times we just have to keep an open mind to, yeah, maybe there is something going on here.
[Molly] One of the things that's often going on and something that you can help fix is if the issue is anatomical. I'm wondering how you know or how someone might say, Hmm, I wonder if this isn't just a normal thing, but this might be a problem with the anatomy of my nose or sinuses.
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, I mean, it's always there as a possibility. And the reality of this, this is really what we do at ADVENT primarily is focus on the anatomy. So how do you know if you have an anatomy issue? If things aren't working properly, it likely means that you do.
And so in order to have a well-functioning nose in order to have well-functioning sinuses, the anatomy needs to be open. So the passageways need to be clear and the lining needs to be relatively calm. And so if you don't know about those things, there likely is compromise there, and most folks who are suffering suffer from both of those things. Their anatomy is compromised. The lining is irritated. If you don't get the anatomy open, then you really can't help the lining. And nowadays, especially, we have simple ways to open anatomy up. I mean, literally in a matter of ten, 15, 20 minutes, taking somebody who's been shut down in the sinus areas or in the nose doing something very simple, getting those areas open and getting that root cause solution.
[Molly] I think about my oldest daughter because she's had so many sinus infections and reluctantly goes on antibiotics, and now she just thinks, Oh, I guess I always have a sinus infection, but I wonder if she wants to get to the bottom of it. How does somebody determine if they have chronic sinusitis? How do you diagnose that and then get to helping someone?
[Dr. Kandula] Yeah, it's a clinical diagnosis. We listen and understand what's going on, and then we look and we see what we see. The reality is for the sinuses, especially, nobody can know what's happening in the sinuses without imaging.
You cannot, if you don't know. And so at ADVENT, in all of our offices, we've got office-based scanners. So in a matter of 20 seconds, you know, getting a picture of the sinuses so we know what's happening and we know what's happening in the anatomy.
And so if somebody's suffering, there's no reason to suffer. I mean, we can really get to the bottom line, at least get a clear understanding about do we have issues there? Is the anatomy open? Is the anatomy shut?
Do we have inflammation? What's going on? And if the likely scenario is there for most folks, which is something that we could treat at the office, it's certainly something to consider. But without knowledge, you really can't proceed forward in the world.
And so it's just really that simple understanding what's going on and then doing something about it.
[Molly] I know it's life changing from so many of your patients that we've heard from Dr. Kandula, thank you for your time today.
[Dr. Kandula] Thank you. Thanks for having me.
[Molly] Yeah, you can go to ADVENTknows.com to schedule online in just 60 seconds. Most insurances are accepted. No referral is required. There are five southeastern Wisconsin locations, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Oconomowoc, Oak Creek and Pleasant Prairie. They also have offices in Appleton and Illinois.