kicked to the curb again - recurrent sinus infections, headaches 2 years

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4970
   Posted 3/8/2011 4:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I nearly went to the ER a couple of weeks ago.  In retrospect I should have.  By the time I could get in to see the ENT I had the infection under control, for now.  He wasn't impressed with just dripping, bleeding nasal cavity, irritated nose.  He wasn't interested in finding out why I still have a headache 2 years after an accident that broke my nose and gave me a cut and a hard hit above the eye - where it still hurts 24/7 despite my pain meds!
He wasn't impressed with pain a year ago either, but called in antibiotics after he saw CT results which showed sinus infection.  It was "cured" but came back a few days later.  Cured again and again, a dozen times or more in last year.  Sometimes I've had a fever and red mask across cheeks and nose.  He didn't want to do a repeat CT because drainage is now clear and I don't have polyps.  (Who cares about polyps?) 
I've had my PCP and my allergist prescribing antibiotics, antifungals, sprays, rinses, and the infections keep coming back.  The headache is always there.
I was referred to a family doc who supposedly specializes in headaches.  I called, but next appt is in May.  I was less than impressed by being cut off in mid-sentence to be asked for insurance.  Called the ENT's office for a different referral. 
Next time I WILL go to ER.  I'll ask for a culture and a referral to a different ENT.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 3/9/2011 12:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Alcie~

I'm sorry your doctors are being so incompetent! When you can't even trust the doctors you wait to see and pain dearly for then there just doesn't seem to be much hope. There's on idea that yo might want to consider. Across the country and around the world are universities that not only have medical schools but have hospitals and research labs attached to them. These typically get you the best, latest & greatest treatment on the planet. Anyone can use them and most often insurance covers them. In the Chronic Pain 101 thread there's a link to these facilities around the globe but, most important, around the country. Here's the link so you don't have to go searching for it.

Find one closest to you even if it's a long drive. I would think it would be more than worth it in the end. It does sound like a change of doctors would surely help you.

Warm hugs,
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." Albert Einstein

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 3/9/2011 2:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Alice,

As a chronic migraine sufferer, I know that headaches, especially of undetermined origin, are the worst! For a long period of time, up until a couple of years ago, I too had a headache all the time, every single day of my life. It is truly a miserable existance. What you didn't put in your post was any information about any type of pain medication you might be taking for your headache. Are you taking anything prescribed or over-the-counter on a daily or periodic basic for pain? Are there any medications that you take on a daily basis? It's really hard to get a complete picture of what you're dealing with without all the information. Dealing with "headaches" and "sinus" issues is very tricky because the pain can be located in the same physical location but be coming from two distinctly different causes.

Having dealt with my migraines for thirty-seven years, since I was eight-years-old, I've seen just about all the research on every kind of headache and treatment that exists. I'm also pretty well versed in sinus-related issues. If you want to list off what you've given a try or what you are currently taking, I might be able to give you some insight.

I have to see one of those every two to three weeks at the local walk-in clinic. I have a bad back, so I can't sleep more than a couple of hours at a time without severe back pain. So, if I get a bad migraine, I have to get a shot of Phenergan(which knocks me out) and Nubain(a mild narcotic) to relieve my BACK PAIN long enough for me to sleep several hours. The problem with the DR is that he thinks that I'm taking the narcotic for the "migraine," which isn't the case, but he has yet to give me enough time to explain my history to him. When I come in, he doesn't even examine me, and he's walked out on me while I was talking to him more than once. He just asks me if my headache is the same, writes up the order for the shot and rubber-stamps me like I'm not even a person. He thinks I'm just a "drug seeker", which is just stupid, cuz let me tell you, a shot of Nubain would be NEVER BE worth putting up with his crap for without the PHENERGAN, which NOBODY would ever accuse me of seeking. I swear I'd get him fired if I thought I could do it.

I'm feelin' ya Girlfriend!
[img]/community/emoticons/scool.gif[/img] Leigh Ann

I have edited a sentence in your post Leigh Ann. Due to this being a public forum we never know the ages of individuals reading here and we need to be careful with our language. Thanks.

Post Edited By Moderator (straydog) : 3/9/2011 2:25:00 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4970
   Posted 3/9/2011 1:23 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the replies.


Current Medications for Sinus Infection:

Flonase Spray BID

Saline or baby shampoo sinus wash

Astepro 0.15% spray BID

Bactroban sinus spray BID

Diflucan every other day – stopped 3/8/11

I think I'll just stop all of them for a while.


 I think the Flonase just doesn't get far enough in and doesn't work long enough.  The ENT had me try Prednisone 20 mg last year, but that gave me a gosh awful headache on top of the one I already had.
Antibiotics Tried, Didn’t Work, for Sinus Infection:   Amoxicillin, Bactrim, clindamycin    All seemed to help briefly - maybe 3 days.
Medical Conditions: Heart attack 2006 – LAD stent; Circumflex stent 2007;
Post Polio – weak swallowing, cough reflex
Breast IDC 1.1cm 2009 lumpectomy
Diverticulosis; abscess 2010
Vasovagal syncope when supine
Food, medicine allergies, intolerances, especially sulfites
Spinal arthritis, kyphosis, scoliosis, lordosis,
Degenerating disks, spondylosis, arthropathy
Extraforaminal protrusions, annular tears
Radiculopathy L5, S1, herniated disc L3-L4
Cervical foraminal narrowing
Left ankle pronates (orthotics)
Cataracts, macular drusen
Slipping ribs, deviated nasal septum, headaches, sinus infections 
Knee arthroscopy torn left knee cartilage 2010
Toupet fundoplication 2009 → vegetable intolerance and vitamin K deficiency
Trigger fingers – surgery 2010
Right shoulder bursitis, tendonitis
I also take a few vitamins, a little fiber. 

All I tolerate for pain is tramadol, and not that much either - 50mg TID, 100mg ER at night.  I get serotonin syndrome if I take too much or most anything with it.  I take Ambien at night.  I took a Vicodin, which I never take except after surgery (different type of pain) last night because the pain was so bad the Ambien wasn't enough.  I have a whole page of med intolerances, in small print, that I've recorded over the last 4 years.

I'm sulfite intolerant, but seem to be able to handle Bactrim OK. 

I just got an appointment with a neurologist for next month, have to get the CT scans (showing open sinus drainage from a year and two years ago) faxed to him.  They do show swelling! I've put up with the pain for 2 years, so another month isn't bad.  I'm positive the headaches are related to the wreck.  I had a broken nose, deviated septum, cut over eyebrow, lots of bruising - all from airbag!  The seatbelt did a lot of damage too, but I can only take care of one pain at a time.  Monday was spin injection day again, after not having them for a year.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 3/9/2011 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
    Dear Alcie , I'm really sorry you are being treated so disrespectfully , it really sounds terrible , and to be treated like that on top of suffering from your pain makes it twice as rough , again I'm so sorry . I'm glad you come to the family to vent and get it out , you are cared about here and we know how you feel , please try to endure as best you can , you are worth it . Its so tough to wait in pain only to finally see someone who is un-professional or un-caring , don't they realize how much that effects someone ? I guess they don't care , thankfully the family here does , my prayers are with you Alcie , I hope you feel better very soon .   Mikel

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4970
   Posted 3/10/2011 8:13 AM (GMT -6)   
So yesterday I stopped ALL the sinus remedies, and I'm no worse, except for nosebleeding, but no better this morning either. Frontal headache's the same at about 5-6. Nose is dripping. Pink mask across cheeks and nose the same as the last week - which indicates inflammation. It's work to get a decent breath in through the swollen nasal tissues, but steroid spray only helps for a few minutes. I don't tolerate Prednisone.

I'm not angry with the ENT, only disappointed. My doctors actually do care, but I don't have interesting enough conditions (see post above), especially for surgeons, for them to keep suggesting treatments. Of course there was the surgeon who wanted to gut me like a fish and take out a foot of sigmoid colon when I had a first bout of diverticulitis. I knew enough about that to say NO! IV antibiotics fixed the abscess. My allergist took the most interest in the sinus problem, but the sinus rinses and Diflucan were not a cure. My PCP prescribes antibiotics and pain meds if I need them. My pain doc doesn't deal with headaches but has prescribed everything imaginable for the fibro, but I haven't tolerated anything except tramadol in low doses. He does work with my back pain. The 4 muscle injections he did Tuesday along the opposite side of my spine when he was injecting my L2/L3 spine for the sciatica, have worked where I didn't expect anything at all. He suspected muscle spasms. He's right, and I've had relief with Valium from those spasms, but he's worried that I will get addicted from even an occasional 2 mg, so I stopped that to please him.

Isn't there some procedure for cleaning out sinuses, rinsing them with antibiotics? I can't get the mixes I've tried, even netti pot style, up there far enough or long enough to work.

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 3/10/2011 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   


    WOW Alice! You have quite a long list of problems there! shocked

           I sure don't have any answers, but just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're having so much trouble.

    I have always wanted to try the "Netti Pot" nasal cleaner. The closest I have gotten to that, is accidently running water up my nose from a drinking fountian. It took me by surprise, and I thought I was going to drowned, but actually it was a pleasent experience. wink


      I wish you luck in the future with you're specialist as they continue to seek a solution to your nasal problems.

 SE wink       

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 3/10/2011 9:54 AM (GMT -6)   


  Dear Alcie,

    I sorry to hear of all your troubles! I too get recurring sinus infections. It is normal for me. I was born with a deviated septum. It is completely blocked. I have had many offers to get the surgical procedure done to repair it. I just don't see the use. It has been like this my whole life. I cannot take nasal sprays because in variably a piece of booger will harden behind my deviated septum and of course you know what comes next... the ball gets larger, then it becomes tender, then of course! Infection time because there is no way to removed the infected "ball" until I can get down to the ENT to remove it for me and treat the subsequent infection with antibiotics. I just don't use nasal remedies any longer. They are designed to dry you out so that you can breathe, but when it "hardens" the "boogers" the problems begin. I have no way to pass the hardened balls out of the effected nostril.

    I use an infant "sucker" to clean out that nostril while in the shower. If it gets bad during the day I boil some water with salt, put it in a bowl. Place my head over the bowl with a towel over my head and sides of bowl. Then I use the infant nostril cleaner. As for in office procedure to clear sinuses.... my ENT uses a humid mist coming out of a machine. It has a steroid of some sort and another type of antibiotic mixed in. He places it in my nostril (pushing the septum aside to get inside the nostril) and releases the "medicated mist" in little spurts. It makes me sneeze terribly but does the trick. He removes any excess from back there. He fully cleans behind my deviated septum nostril. I am not sure if that is what you are thinking of though....

     I hope you are able to get some help with it all. 


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Chronic Pain Moderator

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4970
   Posted 3/10/2011 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Dani -
The "medicated mist" sounds like just the trick. I wonder why the ENT didn't say anything. I complained that I didn't think I was getting the antibiotics into the sinuses, especially the frontal one. You can feel where the salt water is going when you do a sinus rinse. It isn't all that far!

The ENT mentioned something about the new findings of a chronic plaque in constantly infected sinuses, but he didn't know much about it. I was really dissapointed that he was not up-to-date. I'm just a patient and I've at least read about it! I even said to him that I read that the way to get rid of it is to get antibiotic onto it.

I can breathe through both nostrils, just not easily through either of them, and they swell up all the time since the septum got smashed this last time. I've been using all the tricks to keep the sinus drainage liquid, never drying antihistamines except for a brief try of Astepro. I use Ayr gel when the nose is dry, have 2 humidifiers on my furnaces.

Nothing is working and I stopped everything. My nose is really sore today and the headache is constant pressure in my forehead. When I figure there is something to culture I'll get it done, even if I have to go to an ER and pay the lousy $50 and sit for hours waiting to be seen. Actually I can get my PCP to do something simple like that any time. All I have to do is make the 95 mile round trip in my 13 mile/gal 3/4 ton pickup. (My other car's an old Ford tractor.) But what's another antibiotic pill going to do? It's not going to get inside the sinuses! I'll have to look up the mist idea and take it with me to ____________??? I don't think the ENT will even look at it, and a neurologist surely won't.

If I were you I'd have the surgery. I'd have the surgery if it would cure me too.
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