Monday, August 20, 2012

Sinusitis and earache

Can sinusitis cause earache? Yes!
Sinusitis and earache are associated.  The pain in ear due to sinusitis is called referred pain (or the pain of nonotogenic origin). So take good care of your sinuses. The sinus infection may cause earache in many ways, such as

  • Diseased structures around ear may lead to pain in the ear. The paranasal sinuses are not very far from the ear. The Eustachian tubes, located near the nasopharynx, connect ears to the rear of the nose. The tubes maintain pressure balance between the nose and the ears, and the ears and constantly changing outside atmosphere.

  • The infected fluids draining off from the sinuses may lead to ear infection and thereby cause earache.
  • Some nerves supply to both the sinuses and ear structures, so the sinus infections can travel to the ear and vice versa.

  • In fact, sinusitis is a major cause of otitis media, the infection and pain involving the middle ear. The otitis infection, one of the most common causes of earache, could be viral or bacterial.
  • Sinus infections may cause tinnitus, ringing or noise in the ears. The infections even lead to loss of hearing.

  • Chronic sinusitis may lead to ear pain.
  • Otalgia means pain in ear. Primary otalgia is the pain originating within the ear whereas the pain originating outside the ear is called referred otalgia. Sinogenic referred pain due to allergy and sinusitis can lead to referred otalgia. This pain is accompanied by tenderness over maxillary sinus and nasal congestion.  To find the source of the referred otalgia, a physician examines all the nerves supplying to the ear, as irritation of the nerves and their branches may lead to earache. Thorough examination of the throat, nose, ear, eye and head is also necessary to treat the otalgia.

Treat both otitis media and sinusitis, and earache will resolve on its own. Analgesics, antimicrobials (amoxicillin, cefpodoxime…) and topical agents are used for the treatment of otitis media. In case of frequent occurrence of the ear infection, tympanostomy tubes are inserted into the eardrum to drain the fluids.
Change in diet may also help in healing the otitis media. For instance, do not consume soy, dairy items, eggs, citrus and other allergenic foods. Herbal eardrops and ear oils reduce fluid accumulation, pain and infection. Monkshood, Indian tobacco and St. John’s wort oils are generally used for the infection treatment. Cleavers, coneflower, eyebright, elderberry and marigold herbs facilitate the healing process. However, do consult your physician before starting treatment.

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