Headaches is classified as primary and secondary, with secondary originating in head and neck conditions, the most important etiology being acute sinusitis. Headache due to mucosal contact, rarely encountered by otorhinolaryngologists, is an important secondary headache, whose criteria are defined by the International Classification of Headache Disorders to include intermittent pain localized in the periorbital and medial canthal or temporozygomatic regions, evidence that pain is attributable to mucosal contact and the presence of mucosal contact in the absence of acute rhinosinusitis, obtained using clinical examinations, nasal endoscopy, and/or computed tomography (CT). After mucosal contact is surgically corrected pain usually disappears permanently within 7 days. We reviewed mucosal contact headaches in 63 subjects undergoing nasal or paranasal surgery from April 2007 to March 2008. Of those 7 were diagnosed with headaches due to contact points in nasal mucosa, ranging from canthal to the temporozygomatic. The most common contact, between the middle turbinate and nasal septum, was seen in 6 of the 7. Surgery eliminated symptoms in 4 and ameliorated them in 3 indicating effective headache management. Subjects with severe headaches or localized periorbital and medial canthal pain regions, mucosal contact involvement is ruled out when CT allows no lesions. When mucosal contact headache is suspected, however surgery should be considered as a last resort.
- Mucosal contact
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