Considering Pursuing ES Diagnosis

I started having persistent ear pain after a 2 week stint with the flu. This was last fall, 2018. Since then the ear pain has been intermittent and I’ve also experienced other symptoms such as feeling tightness in my throat and feeling like something is stuck in my throat. I do have headaches and intermittent jaw pain. Recently I have been dealing with persistent sore throat and ear pain triggered by swallowing. Haven’t found relief from this and it’s been almost 4 weeks. I live in New Mexico and am not aware of any ENT’s familiar with ES and am looking for support to see if anyone else has experienced these symptoms and if I should continue to pursue a possible diagnosis or if people think it might be something else. Thanks so much.

The feeling of something stuck in your throat is a common ES symptom, can be down to other things, but is certainly the most well known one. Sore throat, jaw & ear pain are common too, as are headaches. There’s explanations for what can cause the symptoms in the Newbies Guide section. We can’t say that it’s definitely ES, but it’s worth looking at getting a CT scan done of your head & neck & get it evaluated for ES . If the styloid processes are long & / or the stylohyoid ligaments are calcified then as you have symptoms that would mean you have ES. I don’t know if your PCP would be able to order you a CT, or whether you would have to get a referral to an ENT first, but it’s worth getting a CT to see what’s going on.


I second everything Jules said. Getting the CT scan ordered & done will be a giant step toward helping w/ a diagnosis.

Thank you so much you guys. I am seeing an ENT on Tuesday

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alyssazen -

If you get put off by the ENT you see, I recommend a trip to Phoenix, AZ to see Dr. John Milligan. He’s done more than 300 ES surgeries so is very well acquainted with what is required to help ES patients. I do hope, however, that you’re able to find help in your home state.

If the doctor you see is willing to do ES surgery, make sure you ask which approach (s)he uses - 1) intraoral or external, in bilateral cases, are both sides done at once or separately (we advocate 2 surgeries for bilateral), 2) is the hospital or outpatient surgery center used 3) how much styloid is removed (to the skull base is best) & if some is left, is the tip smoothed off, 4) is the s-h ligament is also removed, 5) are steroids given post op or is a drain tube put in to help reduce swelling, 6) what to expect post op i.e. recovery time (doctors usually err on the short end here), possible post op pain, etc.