Study: 34 of 100 chronic headache patients have Eagle

I just found an Iraqi study on the prevalence of Eagle Syndrome among patients with severe chronic headache and migraine. The results are illuminating. I’ll just put the link in here and summarise the most important findings:

  1. Of 100 patients with severe headache, the 3D pictures showed that 34 had problems with the styloid process. 7 had an elongated styloid process and 27 had a fractured styloid process (the latter is considered to be a pretty rare occurence), unilaterally or bilaterally.

  2. The study was conducted using 3D-CT, which is considered to be superior to different diagnostic tools. This complies with the experience people shared in this forum.

  3. Eagle Syndrome was the most frequent cause for chronic headache (34%), followed by cervical vertebra pain (22%), TMJ pain (8%), ENT pain (9%), and other causes of craniofacial pain (27%).

  4. “The syndrome of all patients isolated by brain trauma CT scan multi-detectors
    with increase the FOV downward then treated by injection of local anesthesia and corticosteroid. 85% of them got remission.” Not sure whether I understand this correctly: It might mean that either all patients or just patients suffering from Eagle got local anesthesia and corticosteroid. Either way, 85% experienced allevation of pain.

I consider this to be crucial. Lots of patients with chronic headaches could be helped if doctors understood how to properly diagnose Eagle syndrome. Whether you have an elongated styloid process, calcified ligaments, a styloid process in a bad angle or even a fractured styloid process - via 3D-CT it is fairly easy to diagnose Eagle Syndrome and subsequently help patients with adequate measures (whether conservatively or surgically). Especially the frequency of fractured styloid processes in this study is shocking: After all, it is a broken bone, and none of these patients got this diagnosis before. I’d assume most of them saw lots of doctors before they took part in this study since chronic headaches aren’t a condition one takes lightly. It just wears you down.

It is important to raise awareness of this, which is why this forum is great. I could go on for longer, but staring at my laptop for too long intensifies my headache.

Thanks for reading!

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That’s really interesting, Michael, thanks for sharing it! I’ve not had a chance to look for any new studies recently. Headaches/ migraines get mentioned quite a bit, doctors don’t seem to connect this to ES as you said, so it’s good to have some ‘proof’!
The fractured SP is interesting too- I would say that it’s possibly not that rare, as we have seen quite a few members here who have had that happen to them… & even would you believe, some doctors who have fractured the SP to ‘treat’ patients & left the bits there inside!!

Hi Jules, your last sentence is shocking. How on earth should fracturing a dysfunctioning structure in your body solve the problem? That’s like a doc treating a broken leg by jumping right on it. Madness.

I know, how they thought leaving pieces of bone moving around wouldn’t cause pain and irritation is betond me, but it did happen. I think that there’s a huge ignorance about ES & what the styloid processes actually are so it leads to this sort of thing- alot of doctors don’t understand that the SP’s are actually bony processes & think they’re cartillage…

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Madness, madness, madness. That leaves me utterly speechless. There’s no other bone in the human body that doctors deliberately break to “treat” the pain, is there? How could one actually assume this works? Too many oral surgeons lack common sense, obviously.