NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Ongoing sinus inflammation, also called chronic sinusitis, may be at least partly to blame for the aches and pains in older adults, according to research reported today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation in Chicago.

The research also shows that endoscopic sinus surgery to clear clogged sinuses can bring significant pain relief.

Dr. Alexander C. Chester of Georgetown University Medical Center and colleagues analyzed data from 10 studies (909 patients), which included a general, health-related quality-of-life survey with a separate evaluation of body pain before and after sinus surgery.

“We found that the daily experience of bodily pain was much more common in patients with sinusitis than in the overall population,” Chester noted in a written statement. The results also suggest that many patients with sinusitis have aches and pains similar in severity to people in their 80s and those with arthritis or depression.

In most of the analyzed studies, there was a marked reduction in body pain following sinus surgery. “Having data showing that pain will improve after sinus surgery is particularly helpful when considering the merits of undergoing surgery when medications fail,” Chester said.

“Bodily pain,” Chester added, “is not listed as a symptom of chronic sinusitis in general medical texts or journals and as a result, patients are sometimes diagnosed with unrelated conditions such as arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Unfortunately, this leaves too many people unaware of treatments for sinusitis that can improve their overall condition.”

“Confirmation that aches and pains occur with sinus disease,” Chester continued, should come as a “relief to many patients who thought they had two separate illnesses.”

According to Chester, more than 200,000 endoscopic sinus surgeries are performed each year in the United States using a technique considered less invasive and much safer than older methods.