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What Is the Treatment for Eagle Syndrome?

A doctor may prescribe pain medications and antidepressants for people with Eagle syndrome.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2014
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Eagle syndrome is a relatively rare medical disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms, including facial pain, sore throat, and ringing in the ears. Treatment for Eagle syndrome is typically focused on managing individual symptoms and may include the use of prescription medications, steroid injections, or surgery. Some patients may find that chiropractic care helps to relieve some of the discomfort caused by this condition. Any specific questions or concerns about the most appropriate treatment options for Eagle syndrome in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Characterized by an abnormally elongated styloid process, a bony protrusion of the skull located just beneath the ear, Eagle syndrome can cause varying degrees of pain or discomfort to the patient. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may provide sufficient relief for those who experience mild levels of discomfort. Stronger pain medications may be prescribed if over-the-counter medications are not successful at relieving the pain associated with this condition. In the more extreme cases, steroid injections may be given periodically in an effort to reduce pain and inflammation.

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Anticonvulsants are medications that are traditionally used to treat seizure disorders, although some patients with Eagle syndrome may also benefit from the use of this type of medication. Studies have indicated that some anticonvulsants may relieve pain associated with neurological conditions. In some cases, the excess bone found in the skull of those with Eagle syndrome may press on surrounding nerves, often causing extreme facial pain or difficulty swallowing. These symptoms may be eased by the use of some anti-seizure medications.

Antidepressants are sometimes used to treat those with Eagle syndrome. Living with chronic pain can lead to depression, although this is not the only reason these medications may be prescribed. Some antidepressants have been shown to have pain-relieving effects, especially when combined with other medications. These drugs may also promote sleep for those who suffer from insomnia due to high pain levels.

Patients with Eagle syndrome who have not been able to obtain adequate symptom relief from other methods of treatment may require surgical intervention. A procedure known as a styloidectomy involves removal of the styloid process and is generally considered to be the most effective treatment option for those with this condition. Most patients experience a full recovery following this procedure, although there are potential risks such as infection or damage to the nerves or surrounding tissues.

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