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Eagle Syndrome - Online Support Group

Should I Pursue an ES Diagnosis

Hello All,

I’m new to the community and this is my first post. I’d like to start out by giving some general info on myself.

I have health anxiety and I would even specify it to the point of calling it a “cancer-phobia”. If you or anyone you know has had health anxieties you know how random and silly it can be:

“Ow, my elbow hurts…I’m probably dying with elbow cancer.”

That is to say, I know I am hyper aware of any sensations in my body and I am quick to assume the worst with them if I can’t explain them away by any obvious means.

Three or four years ago I had my first bout of Globus sensation in the right side of my throat. I immediately became worried I had some sort of throat cancer. My Family doctor examined me, said it was most likely globus and had nothing to worry about. Had a physical and lab work done and everything came back great. I’m mid thirties and don’t smoke. I drink moderately. Went to an ENT and had the scope done that goes up the nose and down the throat. He found nothing except some irritation on the right side of the throat that he chalked up to reflux. I have a hiatal hernia and I do suffer with GERD, however, I take Dexilant for that and it works quite well. The globus sensation comes and goes which did have me believing that maybe the cause of it was post basal drip as I do battle with seasonal allergies. One symptom I was having along with the feeling of a “lump in the throat” however, was an occasional strained or spasm feeling in that side of the throat. Only momentarily and sporadically, but enough for me to notice. It never felt like a sore throat like being sick, just the lump in throat and those random “twinges”.

I chalked those symptoms up to being weird allergy symptoms, especially since they would come and go and didn’t appear to be anything sinister at this point.

Now for the past several months I’ve had several symptoms that have had me worrying and trying to understand what is going on with my body. Again, my immediate fear becomes cancer, even though I don’t have any risk factors and none of the symptoms seem to be any type of major signifier for throat or neck cancer. In searching my symptoms on Dr Google I did come across Eagle Syndrome and eventually this website.

So here are all the symptoms I have been having the past year/several months. Some of these I did not connect together has having a common source but after reviewing this site I now see that that is a possibility:

Intermittent Globus sensation in RH throat

Occasional twinge of a spasm/strain/something poking in RH throat

Occasional pain in rh front collarbone.

Occasional pain (not ongoing) in RH ear

Many days the RH side of my neck is stiff upon waking up. Sometimes it’s relieved with stretching side to side, sometimes if I stretch far enough I get a loud POP and feel a great deal of relief. Other days it stays sore and stiff throughout the day.

The RH back of neck that meets at the skull gets very achy and tight some days.

When I rotate my head around my shoulders counter-clockwise there’s a popping sound at one point in the rotation that clicks 90% of the time I do it.

Some days I have a feeling of fullness under my RH jaw.

Some days it feels tender and achy underneath the Rh jawline/ RH front of neck.

It is often most sensitive or painful behind the angle of the jaw beneath the ear. Most other pains I’ve described have been more of a dull ache. This pain in this area is more sensitive to touch and is more like an electrical/burning pain.

Some times the span from underneath the ear going to the back of the neck aches.

I have low grade to moderate headaches on the Rh side temple area, forehead area, or top of head, but nothing so intense that I would worry about on its own.

Some times the ache and pain can move down into my right shoulder/shoulder blade.

I would like to know if this list of symptoms sound like enough for me to reasonably investigate ES as a possible culprit. I understand ES is kind of rare and I also realize I may just have a couple of more common problems such as allergies/muscle tension/etc that may just be happening to affect the same area of my body.

I do want to clarify that I feel fortunate as none of these symptoms are debilitating. Mostly because of my anxiety nature, I feel a nagging sensation of just wanting to know why I’m feeling all the things that I am feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I would appreciate if my symptoms were all gone, but currently, I could deal more or less with symptoms if I just felt like I understood what the source of it was. I’m about to start a more intensive round of allergy medicines to see if that helps. I am also looking into seeing a chiropractor to see if that can help with my neck.

If you made it this far down, thanks so much for listening to my long story and ramblings. And thanks so much for such a wonderful community. Just reading these posts have made me feel so much more grounded just knowing other people have dealt with similar symptoms, regardless if it turns out to be the same diagnosis.

Any thoughts?

Hello, Im fairly new here myself but my pains in neck,throat, ear,skull, etc started off in a minor way increasing over time (5 years) to become severe. My first pain flair back in 2015, I went to an ENT complaining of severe pain and shooting pain originating from what felt “like a bone in my throat”. MRI’s were done with no findings and I was sent on my way. After serve severe bouts and past 2 years of a variety of injections, I was send to a neurologist for more targeted injections. IN December he mentioned the symptoms appeared to match with ES. I had never heard of Eagles before that. Coming here helped direct me to my ultimate diagnosis of ES and I am now scheduled for surgery. Because I learned the ultimate tool for diagnosing, I had my PCP order a CT scan which confirmed elongated stylus and calcifications.I then went to a doctor recommended from the list here for further review. I will share that the doctor I saw made it very clear he could not explain all my symptoms or promise all of them would go away after surgery. I have had neck issues for several decades and seen chiropractors, PT, OT you name it to try and address neck issues. Its only helped me manage and lower my pain levels. I suspect this has been brewing for some time. I do have radiating pain sometimes down to shoulder. I really wont know until after surgery how much of my issues are from Eagles. I do suspect I have some neck instability too that does not help. I am hoping for the best but realistic about the possible outcomes. I am in so much pain, I am desperate to find relief and am willing to consider the risks of surgery to hopefully get relief.
Although your symptoms can be from ES, ultimately you need a physician to order a CT Scan without contrast specifically for the purpose of diagnosing or looking for Eagles Syndrome. You would then need a doctor specialized or with experience to confirm diagnosis. Until that is done, you will be going down a rabbit hole. I hope that helps.

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I agree that your symptoms could be down to ES…as Snapple says, a CT will show the styloids. You would need to ask that it’s evaluated for ES; so the head & neck down to the hyoid bone are looked at, that they measure the styloid processes & look at the width & angle, & that they look for any calcification on the stylohyoid ligaments. It’s amazing how many radiologists are unaware of ES & don’t evaluate the scans properly! Whether your family doctor can request a CT or whether you’d need a referral to ENT I don’t know- I’m UK, so we have a different system here.
If the styloid processes are elongated, injections of lidocaine/ steroids into the area can help with pain/ inflammation, but the only ‘cure’ is surgery. However, there are risks with that, so if you’re not in too much pain it may be that you decide to live with things as they are. the symptoms can worsen, or flare from time to time, but not everyone decides to have surgery. It’s something to bear in mind depending on your diagnosis.
I would also advise you to think very carefully about seeing a chiropractor- some members have been helped by them, but if a chiropractor is unaware of ES it’s possible they could do more damage. (One of the very experienced ES surgeons recently advised a member not to see a chiropractor)
I hope that you get answers to put your mind at rest…

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Thank you both so much for your responses. I did go ahead and schedule an appointment with an ENT in about two weeks. I’m gonna push for a CT to either confirm or rule out this diagnosis (or anything more sinister for my anxiety’s sake). No need in constantly sitting around worrying and wondering. I will try to keep my post updated with what I find out.

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