Identifying a Sluder’s Neuralgia, or Contact Point Headache

Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA

There are many different causes and types of headaches. Many people are familiar with sinus headaches that cause pain and pressure. There is another, less well known type of headache called Sluder’s Syndrome, Sluder’s neuralgia, or “Contact Point” Headache.

This type of headache is very similar to a “cluster” headache, where pain occurs over one part of the face, often around the cheek, eye, or nose. It’s usually described as a sharp, shooting, stabbing pain and generally not as pressure. This type of headache is thought to be caused by an anatomic problem, a pinched nerve. Basically, a nerve is being compressed between two different structures in the nose, often a spur coming off the nasal septum and one of the turbinates.

Because this is an anatomic problem, no medicine can really help. These headaches can be very difficult to diagnose and sometimes, patients can go for years and see many different doctors without finding relief. However, surgery can help bring relief from these types of headaches.

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If you’re interested in learning more about allergy and sinus treatment options from Dr. Franzese and her team of specialists please call her office directly at (757) 889-5632.

About Dr. Franzese
Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA, is a board certified otolaryngologist. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Franzese’s specialties include: allergies and allergy shots, sinus problems (acute and chronic), mild asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid masses or nodules, salivary gland disorders and nodules, and pediatric ENT issues (ear infections, tonsillitis). She has surgical expertise with removing tonsils and adenoids, thyroidectomies, parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, and has extensive experience with sinus surgeries. She offers functional endoscopic sinus surgery, image-guided sinus surgery, and balloon sinuplasty procedures.

5 thoughts on “Identifying a Sluder’s Neuralgia, or Contact Point Headache

  1. sydney chabvamuperu

    I am a patient. I have this sensational pain above the left eye. This pain is affecting the left eye into the left ear. The pain in left ear is spreading to the right ear. Further pain is coming down to the nose whereby I feel like I have sinus problems, yet a ct scan reveals the opposite. From the nose, pain goes into throat creating pain like I have mumbs. Finally the pain goes down the left of the neck, down the left shoulder and down the left arm to the hand causing numbness and pain.

    Please confirm this SLUDER’S Neuralgia and advise what treatment there is for this ailment.

    1. Dr. Christine Franzese


      Without a physical examination it’s impossible to confirm that you have Sluder’s Neuralgia. To know for sure, you need a physical examination and evaluation by a ENT specialist. A doctor will be able to see if there is a contact point that may be causing problems. After an evaluation by a ENT, you can start pursuing a treatment option!

      – Dr. Franzese

  2. Stephanie McCulloch

    Dr. Franzese,
    I love your photo of the septal spur. I just had a CT scan done and confirmed Sluder’s Syndrome. The
    spur was present along with all of the symptoms. I had continually believed that I had ear infections
    along with sinusitus. Since I have migraines, it was difficult for me to understand where my pain was
    originating. I am going to schedule surgery soon.

    By the way, I work at the VA. It is great to see to
    doing such meaningful work.


    1. Dr. Christine Franzese


      Thanks so much for the kind words, I’m glad you found this photo helpful. I hope your surgery goes well!

      Dr. Franzese

  3. Natalya Archuleta

    Dr. Franzese
    I am a graduate student(medical field) and have been living with unilateral sinus/periorbital pain for 3 year now. I had all the work up (blood work, CT, MRI +/- contrast, MRA), I tried numerous medication and even had FESS – no relief! I don’t think anyone thought of Sluder’s neuralgia although I keep saying to my ENT it’s contact point pain, very localized and I can eliminated it (temporary) with high dose Sudafed and a Q-tip with Flonase directly applied to the pain location (which I can access and feel the tissue connected there and then , when I don’t have pain, there is a space in between). I wish my ENT had a camera connected to his endoscope so I can show him where it hurts. Dr. Franzese, I would like to be your patient and pay out of pocket because I need a relief from this pain regardless of cost. I live in NYC, and you’d think I should be able to find someone who knows Sluder’s neuralgia, but after 3 ENT’s I am desperate. Can you advise what I should do next? Please, help.

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