September 7, 2018

What Causes a Sinus Headache?

Headache is probably one of the most annoying symptoms. There are various types of headaches caused by stress or underlying medical conditions. Some people develop sinus headaches affecting the area around the nose. Sinus headaches are usually a result of an infection or persisting allergies.


Sinuses or paranasal sinuses are a group of four paired air cavities in the bones of the face, especially around the nose. The function of the sinuses in the body is not completely understood. Some scientists suppose that they make the skull lighter, keep the heat in the head, and make the voice of a person louder.

Depending on the cause of a sinus headache, treatment options may vary. The treatment usually targets the underlying condition. If you experience a mild headache, you will likely be able to treat the symptoms at home. The main symptom of a sinus headache is the pain in the sinuses.

What Are the Symptoms of a Sinus Headache?


A mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity is similar to the lining of the sinuses. In case of an allergy or infection, this membrane can swell up, which causes a sinus headache.

Painful feeling may affect the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, or the area above the nose. Some people experience swelling of these areas. You can develop a sinus headache on one or both sides of the face.

Sinus headache is a common symptom of sinusitis, or sinus infection. Additional symptoms of sinusitis may include fever, decreased sense of smell, a stuffy nose, green or yellow mucus when blowing the nose.

According to some patients, the pain may get worse when coughing or leaning over.

How to Treat a Sinus Headache?


In case of a mild sinus headache, the symptoms can be managed at home. All you have to do is to take a painkiller, drink a lot of fluids, and rest.

However, if your sinus headache causes severe pain, you will most likely need to visit a doctor. You should also consult with your doctor, if the pain becomes worse, if the symptoms persist for more than a week, or if painkillers don’t seem to help.

In order to make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask some questions related to your symptoms, your medical history, and perform examination of your head, nose, and face. In some cases, you may need undergo an X-ray examination or MRI scan.

When a sinus headache is a result of sinusitis, you may need to treat the condition with antibiotics or decongestants. Make sure to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist, if your sinusitis last for 3 months or more, or if a sinus headache tends to return.

If the underlying cause is an allergy, the symptoms can be reduced by an antihistamine or steroid nasal spray.

When medication doesn’t help, a patient may require a surgery to widen the sinuses. During the surgery, the specialist removes a little bit of tissue from the sinuses or widens the sinus passages by inflating a sinus balloon device.

What Are the Home Remedies for a Sinus Headache?


A sinus headache induced by sinusitis can also be reduced by home remedies. However, home treatments are usually effective against mild symptoms. If the pain is severe or lasts for more than a week, home remedies may not help.

Thus, breathing in steam can help to reduce pain and pressure by opening the nasal and sinus passages. If you want to try this method, boil some water and leave it to cool down a little bit. Pour the water into a heatproof bowl or container. Lean your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Keep breathing slowly through the nose.

You can also try cleaning your nose with salt water. A salt water solution can work as a decongestant. To prepare the solution, you should boil some water and make sure it cools a little bit. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the water. Then, pour the solution into your cupped palm and sniff the water into your nostril, one at a time. Make sure your hands are clean and disinfected. Repeat the procedure until your nose clears up.

The pain and pressure can also be relieved, if you place a warm washcloth to the face. To do so, take a clean washcloth and put it into hot water and wring out. Apply the washcloth across the bridge of your nose and cheeks. Hold it on your face for several minutes. You may need to repeat the procedure a few times a day.

What’s the Difference Between a Sinus Headache and Migraine?


According to research, people suffering from migraine often mistake their symptoms for a sinus headache.

In fact, there are some symptoms associated with both conditions, including: pressure in the face and forehead, pain that gets worse when you move your head, and nasal congestion.

It is important to identify the cause of your symptoms, in order to determine the right treatment. If your headache lasts for more than a week and antibiotics don’t seem to help, you most likely have a migraine.

If you have a migraine, you may also experience additional symptoms, such as light sensitivity, nausea, and a pulsing headache. These symptoms are not typical for a sinus headache.

Can Allergies Cause a Headache?


Hay fever and other types of allergies can sometimes cause headaches. Allergy-induced headache is similar to a sinus headache, as it affects the same area of the face.

A headache caused by allergies is a result of congested or inflamed nose – a common allergy symptom. Additional symptoms affecting people with allergies include: sneezing, red or watery eyes, as well as an itchy mouth and lips.

To reduce the symptoms of an allergy, you first need to determine the cause of an allergic reaction.

Besides, regular headaches can be caused by the use of medications. Thus, if you use too many painkillers or take them for a long period, you may experience regular headaches.

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