Sinus Headache - Treatments, Symptoms, Causes, and Home Remedies
Sinus Headache – Technically speaking, our sinuses are actually called paranasal sinuses. They are air-filled spaces located in our forehead, cheekbones and behind the bridge of our noses. The word sinus is actually Latin for “pocket.”
Our sinuses produce a thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. When a sinus becomes inflamed (usually as the result of an allergic reaction, an infection or a tumor) the outflow of mucus is prevented which causes inflammation and pain similar to that of a headache.
What Do Our Sinuses Do?
Scientists continue to debate the biological role of our sinuses. It is thought that our sinuses may increase the resonance of our voices, provide a buffer against blows to our faces, and insulate sensitive structures like our dental roots and our eyes from rapid temperature changes in our nasal cavities. It is also theorized that our sinuses may be responsible for humidifying and heating the air we inhale, and that they serve to decrease the relative weight of the front of our skulls, especially the bones of our faces. Doctors say that the shape of our facial bones is important as a point of origin and insertion for the muscles of facial expression.
If you suffer from sinus headaches and are looking for sinus headache relief, there’s one important thing you need to know — and that is that most scientists say the headaches caused by our sinuses probably are the result of a condition called sinusitis. Our paranasal sinuses are joined to our nasal cavities by small orifices called ostia. These ostia are easily blocked by an allergic inflammation or by a swelling of our nasal linings. If this happens — for example, when we get a cold — the normal drainage of mucus within the sinuses is disrupted and we develop sinusitis.
Sinus Headache or Migraine?
If you suffer from constant headaches, you may be asking yourself, “Do I have a sinus headache or a migraine?” or “Do i have sinus headache behind eye ?”
The symptoms of migraine headaches are usually much more severe than those of sinus headaches. For example, nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound often accompany migraine headaches.
A migraine headache also often has a pulsating or throbbing quality as well as the severe pain — possibly on only one side of the head. For that matter, the pain of a migraine is often so intense; it can interfere with your daily activities and even become worse if you engage in a physical activity such as exercise.
On the other hand, sinus headaches feel different than migraines. The major symptoms of these headaches include a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead or bridge of your nose. Since these headaches are most often caused by sinusitis, they may be accompanied by other such symptoms as a nasal discharge, a feeling of fullness in your ears, fever and even facial swelling.
Symptoms of a Sinus Headache
Sinus headache symptoms are common when dealing with a sinus infection. However, there is often some confusion when it comes to sinus headache problems because there are some people who will think that they are simply experiencing a headache due to a sinus problem when it is really a migraine after all. One way to distinguish between a major headache that is due to sinus infections and one that is truly a migraine headache is that migraine headaches will often feel like you don’t have the energy or concentration to do anything at the time. On the other hand, sinus headache symptoms will feel very bad, but won’t feel like you are about to die!
If you are experiencing a sinus problem already, then some of the contributing factors to your sinus headache symptoms may include post nasal drip as well as nasal congestion.
Another major indication of sinus headache symptoms is where you feel the pain if you do have sinus problems. While migraines may typically spread the pain out everywhere throughout your head and even partially in your back area, sinus headaches will leave you with a localized are of pain. This pain is often complained about around the eye areas and throughout the nose. These are some of the major tell-tale signs of sinus headache symptoms.
Of course with your sinus problems you are also going to naturally experience fatigue, along with a possible fever. If your fever gets too high to be considered a simple sinus problem then you may need to visit your doctor or the emergency room, but a little fever is completely normal when dealing with a sinus problem. Accordingly, when you have sinus infections then you may feel lethargic and fatigued, which is also normal. But the most important thing to remember is that many of these symptoms, including the post nasal drip, fatigue, fever, and nasal congestion are common sinus headache symptoms and the trick is to find a solution to the problem before it gets too bad!
When You Should See Your Healthcare Provider for Sinus Headache Relief?
If you are experiencing symptoms of a sinus headache, be sure to see your healthcare provider. This is because only they can determine if your headache is truly being caused by a sinus blockage. To diagnose your headache, they will probably do a physical examination to determine if you do have a blockage in your sinuses and may also prescribe a CT scan or MRI.
The good news of a sinus headache – or sinusitis headache – is that it is relatively easy to find sinus headache relief. However, before you do this, you should know that there are other symptoms of a sinus headache
How to relieve sinus headache naturally?
Now the first question is do you really have a sinus headache? A lot of people who think they have sinus headaches actually have migraine headaches, the sinus headache ideally would be filled as a pressure sensation. In most of the cases people suffer with maxillary sinuses and frontal sinuses which are often just on one-side although it can be and it should come with symptoms of the sinus infection. Sinus headache symptoms have a runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat or maybe even fever in the absence of these symptoms were of a typical headache.
A lot of people who think they have sinus headaches actually have migraine headaches. If you have a classic sinus headache then you’ve probably already tried Tylenol or ibuprofen to relieve the symptoms. Tylenol or ibuprofen can squirt up in the nose and it will shrink the tissues inside the nose temporarily and usually the relief is temporary. The most important thing is you only want to give medicines for one or two days. Because as you get beyond 3 days of use them the tissues tend to swell right back up as soon as you stop using the medicine that’s called rebound swelling and it becomes very difficult to get all from the nose spray after those first few days.
Now, there is an even safer more natural alternative to this therapy and that’s a good one for the saltwater normal saline. Now you can make this saline water by taking a Cup of water and adding 0.5 teaspoon of salt to it. You might want to boil that water to make sure that it’s nice and clean and not contaminated and of course let it cool off again and then you can use either surrender device called a neti pot which looks kinda like a a genie lamp. Using netipot introduce the salt water up into the nasal cavities in washing mouth at all from bring some temporary relief of congestion and then have this pressure as well.
Doctor’s can prescribe often an anti allergy medicine using that in over a period of days or using medicine daily can’t reduce the swelling inside the nose and allow the sinuses to drain thus alleviating the pressure.
Sinus Headache Treatments
Many people who believe they have sinus headaches really are suffering from something else. In fact, one study showed that of 100 people who said they had sinus headaches, almost 90% actually appeared to have migraine headaches. Only a small minority — about 3%, actually had sinus headaches. This means that before you start any sinus headache treatments, you need to get an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis will ensure that you get the treatment you need for your sinus headaches.
See Your Healthcare Provider
You need to see your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis before you begin any sinus headache treatments. Most sinus headaches are caused by a condition called sinusitis but they can also be the result of something far more serious such as a weak immune system or a tumor.
If your healthcare provider does determine that you have sinus headaches caused by sinusitis, there are a number of treatments available.
Over-the-counter Pain Medications
The first and simplest answer is to try an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or acetaminophen (brand names such as Advil, Tylenol and Aleve). Be sure to read the directions for the use of any of these medications and follow them carefully. Also, you should not use any of these pain relievers for more than 10 days in a row unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
Decongestants For Sinus Headache Treatments
A second possible answer is to use a decongestant as these can help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus being produced. Again, be sure to follow the directions that come with the medication. You should not use nasal decongestant sprays for more than three consecutive days and oral decongestants for more than seven consecutive days, again unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
Two of the more popular over-the-counter decongestants available in pill form are Contac Non-drowsy® and Sudafed PE®. Both of these medications contain pseudoephedrine so you may have to talk to a pharmacist to buy one of these products.
Examples of decongestants available in spray or nose drop form include Afrin®, Sine-off®, Contac-D® and Sudafed®. Nasonex® and Lemsip Max Sinus® are other decongestant sprays that have as their active ingredient oxymetazoline instead of pseudoephedrine.
Another Alternative — Antihistamines
Some people have found that their sinus problems are caused by an allergy. If this is the case for you, you can find relief for your sinusitis — or sinus headaches — by using an antihistamine.
Histamine is an inflammatory chemical that can be released by your immune system cells because of an infection or allergy. Histamine signals your system to produce mucus in your nose and sinuses. Antihistamines block this signal, which reduces future mucus production. However, antihistamines will not get rid of any mucus you already have, as this is what decongestants are for.
There are many different antihistamines available. One of the most popular is the generic drug diphenhydramaine, which does not require a prescription. Claritin(® Alavert® and Zyrtec® are three brand name antihistamines also available over-the-counter.
Prescription Medications For Sinus Headache Treatments
If you have tried treating your sinus headaches with one or more of these over-the-counter medications without success, your doctor may write you a prescription for an antibiotic such as Amoxil, Cipro or Levaquin. Alternatively, your healthcare provider might prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray such as Flonase, Nasacort, Nasarel or Nasonex.
Treating Sinus Headaches As If They Were Migraines
Some otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) have had success treating sinus headaches as if they were migraines using prescription triptans. Tripans are a family of tryptamine-based drugs thought to work by constricting blood vessels in the brain. In one study, more than 80% of those treated with triptans found relief from their sinus headaches. Triptans that have been used to treat migraine headaches and that could be prescribed for sinus headaches include Sumatriptan (Imitrex), Rizatriptan (Maxalt) and Naratriptan (Amerge).
Supplements For Sinus Headache Treatments
There are natural supplements available that have helped some people with their sinus headaches. For example, there is Clear-Ease Sinus Relief Tablets, Aller-Max, Alacer Emergen-C, Activin Grape Seed Extract, Probiotics, Bromelain and Quercertin. Bromelain is based on an enzyme extracted from pineapple and Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid. Both Bromelain and Quercetin are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin has the added benefit of having antioxidant properties.
Finally, some sinus headaches sufferers have found relief through acupuncture treatments.
Sinus Headache Symptoms
Unfortunately for us, there are many different kinds of headaches that can cause severe pain. There are of course migraine headaches, but other types of headaches that can cause us pain are chronic daily headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. If you suffer from recurring headaches, and believe they may be sinus headaches, you can diagnose the headaches yourself — to some degree — simply by knowing the sinus headache symptoms.
The Most Common Symptoms Of A Sinus Headache
The most common symptoms of a sinus headache are a deep and intense pain behind your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose or forehead. The reason for this pain is because sinus headaches are usually caused by a condition called sinusitis. Sinusitis can occur when the mucus that normally drains from your sinuses is disrupted by inflammation. Several different things such as a cold, an allergic reaction or, worse case, a tumor, can cause this inflammation.
Another symptom that signals you may have a sinus headache is when your pain gets worse if you suddenly move your head or bend forward.
The second most common symptom of a sinus headache is a mild or moderate fever. Again, this is caused by the fact that what you are probably suffering from is sinusitis.
Other symptoms of a sinus headache include a thick nasal discharge and a feeling of fullness in your ears or facial swelling. The nasal discharge may be yellow or green and the postnasal drip may result in a sore throat.
You May Experience Worse Pain In The Morning
Your sinus headache symptoms may be worse in the morning because mucus has been collecting and draining all night. A sudden temperature change such as going out into the cold from a warm room can worsen the pain. You may also notice that your sinus headache often starts when you either have a bad cold or just after you develop a cold. This is because a cold can cause the inflammation that results in sinusitis and thus, a sinus headache.
Other symptoms of sinus headaches include pain in your upper teeth, swollen and red nasal passages, a general sense of not feeling well or fatigue. You may also have a feeling of congestion or a blockage in your nasal passages.
See Your Heathcare Professional
Even if you aren’t showing all the classic symptoms of a sinus headache as described above, it is advised that you see your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis. They will examine you to determine if you do have sinus blockage. In addition to this physical examination, your health care provider may also order a CT scan or even an MRI of your head to rule out other headache causing problems such as a tumor.
If you believe you have sinus headache symptoms, you may be wondering about the causes of sinus headaches…