Monday, April 8, 2024

Can Sinus Infection Cause Headaches

Sinus Migraine: When Sinus Pain Is More Than A Headache

Sinus Headaches: Causes & Treatment

You have a headache. It extends over your eye and you have pressure in your face. Your nose even runs a little. You take some Sudafed or ibuprofen, tell everyone you have a sinus headache or even a sinus migraine, and lay down for a while. Two or three hours later you are better. You might have a little residual soreness and you might be a little tired, but the worst of the headache is over. Youve just had a sinus headache or was it?

You could have had a migraine that isnt even related to any sinus issues and not realize it. You felt sinus pain and pressure, so your mind automatically went to sinus headache. Your doctor may even have told you it was sinus related and the subject of migraines never came up. It happens a lot more than you might think. In fact, nearly 90% of patients who visit their doctor and complain of sinus headache actually have a migraine or migraine-type headache.

This is an easy misdiagnosis, but its important to get it right because sinus-related headaches and straight-up migraines are treated differently. For a sinus headache, a decongestant could be key. But if youre having a migraine, you might benefit most from a simple pair migraine glasses like these, or other remedies that are designed for migraine.

Read Also: What Is The Best Otc Sinus Allergy Medicine

Sinus Infection And Neck Pain: Is There A Correlation

People with allergies or chronic colds understand that sinus infections can be a real pain in the neck. Most cases of acute sinusitis get better on their own. Your doctor may recommend treatments to help relieve sinusitis symptoms, but acute sinusitis can cause potentially dangerous complications. Read on if youre wondering if sinus infections can cause neck pain.

Ways To Relieve Headache Or Migraine Pain

Sinus headaches happen when the sinuses become blocked and swollen. It is very common to experience facial pain and headaches when you have sinusitis. There are lots of different self-help techniques you can try at home to relieve symptoms, but in severe cases should go to an ENT specialist.

Breathing moist air, using hot and cold compresses to ease swelling, and taking over-the-counter medication can help. If your headaches do not improve, you may need more intensive treatments.

Recommended Reading: Is Sinus Congestion A Sign Of Pregnancy

Can Allergies Cause A Sinus Headache

Headache is not a very common symptom, in and of itself, of seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis, says Katherine Hamilton, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurology and a headache specialist at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.

With allergies, its much more common to have symptoms such as nasal congestion, like a stuffy nose or runny nose, and eye-watering, she says.

But allergies, or allergic rhinitis, can increase your risk of a sinus infection, according to the CDC. One indication of whether you have allergies or sinusitis is your nasal discharge: In allergies its normally thin and clear, whereas in a sinus infection the mucus is yellow or green and thick, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you do have a headache that persists, it may not be just allergies, but rather an indication that you have migraine, says Dr. Hamilton.

Typically, headache can be due to a sinus infection or viral or bacterial infection, but it’s rare to have a significant headache from just allergy symptoms, she says.

Chronic Sinusitis Has Impacts Beyond A Runny Nose

Treatment for Headaches

The onset of symptoms of sinusitis are all too familiar to sufferers: postnasal drip, nasal mucous, congestion and loss of smell and taste. But for some individuals, these are not short-term bouts of a troublesome condition, nor are they confined to the nose. Patients with chronic sinusitis experience symptoms that are more systemic, with effects that are more profound.

In these patients, we tend to see depression, loss of productivity, problems concentrating and sleeping, and the sense that youre constantly living in a brain fog, says Jeffrey Suh, MD, a rhinologist in the UCLA Nasal and Sinus Disease Program. Its these intangible effects not just the runny nose that tend to bring patients to us for surgery.

The UCLA Nasal and Sinus Disease Program offers medical and surgical management of complex nasal and sinus problems, including chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and nasal-breathing problems associated with allergic and structural problems of the nose. For patients with chronic sinusitis, the impact of their condition can be far greater than might be appreciated. Research indicates that chronic sinusitis sufferers report lower scores on measures of bodily pain and social functioning than patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and back pain, for example, Dr. Suh notes.


Read Also: Runny Nose Sinus Pressure Medicine

What Are Sinus Headaches

Real sinus headaches are almost always from a sinus infection. Sinus infections are common with 10% to 30% of the population experiencing at least one sinus infection each year.

Sinus infections are also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. This occurs when the sinus becomes inflamed. Common symptoms include thick nasal mucous, blocked nose and facial pain. Sinus infections may be caused by an infection, allergy or air pollution. Most cases are due to viral infection. Infections are often transmitted through coughing, sneezing, kissing, contact with contaminated surfaces, food or water or contact with infected animals or pets.

To understand how sinus headaches are confused with migraine its important to know what migraine is.

Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute

There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:

  • Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
  • Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
  • Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.

Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.

For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.

Read Also: Good Medicine For A Sinus Infection

Can You Get A Sinus Infection In Your Eyes

In some cases, a sinus infection can spread to the eyelid, skin and soft tissues. Periorbital cellulitis, also known as preseptal cellulitis, can occur when the area around the eye, including the eyelid, becomes infected. Orbital cellulitis can occur if the eyeball itself, and the tissues around the eyeball, become infected. Periorbital cellulitis cannot develop into orbital cellulitis because a fibrous tissue surrounding the eyeball serves as a barrier.

Both of these conditions are more common in children than in adults. Periorbital cellulitis is more common and less dangerous than orbital cellulitis. Both conditions can cause red, swollen and painful eyelids. Fever may sometimes occur with periorbital sinusitis, although it is more common in orbital cellulitis. It is important to note that periorbital cellulitis does not typically affect vision or eye movement.

In addition to the symptoms above, symptoms of orbital cellulitis also may include:

  • Eye pain, especially when moving the affected eye

If orbital cellulitis has been ruled out, you may be able to treat periorbital cellulitis at home with oral medications with close supervision by an ophthalmologist. Orbital cellulitis typically requires hospitalization and IV antibiotics. It is important to see a doctor right away if you think you or your child may have either condition.

The Wrong Kind Of Biofilm

Can sinus headache occur without congestion? – Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy T M

Another important aspect of the microbiome that should be strong and healthy is the biofilm. It is a thin and slimy film of bacteria that adheres to the gut and sinuses. It is important to note biofilms are not bad they are just a way bacteria cultivate. It is the content within the biofilm itself that determines if it is probiotic or pathogenic . The goal of functional medicine is to promote a healthy biofilm through diet, lifestyle changes, and holistic medicines. A few essential tools to repair biofilm are taking probiotics and prebiotics as they develop probiotic balance and taking digestive enzymes as they break down the biofilm.

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Also Check: Wake Up With Sinus Headache Every Day

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

  • I get frequent sinus headaches. Is this the same thing as having a migraine or tension headache?
  • If I also have trouble breathing and have a heavy discharge from my nose, what does that mean?
  • Are migraines a symptom of a potentially bigger problem? Should I get an MRI or see a neurologist?
  • Ive tried over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but they dont always work. Are there other prescription medications I could use instead?
  • Sinus Headaches: Symptoms Treatment & Relief

    Sinus problems are a common complaint, and sometimes with sinus problems come headaches. As uncomfortable as sinusitis can bewith nasal congestion or runny nose, sinus pressure or pain, and on occasion, fatigue or feverit can be more miserable with a headache.

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    Chiropractic Atlas Adjustment For Headaches

    Headaches can pester you for days, causing you to miss out on activities or experiencing waves of emotion ranging from fear to depression. Thankfully, you can tap into natural and holistic remedies for headaches, such as a chiropractic atlas adjustment.

    Whether your symptoms stem from a sinus infection, scalp pressure, excessive caffeine intake, or other factors, an upper cervical care chiropractor can help.

    Upper cervical care is a unique, precise, and gentle approach to restoring your bodys vitality and balance. It realigns shifted neck bones to relieve pressure on the nerves and muscles that they have impacted. Once fully repaired, the neck bones can perform their ultimate function once more to protect the brainstem.

    Consequently, your brainstem can function smoothly, providing your brain the necessary information to heal faster and prevent the same mishap.

    Locate an upper cervical care doctor near you today to learn more about atlas adjustment.

    to schedule a consultation today.

    Chronic Sinusitis Treatment In Denver Co

    Acute Sinusitis

    Chronic sinus problems can impact everything from your breathing to your sleep to your overall quality of life. The expert doctors at Advanced ENT have been successfully treating chronic sinusitis for years. Some of the possible treatments include allergy drops to reduce swelling, medication and sinus rinse therapies, and in-office procedures including balloon sinuplasty.

    Recommended Reading: Nasal Polyps In Sinus Cavity

    Are Sinus Headache And Migraine Easily Confused

    Yes, they are according to the research. The pattern of migraine pain is different for individual patients. While the most easily recognized migraine headaches are localized to one side of the head, many patients feel pain or pressure on both sides, or in the neck or sinuses. This is because all of these areas are innervated by branches of the nerve that are most involved in migraine. For patients with sinus symptoms the most frequent patterns of pain and pressure are across the forehead and behind the eyes, but any sinus area or combination is possible.

    A study called SAMS recruited the first 100 people to respond to their local ad. The ad asked those to come forward who believed they had sinus headache. Each participant was carefully examined in a 90-minute evaluation and imaging tests were conducted.

    The findings showed that most of them had been wrongly diagnosed and in fact had a diagnosis of migraine.

    Eye Symptoms Linked To Sinusitis

    In addition to eye pain or sinus pain behind the eyes, there are other eye symptoms that may be caused by sinusitis or other sinus issues. These may include:

    • Sinus pressure and eye pain A sinus infection may cause you to feel pain behind your eyes or around the eye area on your face. This may feel like pain in your eyes or a headache behind your eyes.

    • Sinus pressure and eye watering In some cases, a chronic sinus infection can lead to watery eyes . But these symptoms may also be caused by many other conditions. For example, a cold or allergies may cause eye watering and a feeling of stuffiness or pressure. And a cluster headache can similarly cause pressure, watery eyes and stuffy nose.

    • Sinus pressure and swollen eyes A sinus infection can also lead to eyelid swelling and eye puffiness. This can occur when the sinuses between and below your eyes may become inflamed and clogged with mucus. The swelling typically goes away as your sinusitis improves with treatment.

    Sinus problems such as chronic sinusitis can also cause blurry vision, vision loss and other problems due to optic nerve damage caused by chronic inflammation, although this is rare.

    In some cases, eye symptoms can be a sign of a sinus infection spreading to the eye, or other serious sinus infection complications.

    SEE RELATED:Pressure behind the eye

    Read Also: Best Home Cures For Sinus Infection

    Causes Of Sinus Headaches

    A sinus headache is caused by sinusitis, which occurs when theres a mucus buildup in the sinuses, giving bacteria, viruses, or fungus an opportunity to grow there and cause an infection. As the sinus cavities swell and fill up with liquid, they can cause tenderness and pain in the face.

    These are some of the causes of sinusitis:

    • Respiratory infections, with the common cold and flu being the most frequent culprit
    • Allergies, such as hay fever
    • Swelling, bone spurs, polyps, or tumors in the nasal passage, which can block the sinuses from draining properly
    • A deviated septum or cleft palate, which can also affect the draining of the sinuses
    • Flying or climbing to high altitudes, which can cause the mucosal lining in the sinuses to become swollen due to the differences in atmospheric pressure
    • Frequently swimming or diving, which can cause irritation in the sinuses

    Cleaning The Nose With Salt Water

    Diagnosing sinus headaches

    A 2019 review found some indication that saltwater solutions can treat sinusitis. However, the researchers state that there was not enough evidence to confirm it helps or the best delivery method.

    People can purchase nasal rinsing kits with premixed saltwater solutions. Alternatively, they can make the solution at home. To do this:

  • Purchase 1 pint of distilled or sterile water. Alternatively, boil regular water from a faucet for
  • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda into the water.
  • Wash the hands with soap and water.
  • Stand over a sink and pour a small amount into a cupped palm. Sniff the water into one nostril, or use a nasal irrigation device, such as a neti pot.
  • Repeat in the other nostril. Allow as much water to flush out of the nose as possible. If it runs down the back of the throat, spit it out.
  • People should dispose of any leftover salt water, and make a fresh solution if using this technique repeatedly. A person should also clean any nasal irrigation devices thoroughly after each use. People should not use nasal rinses in children unless instructed by a doctor.

    Also Check: How Long Is A Sinus Infection Contagious After Starting Antibiotics

    Signs And Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches

    Caused by a viral or bacterial sinus infection, sinus headaches are relatively rare. Their symptoms include:

    Stuffy nose

    Facial swelling or puffiness


    When trying to determine if what youre experiencing is a sinus headache, ask yourself if youre feeling congested, and whether it hurts when you press down on your cheeks or forehead . If the answer to these questions is no, its probably a migraine or a tension headache.

    When To Seek Medical Advice

    Most cases of otitis media pass within a few days, so thereâs usually no need to see your GP.

    However, see your GP if you or your child have:

    • symptoms showing no sign of improvement after two or three days
    • a discharge of pus or fluid from the ear some people develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that lasts for many months, known as chronic suppurative otitis media
    • an underlying health condition, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease, which could make complications more likely

    Recommended Reading: How To Make Sinus Pain Go Away

    How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself

    You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:

    • getting plenty of rest
    • taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
    • avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
    • cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion

    If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.

  • Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into the water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
  • Sniff the water into 1 nostril at a time. Breathe through your mouth and allow the water to pour back into the sink. Try not to let the water go down the back of your throat.
  • Repeat the first 5 steps up to 3 times a day until your nose feels more comfortable.
  • You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.

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