Sinus Headache Or Tmj Migraine: How To Tell The Difference
Weve all had bad headaches from time to time. The pain can be so intense that you cant seem to imagine anything worse.
And then you have a migraine episode that seems to take the pain to the next level. In addition to the pounding headache, your cheeks and teeth seem to ache, too.
Unfortunately, some people have headaches like this on a regular basis. Theyve tried to treat it with over-the-counter remedies, but these can just be Band-Aid solutions.
The reason for this is because painkillers arent treating the main source of the problem which could be structural or mechanical.
The above symptoms the pounding head, achy teeth, and tender cheeks arent signs of a typical headache. They could be signs of a sinus headache or a TMJ migraine.
In order to successfully treat the problem, we have to identify the root cause. First we need to discern the difference between these types of head pain.
What Can An Ent Do To Reduce Or Prevent Sinus Pain
There are multiple ways to relieve sinus pain including, pain-free balloon sinuplasty. Balloon sinuplasty is an endoscopic nasal surgery that uses small balloon catheters to drain the large nasal sinuses. This is an almost immediate way to relieve pressure and can dramatically improve the quality of life for those with a deviated septum.
Request an appointment to see if balloon sinuplasty is the right treatment option for you.
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Avoid Sinus Pain Triggers
One of the most important things to avoid is over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays. They may give some fast relief, but after a few days they make sinus pressure and nasal congestion much worse, warns Das. Some other things you can do to prevent sinus pain include avoiding alcohol, which can aggravate sinus pain and congestion cleaning your humidifier to avoid fungal allergies washing your bedding in hot water to decrease allergy exposure and avoiding swimming, diving, or flying when you have sinusitis, a common cold, or nasal allergy.
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Why Do I Have A Headache That Wont Go Away
First things first: If your headache wont go away, you need to figure out if its a sinus headache that wont go away or something else. Sinus headaches are caused by a buildup of pressure in sinus cavities that have become inflamed and are blocking regular mucus drainage.
Sinus headaches are often accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Feeling of pressure and/or throbbing around your sinuses
- Increased pain upon bending over
- Toothache in your upper teeth
Many of these symptoms, including congestion and increased pain upon bending over, can also be found in patients struggling with migraines. However, migraines are unlikely to last more than a few hours, whereas untreated sinus headaches can last for days at a time.
For more information about what might be behind your latest sinus headache, reference these additional posts:
Why Am I Waking Up With A Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches caused by inflamed sinuses often start in the morning and clear up on their own by the afternoon. These sometimes occur when there are drastic changes in temperature such as when the seasons shift. They frequently occur in the morning because while you’re sleeping mucus collects and drains.
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Tension Headache Vs Migraine Vs Sinus Headache
People who self-diagnose their sinus headache often misdiagnose them. Its very common for a migraine sufferer to diagnose him or herself as having sinus headaches. Sometimes, people who suffer from tension headaches misdiagnose them as sinus headaches. Since there are some similarities between each type of headache, getting an official diagnosis from a doctor is an essential step before beginning a treatment program.
If you are unsure whether youre suffering from migraines, tension headaches or sinus headaches, there are some key differences between each. For example, although people who suffer from migraines often experience an increase in discomfort and pain due to pressure shifts and movement, they also tend to have feelings of nausea and sensitivity to sound and light. Sinus headache sufferers dont often feel nauseated and arent sensitive to light or sound. Additionally, migraine sufferers dont often have the cold-like symptoms accompanying their headaches.
The pain associated with tension headaches usually starts at the back of the head. It moves up over the head, until it feels as though a person has a tight band around their skull thats putting a lot of pressure on their head. Along with head pain, people suffering from tension headaches also often have pain in their shoulders, back and neck.
Why Is Sinusitis So Painful
Fluid trapped in the sinuses can fill the sinus cavities, causing intense pain and pressure. The sinuses may be sensitive to the touch. A person may have an urge to sneeze but be unable to do so. The pain can be in the cheeks, around the eyes and nose, or in the forehead because these areas are where the sinuses are.
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Causes Of Sinus Headaches
When you suffer from sinusitis, the sinus cavities those empty spaces under your eyes, by your nose and beneath your forehead become inflamed. The inflammation, whether its caused by bacteria, an allergen, a virus or fungus, makes it difficult for the sinuses to drain. Mucus builds up in them and puts pressures on your sinuses. The result is often described as a throbbing, dull pain in the cheeks, forehead or nose.
Can You Get Sinus Pressure Behind Your Eyes
Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, happens when bacteria or viruses get into the space behind your nose, eyes, and cheeks. These germs cause your sinuses to swell up and your nose to fill with mucus. With a sinus infection, you’ll feel pressure in the upper part of your face, including behind your eyes.
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Treatment For Sinus Pain
If you have pain thats caused by sinusitis, the following self-care measures may help ease your symptoms:
- Inhaling steam.Inhaling steamy air may help loosen mucus and ease inflammation. You can do this by draping a towel over your head and leaning over a bowl of warm water. Standing in a warm, steamy shower may also help.
- Using a nasal wash. A nasal wash is a saline solution and helps to flush out your sinuses. You can buy saline washes over-the-counter or make your own at home.
- Taking OTC medications. Various OTC medications may help relieve symptoms like pain, inflammation, and sinus congestion:
- pain medications like ibuprofen , naproxen , and acetaminophen
- nasal decongestants, such as Sudafed and Mucinex Sinus Max
- nasal corticosteroids like Flonase and Nasacort
What Are The Treatment Options
Your primary care provider, or a neurologist, can provide recommendations for treating your headaches based on their severity and frequency, and can rule out more serious causes of your headache. Treatment for migraines includes both over-the-counter and prescription medications and preventative medications for patients with severe or frequent headaches, or if headaches are present for more than 15 days per month.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be associated with rebound headaches or medication-overuse headaches if taken too often. Tell your doctor how often you take pain medications for headaches. Avoid triggers, and talk to your doctor about your sleep habits. Keep a headache diary to record your headache symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
Sinus headaches caused by migraines or tension headaches should not be treated with antibiotics. Because there are similar symptoms between acute sinusitis and migraine headaches with nasal and sinus symptoms, it can be difficult to tell if your symptoms are truly a sinus infection. Sinus pain and pressure without discolored nasal discharge is most likely not a sinus infection. If you have been diagnosed with frequent sinus infections and have been treated with repeated episodes of antibiotics without improvement, migraines or tension headaches could be causing your sinus pain and pressure.
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Cleaning The Nose With Salt Water
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:
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.
Can Anxiety Cause Sinus Headaches
Stress and anxiety can affect your sinuses indirectly by increasing your susceptibility to a range of health issues that, in turn, worsen your sinus problems. Sustained stress can weaken your bodys immune system, making you more vulnerable to the effects of allergens, as well as germs, bacteria, viruses, infections.
What does sinus pressure feel like in your head?
Youll feel a deep and constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or the bridge of your nose. The pain usually gets stronger when you move your head suddenly or strain. At the same time, you might have other sinus symptoms, such as: A runny nose.
What is the best medicine for a tension headache?
Simple pain relievers available without a prescription are usually the first line of treatment for reducing headache pain. These include the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium .
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How Migraines Are Different
Migraines are much more common than sinus headaches, affecting about 15 percent of adults in America. The reason migraines are often mistaken for sinus headaches is that both can cause facial pain and a runny nose. The difference? With migraines, nasal discharge is thin and clear instead of thick and discolored.
Aside from different kinds of nasal discharge, a big difference between migraines and sinus headaches is that a migraine pain can happen in many areas. While sinus headaches are primarily felt in the face, migraines can cause pain around the temples, high in the forehead or in the back of your head. They often occur on only one side of the head, while sinus headaches are usually felt on both sides of the face.
Another distinguishing characteristic of migraines is that they frequently cause a throbbing or pulsing pain, as opposed to the pressure of sinus headaches.
What Are The Sinus Headache Symptoms
Sinus headaches might give you pressure and pain around your sinuses – in your forehead, particularly between and behind your eyes and above your nose. These areas might feel a bit tender to the touch. Pain may become worse with movement, such as lying down or bending over. If pain is the only symptom you experience, you likely aren’t experiencing a sinus headache. Sinus headaches typically present other symptoms too, such as:
- Nasal discharge
Headaches and migraines from sinusitis are simple to confuse because the symptoms and signs of both could overlap.
Both sinusitis and migraine headache pain frequently becomes worse when bending forward. Migraine could also be accompanied by a variety of nasal symptoms and signs, including:
- Facial pressure
- Water, clear nasal discharge
This is because when you’re experiencing a migraine attack, it involves the autonomic nervous system. In fact, research has shown that around 90% of individuals who see a physician for sinus headaches, actually are experiencing migraines instead.
However, sinusitis typically isn’t linked with nausea or vomiting and isn’t usually aggravated by bright light or noise which are all common migraine features.
Sinusitis typically occurs after a cold or upper respiratory infection and includes:
- Discolored, thick nasal mucus
- Pain in upper teeth or one cheek
Headaches related to sinus disease frequently last for days, maybe longer and migraines typically last for hours sometimes a day or two.
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How To Treat Sinus Headache If You Have Both High Blood Pressure And Are Taking Thyroid Medicine
- 17 Jan 2015 by Dan2525
Mucinex Cold & Sinus, can cause or raise blood pressure, I take thyroid medicine you could take it with that, I would consult with your Doctor before taking it, there are some over the counter medâs that you can take with high blood pressure, clorcentin is one, I know I didnât spell that right, you could also call the drugstore and ask them Iâm sure they would know what would be best for you to take.
Ask your doc or pharmacist about taking Claritin â itâs okay for HBP, but Iâm not sure about the thyroid.
Pressure Points To Drain Sinuses
In addition to manual massages, you can also access sinus pressure points using a technique called acupressure. This ancient healing technique originated in China and uses the same principles as acupuncture except you use your fingers to trigger the pressure points instead of needles.
Here are some pressure points to trigger to help relieve sinus pain and congestion. Simply press and gently massage these areas for several minutes or until you feel relief.
- Acupresssure Point BL2: Located where your eyebrow meets your nose, this pressure point can help relieve frontal headaches.
- Acupresssure Point GB20: Located at the back of your head where the skull meets neck muscles, this pressure point can relieve midline headaches.
- Acupresssure Point L3: Located on your foot between the tendons of your big toe and second toe, this pressure point can help with headaches.
- Acupresssure Point LI4: Located on your hand between the thumb and index finger, this pressure point can help relieve sinus congestion.
- Acupresssure Point LI 20: Located at the base of your nose, this pressure point can help relieve sinus pressure.
- Acupresssure Point SI18: Located where your cheekbones meet your nose, this pressure point can relieve sinus congestion.
While at-home remedies can provide relief from mild sinus infections and sinus-related congestion, you should see an otolaryngologist for more chronic symptoms. To learn more about what these specialists do, visit our blog on ENTs.
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How Do You Stop Sinus Headaches
Some other things you can do to prevent sinus pain include avoiding alcohol, which can aggravate sinus pain and congestion cleaning your humidifier to avoid fungal allergies washing your bedding in hot water to decrease allergy exposure and avoiding swimming, diving, or flying when you have sinusitis, a common cold, …
How Do I Get Rid Of A Sinus Headache
To get rid of a sinus headache, you have to treat the underlying cause. But you can take steps to ease sinus pressure and pain at home:
- Apply a warm compress to painful areas of the face.
- Use a decongestant to reduce sinus swelling and allow mucus to drain.
- Try a saline nasal spray or drops to thin mucus.
- Use a vaporizer or inhale steam from a pan of boiled water. Warm, moist air may help relieve sinus congestion.
Viruses, bacteria and sometimes fungi cause sinus infections. Viral infections often go away on their own. But if your infection is bacterial or fungal, you need antibiotics or antifungal medications. Your healthcare provider may also recommend other medications to ease discomfort, such as:
- Antihistamines to prevent allergy symptoms.
- Pain relievers to ease headache pain.
- Steroids to reduce inflammation.
Migraines with sinus symptoms
Sinus headaches that are actually migraines need a different type of treatment. The first step is to relieve your pain. You should know that frequently using over-the-counter medications when you have a headache can cause even more headaches .
Your provider may recommend prescription medication for migraine pain. You may also need a preventive medication that helps you have fewer migraine attacks.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Cervicogenic Headache
Pain originating at the back of the neck and radiating along the forehead, area around the eye, temple, and ear. The flexibility of the neck has been reduced. Eye swelling and blurriness of vision may also occur on the affected side. Tinnitus is a common symptom of Cervical Spondylolisthesis.
It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or pain in one or both ears. This symptom is often mistaken for a migraine, but it is not a true migraine. The symptoms may also be confused with other types of headaches, including migraines, which are not caused by the cervical vertebrae.
When To See A Doctor
With sinus headaches, if the area is extremely tender, you have a fever and/or youre experiencing symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, you should talk to your healthcare provider.
If you are a migraine sufferer and have four or more headaches a month that you have a hard time controlling with OTC pain relievers, you may want to consider seeing a headache specialist who can help you manage your condition.
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