What Are The Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches
Patients with migraines or tension headaches commonly have sinus and nasal symptoms during their headaches, including sinus pressure, sinus pain, nasal congestion or runny nose. Studies of patients who have self-diagnosed or been diagnosed with sinus headaches were found to have migraines or tension headaches in more than 80 percent of cases only three to five percent of these patients had sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis and migraine headaches can be similar, which can be confusing about what is causing sinus pain and pressure. Migraines and headaches can cause the following nasal symptoms:
- Pain and pressure around the eyes, across the cheeks, and the forehead
- Nasal congestion
- Eye redness, tearing, or eyelid swelling
- Symptoms on one or both sides of the face
Sinusitis is associated with nasal congestion or obstruction and a thick nasal discharge, sometimes with facial pain, pressure, or a feeling of fullness. However, facial pain or pressure or fullness without cloudy or colored nasal discharge is most likely not a sinus infection.
Sinus Headaches Are Rare
Its important to note that sinus headaches are in fact extremely rare most people who have sinus headaches actually have migraine headaches, says Dr. Gottschalk.
In fact, the American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery Foundation notes that over 80% of people who have self-diagnosed themselves or received a formal diagnosis of sinus headache actually have a migraine headache or tension headache only around 3% to 5% of people diagnosed with sinus headaches actually have sinus headaches.
This happens because some of the symptoms of migraine headaches are very similar to the symptoms of sinus headaches. Migraine headaches can trigger the parasympathetic nerves that control the mucosa in the sinuses, resulting in symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, redness or swelling around the eyes, and pressure in the sinus area, says Dr. Gottschalk.
For this reason, migraine attacks that include these symptoms are often mislabeled as sinus headaches, because it is believed that the sinus irritation is the cause of the pain however, the sinus symptoms are caused by the migraine process itself, explains Dr. Gottschalk.
Sinus Headache Symptoms & Treatment Options
Sinus headaches can bring acute discomfort to the sufferer, and are commonly experienced as pain across the forehead, nose and cheekbones. Sharp movements of the head can result in bursts of pain, making everyday life uncomfortable.
For many sufferers, diagnosing whether you have a sinus issue or a migraine can be tricky. If you or your child areexperiencing the symptoms of sinus headache or a possible migraine, Dr. Chacko will diagnose the issue and work to find the best sinus treatment solution for you. Serving families in the Atlanta area, Chacko Allergy is ready to help.
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The Symptoms Of A Sinus Headache
Since a sinus headache can mimic a migraine , its important that you understand the symptoms that are associated with a sinus headache. With a sinus headache, you may experience:
- Pain or pressure in your sinuses
- An increase in the pain when you move your head
- Swelling in your face
- Muffled hearing or a feeling of fullness in your ears
Another big clue as to whether or not you may be suffering from a sinus headache is the coexistence of other conditions, such as a cold, flu, or an allergy flare-up.
When To See A Doctor For Sinus Pain
If your sinus symptoms are not getting better with at-home treatments, and if your sinus symptoms last longer than seven to 10 days, you should see a doctor for treatment. Allina Health has many convenient care options for care, from online visits to walk-in care, to help you get better fast.
If you have frequent or reoccurring sinus infections, you may want to see an ear, nose and throat for your treatment options.
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Irrigate To Relieve Sinus Pressure
Salt water irrigation is the best way to cleanse the nose and sinuses this can help prevent or relieve sinus pain. You can use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray, but I recommend using a sinus rinse bottle, neti pot, or bulb syringe irrigation kit that you can get at the drugstore, advises Das.
Try this commonly-used, easy-to-make nasal irrigation solution with your own sinus irrigation kit: Fill a clean 8-ounce glass with distilled or sterilized lukewarm water. Do not use tap water unless it has been boiled for at least 1 minute . Add 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda. And be sure to clean all equipment and make a fresh batch of solution each time you use your kit.
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Sinus Headache Vs Migraine
According to the American Migraine Foundation, 50 percent of migraine misdiagnoses start with a person thinking they have sinus headache. Up to 90 percent of people who go to the doctor for sinus headache find out they have migraine instead.
People with migraine may develop symptoms similar to sinusitis, like a runny nose or congestion. Migraine headaches also cause pain along the trigeminal nerve, which interacts with the sinus passages. People experiencing migraine may think this pain is related to the sinuses.
If you dont have any of the symptoms that come specifically with a sinus headache, you may be experiencing a migraine. Migraine is treated differently from sinus headache. Symptoms specific to migraine include:
- sensitivity to light and sound
If youre experiencing symptoms specific to migraine, youre likely experiencing a migraine attack and not a sinus headache.
Sinusitis directly causes sinus headaches, so they share the same causes and triggers. These include:
- Viral infection. This is the most common cause of sinusitis and sinus headache. About
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What Does Sinus Pressure Feel Like
Pain or pressure is felt not just in your head, but anywhere in the sinus area. Where you feel pain depends on which sinuses are affected.
While pressure is most common behind and around the eyes, nose, and cheeks, it can extend forward to the teeth and backward to the back of the head. These areas will often be sensitive to touch.
Sometimes sinus headache can also give you a feeling of fatigue or aching in your top jaw. Redness and swelling of the cheeks, nose, or forehead can occur.
How Are Sinus Headaches Diagnosed
Most of the time when people diagnose themselves with a sinus headache, its really a migraine. So, its important to see your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe or ongoing, you may also need imaging tests. A magnetic resonance imaging test can rule out serious brain conditions. Multiple imaging tests can reveal sinus blockages and include:
- Computed tomography scan.
- Nasal endoscopy .
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How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Pressure Headache
If you suffer from allergies, you may have congested sinuses as well, and this can lead to a sinus pressure headache. If youre wondering how to get rid of a sinus pressure headache, the first thing you need to understand is that these types of headaches can have several causes. Consequently, sinus headaches have a few different remedies.
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How To Spot The Difference Between Migraines & Sinus Headaches
If you have a runny nose, watery eyes and your head hurts, you might assume that you have a sinus headache. But studies show that about 90% of self-diagnosed sinus headaches are actually migraine.
Theres a belief that sinus headache is a common illness. The marketing of over-the-counter medications designed to treat these symptoms reinforce this belief.. However, a sinus headache is not as common as you might think.
How can you tell if you have migraine or sinus headache and get the treatment you need? Lets start by defining migraine and sinus headache.
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Where Can I Find The Best Sinus Headache Treatment In Houston
Houston ear, nose, and throat specialist and surgeon Dr. Cecil Yeung has more than 20 years of experience in diagnosing and treating chronic sinusitis, which causes sinus headaches. At Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, he has pioneered endoscopic sinus surgery in the area, performing more than 4,000 sinus surgeries with a re-do rate thats far less than average. Hes a board-certified physician who is known as a leader in his field as well as for his professionalism and precision.
Dr. Yeung will correctly diagnose the cause of your sinus headaches and sinusitis and recommend the most minimally invasive treatment possible that will yield the results you want.
To get relief from the pain and other symptoms of sinus headaches, contact Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute today!
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When To Seek Treatment
It can be challenging to tell if your headache is something you should be worrying about. If your attacks are severe,its a good idea to seek medical attention.
Theres a long list of scary causes of headaches that most of the time are not what people have, but on occasion they are, Robbins said. Especially if the headache is associated with some other symptoms, like feeling numb or weak or having a disturbance of vision or symptoms like that.
Other red flags include new headaches in someone whos age 50 or above, neurological symptoms like weakness or numbness in one of your limbs, fever, weight loss, lack of response to usual treatment or a change in headache frequency or characteristics.
Of course, there are other reasons to see a doctor, beyond worrying that your headaches may be a sign of a scary medical condition. One big reason, Robbins pointed out, is that plenty of effective treatments for headaches and migraines are now available that allow people to find relief, be proactive in how they manage their condition and keep it from worsening over time.
Living With is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues people live with by offering different stories, advice and ways to connect with others who understand what its like. In April, were covering migraines and headaches. Got an experience youd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Chronic Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
Sinusitis happens when the sinuses or cavities around the nasal passages become swollen. The sinuses can become inflamed if you have an infection or because of an allergic reaction. The symptoms usually go away within a couple of weeks, but some people experience longer or recurring sinus infections. If you have chronic sinusitis, you could be dealing with symptoms such as nasal discharge, congestion, and pain or sinus headaches for many months.
Can Sinus Headaches Be Prevented
Sinus headaches are due to inflammation of the sinuses and their ability to drain to the back of the nose.
- Avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, and other allergens because they may decrease the risk of developing sinusitis and a sinus headache. Smoking reduces the ability of the sinuses to clear mucous and fluid.
- Avoid colds and other respiratory infections because it may decrease the risk of sinus inflammation, for example, frequent hand washing, and avoiding people who are sick.
- Flying is not recommended if you have a cold, sinus infection, or an upper respiratory infection because of the pressure changes in the face that occur with flying.
- Maintaining adequate hydration and breathing humidified air at home and work will allow the normal mucus that is produced in the sinuses to drain more easily.
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Chronic Sinus Headache Symptoms
The symptoms of different kinds of headaches may overlap a lot, but the causes can be very different. If youve been having frequent pain in your head and face, you may be surprised to learn that the issue may be your sinuses. Figuring out the source of your pain can help you find lasting relief from your sinus headache.
How Do You Know If Youre Experiencing Sinus Pressure
Before we get into the weeds of answering the question, Can you have sinus pressure but no congestion? its important that we review the basics of sinus pressure.
A sinus headache is a symptom of built-up pressure in the sinus cavities typically causing maxillary sinus pain. This buildup occurs when your nasal passages mucus can no longer drain properly. In other words, sinus pressure and the sinus sinus headaches it causes are linked to congestion.Since pressure buildup can get intense, many people have confused sinus pressure for a migraine and vice versa. However, sinus pressure is typically accompanied with other symptoms and frequently occurs in tandem with certain conditions.
If youre experiencing any of the following situations, you may be feeling the effects of sinus pressure instead of a migriane:
- You are feeling throbbing around your eyes, forehead, and nose. You may also be feeling this throbbing in your cheeks, jaw, ears, teeth, or back of the head.
- You are currently suffering from allergies or have a sinus infection.
- You have thick mucus.
- You feel the majority of the pain in the morning.
Keep in mind that if you do have sinus pressure, this doesnt necessarily mean you have a sinus infection. Everyday, non-serious issues, including allergies and the common cold can lead to sinus pressure and sinus headaches.
If you are experiencing congestion, here are a few quick tips on how to get rid of sinus congestion.
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Common Sinus Headache Symptoms
- Fever: You won’t always run a temperature when you have a headache caused by sinusitis, but it’s a distinct possibility, especially if the infection is caused by a bacteria rather than a virus. In that case, an antibiotic actually may be in order to knock out the bacteria.
- Purulent nasal discharge: A thick, yellowish or greenish discharge is a sign of infection.
- Ear or upper tooth pain: Ear and upper tooth pain are common complaints in those suffering from a sinus infection.
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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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
How Long Do Sinus Headaches Last
Viruses cause most sinus infections. A viral sinus infection typically resolves on its own. Similar to how the common cold clears up by itself, your sinus headache should feel better within about a week. If it doesnt go away, see your healthcare provider. You may have a bacterial or fungal sinus infection that requires medication.
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When To Talk With A Doctor
Recurring headaches and suspected acute sinusitis should always be evaluated by a doctor. Experts believe that most people who self-diagnose sinusitis are actually experiencing migraines. Getting the correct diagnosis is crucial to successful treatment.
Sinus pain and pressure that doesnt improve after 7 days despite treatment could mean that youre being treated for the wrong condition, especially if you dont experience other sinus symptoms.
You should also see your doctor if your headaches are accompanied by symptoms typically experienced with migraine attacks.
You dont have to be experiencing sharp head pain in order to have a migraine. Accompanying nausea, vision changes, and light sensitivity could mean you have a migraine, and not a sinus headache.
For migraine treatment, you can start with your primary care physician, and if needed you may be referred to a headache specialist, possibly a neurologist or ear, nose, and throat doctor.
Many People Are Unaware Of The Signs And The Right Treatment For Sinus Headaches
Some patients describe sinus headaches as pressure near the eyes, cheeks, or forehead. Others describe it as throbbing pain in their head.
It is not uncommon for migraines and tension headaches to be confused with sinus headaches. The symptoms are so similar, that without proper diagnosis, a practitioner may treat the wrong condition. However, migraines are much more common than sinus headaches. In fact, only one in ten patients who think that they have a sinus headache actually have one.
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