The Lowdown On Stressed Sinuses
A flare-up of seasonal allergies, called hay fever, causes stuffy noses and irritated sinuses. But allergy sufferers will notice mainly that they have a runny nose with clear output and itchy, watery eyes. Their symptoms are also often tied to certain times of year and specific allergens like animal dander, dust, pollen or mold.
If youre plugged up with thick mucus thats green or yellow, you could have an infection. Sinus infectionswhether caused by bacteria or a viruscan also bring along other symptoms like mild headache, fatigue, weakness or a cough. Viruses are far more likely to be the cause of sinus infections. Certain symptoms increase the probably of bacterial sinusitis:
- Persistent sinusitis symptoms for longer than 10 days, especially with double worsening. This means symptoms start to improve and then get worse a few days later.
- A fever, especially a high one over 102 .
- Asymmetric pain in one or more sinus areas. These include under or above the eyes and above the bridge of the nose.
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Symptoms Of A Migraine
Migraines can vary from person to person and even from attack to attack. There are a wide range of migraine symptoms, but the most common include:
- Head pain, often over one eye or on one or both sides
- Sensitivity to light
- Ear pain
To further compound the confusion between these two conditions, even treatment options are similar. Many people are very surprised to discover that sinus medications and treatments relieve their migraine pain. Dr. Ailani explains:
Migraine can improve when using products like Sudafed or Advil cold/sinus. These medications work to reduce some of the chemicals that are elevated during a migraine, so dont be fooled into thinking that if you feel better with Sudafed, it is a sinus issue. Overuse of these medications can lead to more headaches, so if you find yourself using these medications more than 2-3 days a week, seek medical attention for an appropriate diagnosis.
A diagnosis of either a migraine or a sinus headache is the first step in finding treatment that works.
What Can I Do About Recurring Sinus Headaches
Many sinus headaches, especially those that recur, are actually migraines. But its smart to see your healthcare provider to figure out the cause of your headaches.
You may find that the best long-term solution is figuring out what triggers your migraine headaches so you can avoid them. Its helpful to keep a headache diary to track potential triggers. Triggers you can control include:
- Specific foods, such as chocolate, red wine or strong cheese.
- Lack of sleep.
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What Is A Sinus Headache
If the linings of the ducts or tubes that connect the sinuses to the back of the nose become inflamed, the sinuses may not be able to drain normally, and pressure may build up within the blocked sinus. There may also be associated swelling and inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, resulting in increased mucus and fluid secretion. This increase in fluid combined with the inability to drain increases pressure within the sinus cavity, causing the pain of a sinus headache. The term sinusitis is used to describe inflammation of the sinus.
How To Differentiate Between A Sinus Headache And A Migraine
Sinus headaches are accompanied by fever and thick, discolored nasal discharge. If your head or other parts of your face hurt but you dont have fever or congestion, and your nasal discharge is clear, its probably a migraine headache. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light.
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Sinus Trouble: Consider The Causes
Not only can seasonal allergies or chronic allergies impact the sinuses, but humid air can cause a clogged or stuffy feeling in the nose. An infectioneither brief or long-lastingcan also take hold.
Sinusitis ailments are not only a burden for allergy sufferers, they can be a challenge for doctors, too, especially as patients and doctors alike are on high alert for warning signs of a possible COVID-19 infection. Three of the most common causes of sinus symptoms are allergies, viral infections and bacterial infections. But these can be tough to tell apart because of overlapping symptoms.
Concussions And Other Head Injuries
If youve recently experienced a concussion or similar head injury, you could be dealing with an ongoing headache. This is called post-concussion syndrome, and its a mild injury to your brain caused by the initial trauma. It can last for months after a concussion possibly up to a year.
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:
- recurrent or ongoing headaches
A variety of treatment options, including home treatments and medical care, can help relieve symptoms of a prolonged headache.
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Other Chronic Headache Types
Habitual snoring is increasingly being recognized as a cause of chronic daily headache.20 Sleep-disordered breathing from, for example, sleep apnea may precipitate headaches from the resultant hypoxemia and hypercapnia. Snoring, with or without sleep apnea, can disrupt sleep architecture or interrupt sleep, either of which can result in headaches. If a history suggestive of snoring, repeated nocturnal arousals, or paroxysmal leg movements during sleep is obtained, a diagnostic polysomnogram will provide invaluable information. Treatment of the sleep disorder might not provide complete headache relief but it usually provides some. Hypnic headaches represent another syndrome of recurring head pain that awakens patients from REM sleep.21 The headache most commonly has its onset after the age of 50, is about twice as frequent in women as in men, has its onset about 2 to 4 hours after falling asleep, and lasts about 1 hour. This headache responds best to treatment with either indomethacin or lithium.
Jan Lewis Brandes, in, 2015
Are Sinus Headaches And Migraines Related
So, do sinus and breathing problemscause migraines? Probably not, but it seems these conditions could be related somehow. If you want relief, you’ll need the right diagnosis and, if you have more than one condition, to consider treatment for each separately, even when they’re happening at the same time.
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Sinus Headache: Signs Symptoms And Treatment Options
Around 70% to 80% of the population in the United States experience headaches, with 50% experiencing a minimum of one headache each month, 15% a minimum of one a week and 5% every day. The occurrence of headaches increases dramatically when you’re in your 20s. After that it levels off until you reach between the age of 40 through 50 years old, after which it reduces.
Unexplained Or General Headaches
For unexplained, ongoing headaches, you may be able to manage or ease your symptoms at home through comfort measures, rest, and responsible use of medication.
Massage therapy can ease muscle tension that contributes to headaches, or you can perform self-massage techniques at home.
Managing your stress can help reduce your pain. Also consider reducing the intensity of your exercise schedule or focusing on your form while exercising.
If your headache continues to persist, see your doctor. You may have an underlying condition that they can diagnose. With proper treatment, youll be able to address your persistent headache pain and return to your normal quality of life.
You may be able to prevent persistent headaches before they begin by taking a few steps every day. These include:
- drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- exercising regularly
- getting needed support for your mental health
- seeking hormonal support, particularly if youre premenopausal or experiencing menopause
- reducing stress
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Sinus Migraine: When Sinus Pain Is More Than A Headache
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.
Natural Sinus Tips For Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches can cause a pounding headache. A feeling of a stuffed-up head and post nasal drip. Sinus pain can be worsened during the allergy season as germs and mucus make their way into your sinus cavities.
When an allergy, cold or flu causes tissues to swell and fill with mucus, the tiny hairs inside our nose, called cilia, are unable to move thick mucus out and sinuses become clogged. Trapped air creates painful pressure and trapped mucus provides safe have for infection or sinusitis.
Symptoms of Sinus Congestion are:
- sinus headache
- pain in the upper teeth
Prevention, Moisture and Heat:
If sinus symptoms last months, or they are seasonal, it could be allergies causing the symptoms and it is worth undergoing testing and treatment for allergies.
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Headache Types By Location
Forehead: Headaches that occur along both sides of the forehead are often tension headaches or sinus headaches. If the pain is one-sided, then migraine or cluster headache may be more likely.
Top of head: Pain along the top of the head is non-specific and can be seen with tension headaches as well as migraine headaches.
Back of head: Headache pain occurring along the back of the head is often associated with tension headache, especially if spasms of the neck or cervical spinal muscles are identified. Other causes include shingles and occipital neuritis.
Side of head: Pain on the side of the head can be associated with migraine headaches, especially if the pain is one-sided or unilateral. Very severe pain on one side of the head may suggest cluster headache. Tension headache can cause pressure and pain along both sides of the head. Giant cell arteritis is a less common cause of pain on the side of the head in people over the age of 55 years.
Behind eye: Pain located behind one eye can be seen with migraine headache. If the pain is located behind both eyes, sinus headache may be a consideration. Rarely, orbital tumors can cause pain behind the eye.
CAUTION: If you are experiencing the worst headache of your life, or if you have unexplained symptoms such as weakness, numbness or tingling, imbalance, or falling, you should be seen for evaluation immediately. While uncommon, life-threatening causes of headaches may include intracerebral bleeding and brain aneurysm.
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.
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If Your Sinus Headache Wont Go Away Call Kaplan Sinus Relief
Dr. Michael Kaplan of Kaplan Sinus Relief is a leading practitioner of the balloon sinuplasty treatment, and he often trains other doctors on the technique. Patients who visit Kaplan Sinus Relief also have the option to add IV Sedation and/or TGS image-guided navigation to their surgery, which are services that help keep patients relaxed during the surgery and improve accuracy and safety, respectively.
You dont have to put up with a sinus headache that wont go away. Kaplan Sinus Relief can help you find relief from sinus headaches, congestion, and more. Call 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today.
Mixed Or Mixed Tension Migraine
This headache type has features of both migraine headache and tension headache.
- Sufferers describe the pain as dull and constant or throbbing and the severity may be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Other symptoms of migraine, including light and sound sensitivity or nausea and vomiting, may be present.
Cluster headaches can be triggered by alcohol or seasonal variation. Sinus headaches are triggered by a sinus infection.
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What Types Of Headache Are Serious Or Dangerous
All headaches are unpleasant and some, such as headache from medication misuse, are serious in the sense that when not tackled properly they may never go away. However, a few headaches are signs of serious underlying problems. These are uncommon – in many cases very rare.
Dangerous headaches tend to occur suddenly, and to become progressively worse over time. They are more common in older people. They include the following:
Can A Sinus Headache Cause A Migraine
A common misconception is that sinusitis triggers migraines , but that isnt likely to happen. Sinusitis originates in a different region of the body than migraine and they are not necessarily connected However, the two conditions do share the same nerves that can be stimulated, and they do both produce many of the same chemicals in the body during an attack. There are certain signs that can help distinguish between the two and knowing this can help facilitate appropriate treatment of the condition that is present.
Dr. Ailani explains how easy it can be to mistake a migraine for a sinus headache:
With a sinus infection, you will often have a fever, bright colored mucus from the nose in large amounts, and pain that is worse when you lay down . You may notice the pain is worse in the morning after sleeping for several hours. Occasionally, someone may have a chronic sinus infection, something that has been going on for several months. In this case, a person may not have any symptoms, and may not have a headache either.
If you have a severe headache with sinus type symptoms and also have light or sound sensitivity, upset stomach, lack of appetite, and no fever, and you notice the pain resolves in 4-36 hours- this may be a migraine. If you notice the pain improves when laying in a dark, quiet room, or when taking over the counter pain medication, this again goes along with migraine.
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What Is The Prognosis For A Sinus Headache
Certain people develop chronic sinus inflammation and more long-standing symptoms associated with their sinusitis. Once the underlying condition is identified, preventive measures may be available and future recurrences of the sinus headache may be minimized. If the headache symptoms are not associated with inflammation of the sinuses, the underlying cause needs to be adequately addressed to relieve symptoms.
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
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What Is Sinus Headache
A true sinus headache, called rhinosinusitis, is rare. The cause is a viral or bacterial sinus infection characterized by thick, discolored nasal discharge. Youll get symptoms like possibly weaker smell or no smell, facial pain or pressure and commonly, fever. Facial pain and headache should resolve within seven days after viral symptoms improve or after successful treatment with antibiotics . If pain continues, then your diagnosis should be reconsidered.