Sinus Headache Treatment Suggestions From An Ent
If the sinus headache is minor, then at-home treatments might be sufficient to clear up the infection. However, because the majority of sinus infections are viral, doctors often recommend that patients start with home remedies to allow the symptoms to resolve on their own.
Home remedy recommendations include nasal irrigation to cleanse the sinuses and manage congestion, using a humidifier, over-the-counter decongestants , or applying a warm compress over the sinuses to manage pain and promote drainage.
When the symptoms of a sinus headache last for longer than a week or the symptoms continue to worsen, then it might be time to talk to an ENT about sinus treatments.
Medical treatments for a sinus headache can include prescriptions, such as decongestants, antihistamines, steroids, and/or mucolytics. The ENTs goal is to identify and treat the underlying cause. For example, reducing the allergy symptoms will often clear up the sinus headache symptoms if you have seasonal allergies.
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
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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Can You Have Sinus Pressure But No Congestion
Can you have sinus pressure but no congestion? And if you can, does this mean you have a sinus infection that requires special treatment? If not, exactly what can mimic a sinus infection?
Unfortunately, the answers to this slippery slope of questions arent always so cut and dry. In particular, with a headache like this, theres a chance that its not a sinus headache, but a migraine. The treatment and causes of a migraine and sinus pressure are very different, but the symptoms can overlap significantly. These overlapping symptoms can lead to confusion and leave people at a loss for which types of treatment to pursue.
If youre feeling sinus pressure without the typical influx of mucus, heres what you need to know.
Is It Possible To Have A Sinus Headache Without Congestion
If you arent experiencing sinus congestion with your headache symptoms, its unlikely that you have a sinus headache. Without congestion, the pain in your face and head area is likely caused by either a tension headache or a migraine.
Also, notice how your symptoms change depending on the position of your head. When you lay down or lean forward to pick something up, do you experience an increase in pressure and pain? This is because nasal congestion makes the pressure feel stronger when you are leaning down.
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Impact Of Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery On Facial Pain
The way FESS influences headache has been under investigation for a lengthy period, and such research may help to provide information on the putative links between sinonasal inflammation and facial pain. Lal stated that 66 of 211 patients undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery experienced pain relief. However, the population studied consisted of a mixture of cases referred from both ENT and neurology departments for sinus pressure or pain. The obstruction relinquished most often where the patient had received neurological input, either previously or concurrently. Indeed, 36% of cases, which had failed to improve on surgical intervention, were then given a primary diagnosis of headache disorder when reviewed by a neurologist. From research with more stringent inclusion criteria , the FESS success rate increases to 75-91.9% ,,,,. A study with a follow-up period of 7 to 8 years noted that 47% of the 51 cases included remained without headache throughout follow-up .
Some studies have looked at cases where FESS was carried out despite no endoscopic or CT confirmation of sinus pathology or anatomical anomaly. Boonchoo carried out FESS in 16 cases where headache existed, but CT findings demonstrated no anomaly. Ten of these ended up completely pain-free, while the remaining 6 had some degree of alleviation. In a similar vein, Cook et al. observed that 12 of 18 cases undergoing the procedure found it of benefit, although none saw their symptoms disappear completely.
What Causes A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection can be caused by several different things including:
Seasonal allergies A deviated septum: The septum is the part of the nose that divides it into right and left nostrils. Some people have crooked or deviated septums, which makes them more susceptible to sinus infections. Nasal polyps Respiratory tract infections
Sinus infections may be acute or chronic .
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Color Of Nasal Discharge With Colds
- The nasal discharge changes color during different stages of a cold. This is normal.
- It starts as a clear discharge and later becomes cloudy.
- Sometimes it becomes yellow or green colored for a few days. This is still normal.
- Colored discharge is common after sleep, with allergy medicines or with low humidity. Reason: all of these events decrease the amount of normal nasal secretions.
Key Differentiators Between Migraines And Sinus Headaches
So, how can you tell whats causing your headache? If youre struggling to identify whether your headache is a migraine or is caused by sinus pressure, the best thing you can do is to seek medical counsel.
However, the two clearest differences are the location of the headache and whether or not youre congested. If you experience the headache pain primarily on one side of your head, you may be more likely to have a migraine.
If youre not congested and have an extremely painful headache, you likely have a migraine. If you are congested and have an extremely painful headache, you may have either a migraine OR a sinus headache.
Another potential indicator is the color of your mucus. Is it clear? If so, you most likely have a migraine. Is it yellowish? If so, your headache is likely caused by sinus pressure.
To learn more about the differences between sinus headaches and migraines, check out our article: How Do I Know if I Have a Sinus Headache?
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Why Are Sinus Headaches And Migraines Confused For One Another
So, the answer to the question, Can you have sinus pressure but now congestion? is: not likely. But you can have a migraine whether youre congested or not, and this is where the main point of confusion arises.The root cause behind migraines is still up for debate. However the prevailing theory is that migraines are caused by neurological issues in the brain. Even so, the symptoms of sinus pressure can overlap with symptoms of a migraine. For example, patients suffering from either sinus pressure or migraines can experience drainage, watery eyes, and of course, facial pain.
It is a commonly held belief that people who experience migraines have pain on the one side or the otherof their head. While this idea is true for many individuals, many others experience pain in their cheeks and forehead ie, in the exact same place where you would experience sinus pressure. And some people experience sinus pressure on one side of their head.People who experience migraines also frequently claim that factors such as weather changes, allergies, and congestion can act as triggers for their headaches contributing factors also shared with sinus headaches.
Reasons For Sinus Pressure Without Congestion:
The sinusitis may be due to a bacterial infection which lasts longer than ten days and those who last longer for weekends are due to fungal infection. Dizziness caused due to fluid build-up in the ear.
This fluid puts pressure on the eardrum and inner ear. It affects the vestibule labyrinth and hence causes vertigo and dizziness.
Another symptom that many known with the dizziness is nausea, and this is related to the unsteadiness.
For a sinus infection that causes dizziness fatigue, it is likely a substantial infection. Dizziness is an unusual symptom and can lead to difficulties. Thats why it should be treated by a physician punctually. Sinus pressure and dizziness without congestion are one of the basic necessity of any sinus patient.
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Complications Of Frontal Sinusitis
Chronic frontal sinusitis is the term for the condition if symptoms last longer than 12 weeks. The underlying cause is more likely to be ongoing inflammation than an infection.
It is important to see a doctor to determine the cause of long-term frontal sinusitis, as tumors and cancers can develop in the sinus cavities.
Bacterial sinus infections get worse rather than better with time. Symptoms can include increased discharge, pain, and a fever.
If a person does not receive treatment, a bacterial infection that causes frontal sinusitis could spread to other organs of the head and neck, including the brain, and cause deep tissue infections that may be life-threatening.
Monitor symptoms closely and consult a doctor immediately if the following signs or symptoms are present:
- severe, persistent headaches
Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
Common symptoms of sinus infections may include:
- Runny nose or cold symptoms that last longer than seven to 10 days
- Complaints of drip in the throat from the nose
- Keep chronic diseases under control
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay current on your vaccines
- Wash your hands frequently
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Use Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil can help relieve sinus congestion. Possessing strong anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, this natural tonic may be what you need to get rid of sinus pressure.
Eucalyptus oil has emerged as an effective and safe treatment for sinusitis, mainly due to one key component: 1,8-cineole.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to hot water and inhale the steam. Repeat the process a few times until you get complete relief.
- Also, dilute a few drops of eucalyptus oil with some carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil. Rub this gently on the affected areas around the nose, forehead, temples, and cheeks.
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
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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.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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Five Ways To Relieve Sinus Pressure
The pain, facial pressure and congestion of sinus infections affect more than 26.9 million Americans roughly 11 percent of adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most sinus infections, also called sinusitis, do not need to be treated with antibiotics, and will usually go away within 7-10 days.
One of the most annoying symptoms is the sinus pressure around the eyes, head and cheeks. Fortunately, there are several home remedies and medications that can help provide relief.
What Is A Migraine Attack
Migraine is a common primary headache disorder . In essence they are the result of a neurological malfunction that is thought to originate in the brain stem. Medical scientists and researchers still arent exactly sure what causes a migraine attack.
Leading theories relate to hyperexcitability within certain areas of the brain or a disorder from the brain stem which triggers the migraine attack.
The brain stem is a small but extremely important part of the brain. It allows the nerve connections of the motor and sensory system to pass from the brain to the body. This controls bodily sensations and movement.
At the start of an attack, chemical changes are thought to develop in the brainstem which triggers a series of reactions causing the brain to respond abnormally to otherwise normal signals. The result from this hypersensitive response could be migraine.
Interestingly, at least 50% of people who experience migraine still have not been diagnosed.
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Causes Of Sinus Congestion
- Viral Sinus Infection. Part of the common cold. A cold infects the lining of the nose. It also involves the lining of all the sinuses.
- Bacterial Sinus Infection. A problem when the sinus becomes infected with bacteria. . It starts as a viral sinus infection. Main symptoms are increased sinus pain or return of fever. The skin around the eyelids or cheeks may become red or swollen. Thick nasal secretions that last over 14 days may point to a sinus infection. This can occur in younger children.
- Allergic Sinus Reaction. Sinus congestion often occurs with nasal allergies . Sneezing, itchy nose and clear nasal discharge point to this cause.
Care Advice For Sinus Congestion
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