How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches
Pain levels depend on how high someones blood pressure is. Hypertension headaches may range from mild to severe and are regulated by how much blood is reaching the brain. During times of high blood pressure, blood vessels running through the tissue under the skull constrict or tighten, leading to headache development.
It is also possible for blood pressure medication to cause headaches. Checking blood pressure during headaches can be a good indicator of whether it is caused by abnormal blood pressure levels.
Some medical professionals believe that having a headache due to high blood pressure is a sign of a hypertensive crisis, which is when blood pressure spikes to critical levels.
How Sinus Pressure Headaches Happen
David Cuthbertson, MD
Youve probably experienced a headache before. Whether its a migraine, cluster headache, tension headache, or some other type of headache, none are pleasant.
Sinus pressure headaches are a common type of headache occurring in the face that many people live with for years because they dont know there are long-term solutions. What if you could prevent sinus pressure headaches and avoid all the pain and discomfort in the first place?
Lets look at what sinus pressure headaches are and explore five potential treatments to relieve their uncomfortable symptoms.
Compliance With Ethical Standards
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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How To Treat Sinusitis
Applying heated pads or warm compresses to the face may help. Some people may also find relief by taking allergy medications or over-the-counter pain relievers.
Antibiotics some sinus infections, but only if they are due to bacteria. They cannot help with viral infections.
Some people may develop a chronic form of sinusitis that may require a consultation with a specialist.
The middle ear makes fluid itself to keep itself clean. This fluid should drain into the throat through an opening. However, if the throat becomes swollen, the opening swells shut. Therefore, the fluid collects, which can be painful. It may then become infected.
Symptoms may come on suddenly, and most people develop a fever. A person may also have pressure in the head, ringing in the ears, or dizziness.
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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Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
- Reduce the consumption of unsaturated fats, especially red meat. These foods contribute to high blood pressure levels.
- Lose weight. Excess weight can increase blood pressure.
- Boost your metabolism. This helps to increase blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure risk.
- Minimize stress. A contributing factor for the development of high blood pressure and increased frequency of hypertension headaches.
Making changes to how you live can be difficult. But by starting with only minor changessuch as losing a pound a week or just being more aware how much salt is in the food you eatyou will be on the right track to making sure your blood pressure is under control.
However, not all aspects of health are within our control and there may be a time when the care of a trained medical professional will be required. There are great anti-hypertensive medications available that do a great job at keeping blood pressure normal.
Treatment For Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
Some aspects of the treatment for sinusitis and sinus headache are not all that different from migraine treatments. The treatment goals are:
- To reduce inflammation
- To facilitate drainage of the nasal passages
- To identify any underlying causes and eliminate them
- In the case of chronic sinusitis, reduce the number of attacks or flare-ups
These are very similar to migraine treatment goals: reduce the pain of the attack, facilitate the treatment of comorbidities or symptoms that compound the discomfort, identify any triggers and eliminate them, and in the case of chronic migraine, reduce the number of attacks.
Sinusitis treatments include a combination of symptom relief and addressing the cause. They may include:
- Oral, nasal, or injected corticosteroids
- Saline nasal irrigation
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and pain
- Environmental changes such as a humidifier or dehumidifier in the home
In cases where a sinus migraine or sinus headache is present, treating the symptoms and condition will usually relieve the headache.
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Signs Of A Sinus Headache
Usually, the pain associated with a sinus headache occurs in a very specific area of the face, often by the eyes, forehead and cheeks. Along with feeling pain similar to a standard headache, people suffering from sinus headaches often also feel pain when they touch their faces.
The symptoms of a sinus headache can be more severe or worse under certain conditions. For example, some people notice that their symptoms are most noticeable when the weather is humid or cold. Changes in pressure, which affect the pressure in the sinus cavities, can also make the pain of the headaches worse. Some people feel more pain if they put their head down, turn to the left or right quickly, or if they fly while suffering from a sinus headache.
In some instances, a person may experience cold symptoms along with a sinus headache. Its not uncommon for a person to have a runny nose or congestion at the same time as the headache, for instance.
Why Do We Misdiagnose Migraine As Sinus Headache
Research studies show common sinus symptoms occur with migraine. In one study, 45% of migraine patients had at least one symptom of either nasal congestion or watery eyes. Migraine is also underdiagnosed and undertreated, meaning that a self-diagnosis of migraine is less likely.
A study involving almost 3,000 patients was important in evaluating the frequent complaint of sinus headache. In this study, the participants had at least six sinus headaches in the six months prior to entrance into the study. They had neither a migraine diagnosis nor treatment with a migraine-specific medication. What were the results? Eighty-eight percent of the participants had migraine and not sinus headaches.
Another study, called the American Migraine Study II, showed that many people who were diagnosed with migraine thought they had sinus headache. Significantly, there were almost 30,000 study participantsonly about 50% who were diagnosed with migraine knew they had migraine before the study. The most common misdiagnosis was sinus headache.
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How Might They Be Treated
Both migraines and sinus headaches may be treated with various medications. Some patients respond well to over-the-counter headache remedies such as aspirin, acetaminophen , and naproxen sodium . Triptans like sumatriptan and frovatriptan may provide relief by blocking by blocking pain pathways in the brain. Anti-nausea medications may also be helpful. Caffeine combination drugs and glucocorticoids are sometimes prescribed, although these medications have certain side effects associated with them that usually limits use.
In some instances, sinus inflammation may make symptoms associated with other types of headaches worse. If this is the case, treatment usually involves addressing the sinus-related symptoms and the additional symptoms related to the headaches. For example, if a patient has migraine symptoms aggravated by sinus congestion, treatment would involve standard migraine remedies plus efforts to clear the sinuses.
Dr. Edward Kuan is fellowship-trained rhinologist. His expertise is in sinus, nose, and skull base surgical disorders. Together with the expert team at UC Irvine Healths Department of Otolaryngology, Dr. Kuan provides unmatched care.
Drilling Bamboo Acupressure Point
Drilling bamboo points are located at the indentations on either side of the spot where the bridge of your nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows. To use these pressure points to treat headaches:
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Headaches
You can ask a pharmacist about:
- the best painkiller to take, if you’re not sure which is suitable for you
- what to do if you’re pregnant some medicines are not recommended in pregnancy
- medicines for sleep problems like insomnia if you’re having trouble sleeping and you think it may be causing your headaches
- is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities
What Triggers Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches are usually triggered by an infection, particularly after a viral upper respiratory infection or cold. This happens because the infection produces thick mucus that can clog the sinus cavities.
The sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. The largest sinus cavity is about an inch across, while others are much smaller. The two largest cavities are located near your cheekbones and the low-center area of your forehead. Pain felt during a sinus headache is usually in these two areas.
The main function of sinus cavities is to produce mucus that moisturizes the inside of our nose. This mucus layer protects the nose from pollutants, bacteria, dust, and dirt.
However, when mucus becomes too thick to pass through the cavities, it can get clogged or even infected. This leads to thick, discolored nasal mucus, a decreased sense of smell, and pain in the cheek, forehead, or upper teeth.
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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.
How Is Sinus Headache Prevented
If you have reoccurring headaches as a symptom of sinusitis or seasonal allergies, you may need to consider prescription medication to manage the condition.
Lifestyle changes to reduce congestion, like avoiding allergens and incorporating aerobic exercise into your routine, might decrease how many headaches you get.
In cases of chronic sinusitis, a nasal surgery like a balloon sinuplasty might be the only way to stop getting more sinus headaches.
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Is There Really A Sinus Migraine
Technically, the answer is no. There are migraines and there are sinus headaches. They are not the same, but some people have coined the phrase sinus migraine to make the distinction that their migraines seem to have a sinus component. They may be familiar enough with migraines that they know the typical symptoms, so they rule it out because their headaches dont fit that mold. The truth is, there are many different types of migraines and headaches and they often have very similar, if not identical, symptoms.
Dr. Ailani explains, Migraine pain can be located in the temples or back of the head, but often is in or around the eye and can, on occasion, be located under the eye, around the nose, and into the jaw. The reason for this is that the nerve that causes facial sensation and sinus sensation and the one that also causes facial and sinus pain, are one and the same, the trigeminal nerve.
She continues, When this nerve is turned on, you can experience pain- which can be all different types such as pulsating, throbbing, pressure, searing, jabbing, tingling, and burning, anywhere in your head and face. This nerve also connects to other nerves at the back of the neck and in the sinuses. When one nerve decides to be turned on, other connected nerves can follow- where there is a party, all like to join in!
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Migraines Tension Headaches And Tmj
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. They occur when overworked or tense muscles experience pain because of their exertion or put pressure on nearby nerves and other tissues.
Migraines are not fully understood, but they seem to be related to excessive stimulation of certain nerves that trigger a complex response in the vascular system of the brain. TMJ starts as an imbalance in the jaw, but it can lead to excess muscle tension in the muscles of the head, contributing to tension headaches. Tension headaches can serve as a trigger for migraines.
TMJ can also trigger migraines through jaw pain or by causing pressure on certain nerves, especially the trigeminal nerve, which is a known trigger point for migraines. It should be noted that sinus inflammation can also serve as a migraine trigger, and people with migraines often get more of them during allergy season.
To get the best possible migraine and headache treatment, its important to determine the actual cause of your headache. If you have persistent headaches that resist treatment, you should be evaluated for TMJ to find out whether it might be the cause. For a TMJ evaluation in Philadelphia, please call for an appointment with our dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell today.
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Headache Attributed To Disorders Of The Nose Or Paranasal Sinuses
The diagnosis of pain that results from acute sinus inflammation is rarely difficult. A prior history of sinus inflammation or respiratory allergies is often elicited. In general, the pain is of low to moderate intensity and is present on a daily basis. The pain usually is localized to the frontal or maxillary area, and there is tenderness to percussion over the affected sinus. The pain is often worsened by bending forward and may be accentuated by blowing the nose or sneezing. Symptoms of nasal stuffiness are usually present, and mucopurulent drainage from the nostrils may be seen. If the nasal passages are blocked, use of a nasal decongestant can be useful diagnostically and often results in discharge. In doubtful cases, a simple plain film of the sinuses or an opinion from an otolaryngologist should be obtained.
Sphenoid mucoceles may invade the orbital apex, resulting in ocular motility disturbances or optic neuropathy. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma has a propensity to invade the base of the skull by traveling along neural foramina.39 These tumors may cause ocular motility disturbances, most commonly sixth cranial nerve palsy, facial numbness or pain, or decreased hearing as a result of closure of the eustachian tube. These tumors can be missed easily on plain films and require computed tomography or MRI for early detection.
Steven J. Scrivani, … Noshir R. Mehta, in, 2012
What Tests Diagnose The Causes Of A Sinus Headache
The health-care professional will likely begin by taking a history of the symptoms to help come to the diagnosis. Contributing factors in the development of sinusitis and headache may include a recent cold or upper respiratory tract infection, history of smoking, environmental allergies to dust or molds, as well as recent airplane travel, swimming or SCUBA diving, or other activities involving air pressure changes within the facial sinuses.
Physical examination may reveal tenderness to percussion, or tapping, over the affected sinus that reproduces the pain. Examination of the ears may reveal a serous otitis, or fluid levels behind the eardrum in the middle ear, that may suggest drainage problems in the face and sinuses. Examination of the nose may reveal swollen nasal passages and discharge. Evaluation of the mouth and teeth may find a source of infection, and the back of the throat may be examined for signs of postnasal drainage.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches
Caused by a viral or bacterial sinus infection, sinus headaches are relatively rare. Their symptoms include:
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.
How Are Tension Headaches Diagnosed
Tension headaches are mainly diagnosed based on the symptoms you report. A thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions.
Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your healthcare provider helps make an accurate diagnosis.
Questions commonly asked during the exam may include:
- When do headaches occur?
- What is the location of the headache?
- What do the headaches feel like?
- How long do the headaches last?
- Have there been changes in behavior or personality?
- Do changes in position or sitting up cause the headache?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you have a history of stress?
- Have you had a head injury?
If the history suggests tension headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further testing may be needed. But, if the headache is not found to be the main problem, then other tests may be needed to determine the cause such as:
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