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.
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.
How Sinus Infection Headaches Feel
Its easy to confuse sinus headaches with other types of headaches, such as a migraine headache. According to statistics, around 90 percent of migraine headaches get misdiagnosed as sinus infection headaches. Thats because it causes a steady and throbbing pain in the head. However, you can quickly determine that youre experiencing a sinus headache if the pain also affects the face, nose bridge, and cheeks. You can also look out for other symptoms of sinus headaches such as:
- Pain when you try to tilt your head downwards
- Stuffy nose with green or yellow-green colored mucus
- Pain or pressure on your browbones and forehead
- Achy teeth or jawbones
- Facial muscle stiffness or inflammation
Most patients seeking remedies for sinus headaches report that their symptoms last for a few hours but sometimes stretch for days. If the problem stems from a viral or bacterial infection, you can expect less severe headaches and other symptoms once the illness clears. You might also be able to speed up your healing process with natural remedies like upper cervical care chiropractic.
If youre unsure whether the headaches stem from a sinus infection, you can schedule a visit to your doctor. Besides doing a physical checkup, your primary doctor may also run additional tests like brain scans depending on the other reported symptoms.
Read Also: Sinus Infection Drugs Over The Counter
How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Headache
The best way to treat a sinus headache is to help get rid of the mucus in the sinuses. Most sinus infections are caused by viruses that will go away on their own. However, there are some things you can do to help with the symptoms while waiting, like:
Placing a warm compress, like a towel soaked in warm water, over the painful area
Using saline nasal sprays, which keep the inner part of the nose moist
Breathing humidified air, which can also help keep the nasal passages moistened
People often wonder if they need an antibiotic for a sinus infection. Most of the time the infection is caused by a virus, so antibiotics wont help and, even worse, could put you at risk of side effects, like allergic reactions or more severe, antibiotic-resistant infections.
It can be challenging to figure out if a sinus infection is from bacteria. Usually, infections that last over 10 days, or have symptoms that start to worsen after initially getting better, might be caused by bacteria. Some of the symptoms of a bacterial infection are:
Severe pain or pressure
Discolored nasal discharge
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:
Recommended Reading: Best Relief For Sinus Pain And Pressure
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
In the first two weeks of a sinus infection, patients may use saline sprays, over-the-counter steroid sprays like Flonase, and over-the-counter decongestants.
After 10 days, if the drainage is still colored, an antibiotic is likely necessary. Theres no homeopathic alternative to antibiotics. However, saline spray, topical steroid sprays, and decongestants work well with antibiotics to clear most infections.
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.
You May Like: Whats The Difference Between Allergies And Sinus
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.
Treatment For Sinusitis From A Gp
If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:
- steroid nasal sprays or drops â to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
- antihistamines â if an allergy is causing your symptoms
- antibiotics â if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and you’re very unwell or at risk of complications
You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.
A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you:
- still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
- keep getting sinusitis
- only have symptoms on 1 side of your face
They may also recommend surgery in some cases.
Read Also: Constant Allergies And Sinus Problems
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.
Okay Well What Does A Sinus Headache Feel Like
Again, because of the placement of your sinuses, the pain is above the eyes, between the eyes, or over the cheekbones, says Dr. Namdar. In addition to that pain, patients might also feel tenderness over the affected sinuses, says Dr. Bassett. More symptoms of sinus headaches include Additionally, post-nasal drainage, congestion, discharge, as well as oral, facial or dental pain can occur with an infection, such as sinusitis, Dr. Bassett adds.
And, interestingly, the severity of a sinus headache might differ depending on the time of day. Some sufferers suggest their headache may be more significant earlier in the day (perhaps due to collection of mucus from during the nighttime, says Dr. Bassett.
If you don’t have a runny nose, fever, bad breath , you’re likely suffering from a migraine rather than a sinus headache, per the American Migraine Foundation.
You May Like: Best Medicine For Runny Nose And Sinus Pressure
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
Treatment For Chronic Sinus Headaches
Individuals suffering from sinus headaches who have sought treatment from a primary physician with little success may find it beneficial to seek other treatment options from a specialist. Although primary care physicians can often help patients with occasional sinus headaches, an ENT is better suited to helping patients with chronic sinus problems. Treatment for chronic sinus headaches can provide significant relief for those who suffer from them and make their daily lives much more enjoyable.
Also Check: What Medicine Helps Relieve Sinus Pressure
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.
Your Sinus Headache May Not Be What You Think
Nearly everyone experiences a headache at some point, and the pain can range from mild to debilitating.
Sometimes, headaches are accompanied by pain and pressure in your brow and forehead, and cause nasal symptoms. Many people associate sinus and nasal symptoms with a sinus infection, also called sinusitis, or with an upper respiratory infection, a cold. They may say that they are experiencing a sinus headache. But sinus and nasal symptoms often can signal something else: a migraine headache.
The term “sinus headache” is not an actual medical diagnosis. Studies show that 90% of people with symptoms of a sinus headache are experiencing migraine headaches.
Sinusitis or migraine?
Migraines and headaches from sinusitis are easy to confuse because the signs and symptoms of the two types of headaches may overlap. Also, migraine headaches affect people differently and symptoms can change over time. This is why many who have had migraine headaches in the past are surprised when they begin having sinus and nasal symptoms with a migraine headache.
Sinusitis, however, usually isn’t associated with nausea or vomiting, nor is it aggravated by noise or bright light all common features of migraines.
These are a few ways you can tell whether your sinus and nasal symptoms are part of a sinus infection or part of a migraine headache:
- Confusion or trouble understanding speech
Recommended Reading: What Medicine Do You Take For Sinus Infection
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.
Excessive Consumption Of Msg
MSG or monosodium glutamate is a staple in some kitchens. People commonly add it to their food to enhance the flavor. However, not many people know that it can trigger migraines or headaches. It tends to dilate the blood vessels and stimulate the brains nerve endings, causing you to experience worse pain.
Don’t Miss: Good Nasal Spray For Sinus Infection
What A Sinus Headache Feels Like
Headache pain associated with pressure in the facial area is the most common sign that you are experiencing a sinus headache. Not only do you have a headache, but you also notice pain symptoms in the sinus areas specifically.
The location of this sinus pain depends on the particular sinuses that are affected. Sinus cavities are located in the upper cheek area, behind the eyes, and in the forehead behind and above the eyebrows
Not only do you have pain and pressure in these areas, but you will likely notice that the sinuses are sensitive to the touch. Sometimes the pain radiates into other parts of the face, including the back of the head. Patients also experience dental pain at times.
Pay attention to how your jaw feels because you might notice an aching sensation or a sense of fatigue.
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 .
Don’t Miss: Cold Medicine For Sinus Drainage
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine
The exact cause of migraine isnt known. Its believed that changes in levels of chemicals that are produced by the brain, such as serotonin, may affect how the nervous system regulates pain. Genetic and environmental factors may also play a role in causing migraine.
The symptoms of a migraine attack can include:
- pain thats moderate to severe, often characterized as throbbing or pulsing
- pain that typically impacts one side of your head, but can also affect both sides
- sensitivity to lights and sounds
- nausea and vomiting
- pain that gets worse with physical activity
Additionally, migraine can also impact the area of your sinuses. When this happens, you may feel pain in your face or around your eyes.
An found that 45.8 percent of people with migraine had symptoms that impacted their nose and eyes, such as:
- a runny nose
According to research, many people who have pain in the sinus region are actually experiencing migraine or another type of headache. Sinus headache is the most common incorrect diagnosis given to someone who really has migraine.
An found that 88 percent of participants with a history of sinus headache actually met the clinical criteria for migraine.
So, how do you know if youre experiencing sinus pain or migraine?
When trying to tell the two conditions apart, there are a couple of important things to consider, including symptoms and timing.
What The Treatment For Sinus Infections
In order to eradicate the infection, youll need an antibiotic.
Some people continue to experience a lingering sinus infection even after antibiotics. Sinuses are considered a closed cavity. Removing infection from a closed cavity can require more prolonged antibiotic usage compared to infections that occur in an open cavity .
A sinus infection might require 2-4 weeks of antibiotics plus additional methods to encourage drainage of the sinuses. For a sinus infection to clear completely, we often recommend saline sprays, topical steroid sprays , and decongestants in addition to an antibiotic.
Don’t Miss: Alka Seltzer Plus Sinus Cold And Cough