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.
What Are The Sinuses And What Do They Look Like
Sinuses of the face are cavities or spaces within the bones that help humidify the air and secrete mucus to help with air filtration. Additionally, they contribute to the strength of the skull and its ability to resist trauma. The sinus cavities also allow more resonance to be added to the voice.
The sinuses are often referred to as the paranasal sinuses because of their location and connection to the back of the nose. The sinuses develop as air sacs within the bones of the skull, which are named by their location.
- Frontal sinus: located above the eyes within the frontal bone of the skull
- Maxillary sinus: located beneath the eyes under the cheekbones within the maxilla bone of the face
- Ethmoid sinus: located in the ethmoid bone separating the eyes from the nose
- Sphenoid sinus: located in the sphenoid bone at the base of the skull
While infants do have sinuses, they are very poorly developed. The maxillary sinuses cannot be seen on an X-ray until 1 to 2 years of age and the frontal sinuses are not seen until age 5 or 6.
What Prescription Medications Treat A Sinus Headache Pain And Pressure
Headaches from allergies can be relieved with a prescription for nasal steroids sprays unless there is a contraindication. This may be helpful along with nasal saline rinses to decrease inflammation within the nasal passages and treat or prevent sinusitis.
If a bacterial infection is suspected, the health-care professional may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and at the same time make suggestions to treat the underlying inflammation. To establish the diagnosis of acute bacterial rhinosinusitis and the need for antibiotics, your doctor should confirm that symptoms of acute rhinosinusitis have been present for 10 days or are worsening. Symptoms should include pus-like nasal drainage, nasal obstruction, facial pain, or pressure. If the inflammation does not resolve before the antibiotic course is complete, the bacterial infection may recur.
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When Should I Seek Medical A Care For A Sinus Headache
- Sinus headaches and infections may sometimes be successfully treated at home .
- However, you should seek medical care if you are not sure what is causing your symptoms or if you have signs of a severe infection including high fever, symptoms that do not resolve with time, or if over-the-counter pain relievers are not effective in controlling the pain.
- You should also seek care if you notice swelling in the face that accompanies the pain, swelling around your eye or changes in vision, since this could be a sign of an abscess.
How Each Is Diagnosed
Anyone who wants to determine the cause of their headaches should make an appointment with their doctor. A doctor will ask about a personâs symptoms, including their frequency and severity and whether they are associated with certain triggers. A doctor will also take a detailed medical and family history.
Additionally, they may perform a neurological exam to test the following:
- mental status
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How Can I Treat A Sinus Migraine
To begin with, most sinus migraines are not caused by a sinus infection and should not be treated with antibiotics.
Women may seek out alternative methods in order to provide relief from sinus migraines. Acupuncture, biofeedback, and further relaxation techniques are acclaimed for helping women monitor any stress that could be triggering dreaded migraines. They may also look into craniosacral therapy and cervical spine alignment to further address any nervous system woes.
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation causing sinus migraines include optimizing your diet with antioxidants berries omega 3 antioxidant herbs like turmeric, rosemary, garlic, and cayenne to reduce oxidative stress. Also, avoiding triggers caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, etc. and setting up a regular sleep routine during periods of significant hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, like menses and ovulation, can reduce the amount and severity of headaches.
The aforementioned examples are just a few of the many treatments for headaches and migraines.
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What Is The Prognosis For A Sinus Headache
Most people with sinus headache recover completely, although many people may develop sinus headache again in the future.
Complications of sinus headache are not common. Rarely, an untreated sinus infection can erode through the bones and involve adjacent structures, including the eye socket or brain, potentially causing pain and swelling of the eye or symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis. Infection that spreads to the blood vessels in the area of the sinuses can cause inflammation and blood clots. The cavernous sinus is a collection of veins located near the sphenoid sinus that can potentially become infected and form blood clots.
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Can A Sinus Headache Be Prevented
- Good handwashing and hygienic practices can help prevent colds and upper respiratory infections.
- Smoking cessation can also decrease your risk of airway infections.
- For people with allergies, avoid allergic triggers to help prevent sinus infections.
- Keep the body well hydrated and humidify the air since these can help promote efficient drainage of fluids from the sinuses.
Treating Sinus Headaches And Migraines
Despite their similarities, sinus headaches and migraines may be treated differently. For sinus headaches, treating the underlying sinus infection can usually resolve the headache. Taking over the counter headache medications can also help with the pain and inflammation of sinus headaches.
Because migraines are more complex, they may not respond to conventional OTC pain relievers. While some prescription migraine medications are designed to provide relief once a migraine has started, others prevent them by addressing the underlying physiology
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Are These Your Symptoms
From those patients confirmed with a migraine diagnosis in the study:
- 83% noticed the weather affected their headaches
- 73% noticed seasonal variations in their headaches
- 62% said their headaches were triggered by allergies
- 56% had nasal congestion
- 25% had a runny nose
- 22% had red eyes
- 19% had watery eyes
You could be forgiven for thinking these symptoms are sinus related. They look a lot like the symptoms you might expect from a sinus infection so its no surprise that there is a significant amount of confusion between sinus headache and migraine.
Results found that 9 out of 10 patients in the study had migraine, not sinus headache.
Furthermore, the 100 patients from the study had seen an average of 4 physicians each and had gone on average 25 years without the correct diagnosis or significant relief.
Thats 25 years without significant relief and 4 physicians who had gotten the diagnosis wrong!
The lead investigator of the SAMS study Dr. Eross says It was hard to convince some of them that they actually suffered from migraine headaches, said Dr. Eross. Many were shocked.
One in ten people from the study knew they had migraine, but thought they had sinus headaches in addition. In reality they actually suffered two different types of migraine, one with sinus symptoms and one without, Dr. Eross noted.
Much of the pain or pressure is in the face, on both sides, so it doesnt occur to them that this might be a migraine. Dr Eross
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What Are The Best Sinus Headache Treatments
If youre suffering from headaches, they could have several different causes, including congestion in your sinuses. You may feel pain and pressure in your face due to sinusitis , and the first step toward effective treatment is an accurate diagnosis.
In this blog, board-certified ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Cecil Yeung will explain more about these types of headaches as well as sinus headache treatment.
Vitamins And Natural Treatments
Along with medical management and lifestyle changes, some doctors may also recommend you take certain vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements. These may include:
Always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements. They can help you determine if the supplement is safe for you and doesn’t interfere with any of your medications.
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Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
What most people dont realize is that true sinus headaches are actually quite uncommon and are often over diagnosed or misdiagnosed. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, often due to a bacterial infection. The sinuses are air pockets that are situated at certain points in the facial bones. Scientists are not certain the exact purpose of sinuses. Some believe that it helps enhance the voice through resonation while others believe it may be a way for the body to humidify the air during inhalation. They are usually empty but do have a very thin mucus layer along the walls.
There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses, meaning that there are two at the same points on the left and right. They are:
- Frontal sinuses: above the eyes just over the eyebrows
- Maxillary sinuses: on each side of the nose, in the cheekbone
- Ethmoid sinuses: between the eyes, under the bridge of the nose
- Sphenoid sinuses: behind the eyes and ethmoid sinuses
Inflammation of the sinuses can occur due to bacterial, viral, or fungal causes and can present in one of the sinus pair, or several. If there is an infection present, it is important that it is treated. Failure to properly treat a sinus infection can cause serious health risks and can create a propensity to develop sinus infections in the future.
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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Herbal Teas Have Multiple Headache Benefits
Tea can help with overall hydration, which in itself can prevent or relieve a headache, and depending on the type of tea, there are other benefits as well, according to Brown.
Peppermint can be effective in relieving sinus pressure, says Brown. Sinus congestion and pressure are common symptoms of a sinus headache, brought on by inflammation and swelling of the sinuses, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Peppermint oil is used as an essential oil for headache or migraine. You could put peppermint oil or fresh peppermint in a cup of hot water and inhale the steam and also drink the liquid, says Brown.
A study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that a drop of diluted peppermint oil dripped into the nose was effective in decreasing the intensity of headaches caused by migraine in about 42 percent of participants who tried it.
There is some evidence that ginger tea can help with a tension headache, according to Brown.
Also, a study published in Phytotherapy Research found that drinking a half teaspoon of powdered ginger in warm water helped reduce migraine severity.
Natural Remedies For Sinus Migraines And Headaches
It’s that time of the year again where seasonal allergies and sinus infections are in full swing. Sinus pressure causes inflammation of the sinuses that can ultimately lead to migraines and headaches for many people.
If you are one of the 39 million people who suffer from migraines, you are all too familiar with the pain and frustration that can come from this condition. Sinus migraines and headaches can result in issues including severe pain, nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light, and visual problems. Many people seek effective treatments to help relieve the pain of migraines. Fortunately, there are a number of all natural remedies for sinus migraines and headaches. Lets take a look at some of the most effective.
Youve likely heard of acupuncture before, an ancient technique that involves targeting areas with small needles. Acupressure is fairly similar only without the needles, something that many people will be relieved to here. Acupressure is a traditional wellness technique that is based upon the concept of life energy that flows through the bodys meridians.
Acupressure typically involves using your fingers to apply gentle but firm pressure to specific areas. Doing this can have various physiological effects that ultimately improve your symptoms. Acupressures effectiveness has actually been illustrated in a number of studies.
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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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Sinus Pain Has A Variety Of Causes
If your head is throbbing and you feel pressure around your eyes, cheeks, or forehead, you could have a sinus headache. “Many factors can cause a sinus headache,” says Subinoy Das, MD, chief executive officer and interim medical director for the U.S. Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research in Columbus, Ohio. The most important factor is swelling of the lining of the nose and sinuses, causing pressure and pain on in the face and head.
Symptoms of sinus pain and headache include pain associated with congestion from a common cold or allergies pain around your eyes, forehead, or over your teeth pain that is worse in the morning and pain that gets worse when you bend over. Some of the more natural methods of relieving sinus pain that reduce swelling, thin mucus secretions, and improve sinus drainage are often very helpful.
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Spice Up Your Diet To Ease Sinus Pressure
Many people find that spicy food like peppers or hot mustard opens up their nasal passages and gives them some relief from sinus pain. There is good evidence that capsaicin, which is the active ingredient found in chile peppers, is effective in relieving some types of pain, says Das. Capsaicin preparations have been investigated for the treatment of some facial pain syndromes and of rhinitis with promising results. But if you have the taste for them, you can try spicy foods to help with sinus discomfort.
Address Teeth Grinding Or Excessive Chewing
People have to eat to survive, and chewing is an important part of eating. However, studies suggest that excessive chewing might be linked to more headaches and even migraine. Researchers focused on gum-chewing for the study and found that tension headaches and migraine were more common in people who chewed gum frequently.
While you cant avoid eating, you may want to rethink chewing gum if you regularly experience migraine. You may also want to consider if you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, as this could have a similar effect.
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Sinus Headache Or Migraine
About 80% of “sinus headaches” are actually migraines with nasal symptoms. If you get frequent headaches, consult your healthcare provider or a headache specialist, since there are medications and prevention strategies specifically for migraines.
If you have intense sinus pain and pressure that gets worse when you are diving, flying in an airplane, driving up a steep mountain, or participating in other activities that involve steep altitude changes, it could be a condition called sinus barotrauma.
Although the pain will usually subside when these activities are discontinued, sinus barotrauma is a sign of an underlying sinus problem that needs to be evaluated by an otolaryngologist, a healthcare provider that specializes in conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.
What Kind Of Doctor Or Other Healthcare Professional Treats Sinus Headache
- Frequently, sinus headaches are managed by primary care physicians including those that specialize in internal medicine, family medicine, or pediatrics.
- For complicated cases, an ear, nose, and throat specialist may be consulted.
- With unusual infections, such as fungal infections, a specialist in infectious diseases may be consulted.
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