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.
Irrigate To Relieve Sinus Pressure
Salt water irrigation is the best way to cleanse the nose and sinuses this can help prevent or relieve sinus pain. You can use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray, but I recommend using a sinus rinse bottle, neti pot, or bulb syringe irrigation kit that you can get at the drugstore, advises Das.
Try this commonly-used, easy-to-make nasal irrigation solution with your own sinus irrigation kit: Fill a clean 8-ounce glass with distilled or sterilized lukewarm water. Do not use tap water unless it has been boiled for at least 1 minute . Add 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda. And be sure to clean all equipment and make a fresh batch of solution each time you use your kit.
Alternate Hot And Cold Compresses
“Reclining with a hot washcloth over your eyes and nose can help warm the nasal passages and loosen secretions,” says Das. You can also alternate warm and cold compresses to relieve sinus pain and sinus pressure. Heres how to do it: Start by placing a hot towel or washcloth across your sinuses for about three minutes. Then place a cold compress across your sinuses for 30 seconds. Alternate two more times, and repeat the treatment about four times a day.
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What Causes Sinus Pain
Sinus pain results from an inflammation of the sinus cavities, a condition we all know as sinusitis.
When your sinuses are inflamed, it swells up and blocks your airways. Aside from interfering with normal mucus drainage, it also causes a build-up of pressure in your sinus cavities. This intense pressure causes the pain you feel and the muscles in your face to become swollen and tender.
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Should You Have Sinus Surgery
Chronic sinus problems can be linked to problems with your nasal passages, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. If there is a specific structural issue that is causing your chronic sinusitis or sinus headaches then an ENT specialist may be able to correct it surgically. In order to find out if sinus surgery is a good idea, youll need to be assessed by an ENT specialist. The doctor will check that surgery is possible and then discuss the risks and benefits with you in detail. Having the procedure could permanently improve your breathing and prevent sinus problems.
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Keep Your Body Hydrated
Staying hydrated is beneficial for your general health and helps to flush out toxins from your body.
Drinking plenty of fluids also helps to thin nasal secretions, hence making your sinus passages less congested. When you are dehydrated, your sinus passages tend to dry out, leading to increased pressure, discomfort and pain.
If you feel bloated from drinking lots of water, or dont enjoy drinking water in general, there are other types of fluids you can take to help you stay hydrated.
Drinking more soup during meal times, having tea or sucking on ice cubes can also help you stay hydrated. Additionally, increasing your intake on water-based vegetables and fruits will help to increase fluid intake in your diet.
Just as there are things that help hydrate, there are also some that do the opposite. For example, caffeine and alcohol dehydrate your body and should be avoided.
Fried and oily foods are also not the best options if you have sinus, and you should stay away from unhealthy food in general as they could worsen your condition.
Its important to be mindful of what you eat and drink to speed up your recovery from sinus. Healthy lifestyle habits like drinking more water and eating healthy, even while youre well, will also go a long way towards benefiting your overall health.
Over The Counter Painkillers
Taking painkillers might not tackle the cause of your sinus headache, but it will give you temporary pain relief. Over-the-counter painkillers are an easy solution because they are readily available and effective. Medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can give you the pain relief that you need. Make sure to use them according to the label so that you can ensure you’re using them safely.
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Take As Directed And Heed To Warning Labels
Regardless of the OTC pain reliever you choose to take, its important you only take the instructed dosage. Too much medicine can lead to medication overuse or rebound headaches.
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How Do You Diagnose Sinus Headaches Caused By Migraines
Sinus headaches are most likely due to migraines or tension headaches. Migraines are diagnosed by symptoms, including the frequency and severity of symptoms, family history, and by physical exam. Migraines can also include nausea and vomiting. These episodes may be triggered by hormonal changes, lack of sleep, certain foods or alcohol or caffeine, stress, or environmental changes like weather, altitude changes, or allergens. Many patients with migraines have family members who also experience migraine headaches.
If you have unusual or severe symptoms, additional tests such as an MRI of the brain may be ordered to rule out more serious conditions that can cause headache pain, such as tumors or bleeding around the brain. If you have repeated episodes of sinus pain and pressure, a nasal endoscopy or imaging such as an MRI or CT scan can determine if sinus pain or pressure is due to a sinus infection or other sinus pathology. A normal sinus CT scan while you have symptoms could help rule out sinusitis, and determine if migraines, headaches, or other causes of facial pain and pressure are causing the sinus symptoms.
Other causes of facial pain and pressure can include temporomandibular joint syndrome, clenching or grinding your teeth, trigeminal nerve pain, temporal arteritis , dental infection, or other neurologic causes of facial pain.
Use A Saline Nasal Spray
Saline nasal sprays work very much like the salt irrigation method weve just looked at, and you can easily buy them at a pharmacist or health and wellness stores.
One big advantage nasal sprays have over the salt irrigation method is that a nasal spray is more compact and easy to carry around as they come simply as a squirt or pump bottle. Additionally, you wont need to go through the hassle of mixing your own saline solution. These nasal sprays also tend to also have a longer shelf life than saline solutions.
Heres a step-by-step breakdown of how to use a saline nasal spray:
- Put yourself in an upright position
- Gently blow your nose to clear mucus
- Close one of your nostrils and place the spray bottle under the nostril to which you are applying to
- Make sure you aim away from the septum so as not to damage it
- Inhale slightly through the nostril while you gently squeeze the spray applicator
One downside to saline nasal sprays is that they can be costly in the long run if you use them on a regular basis.
Furthermore, while saline nasal sprays can help ease symptoms, they do not address the root cause of your sinus issues. So if youre experiencing sinus problems because of allergies, you should look into removing or avoiding any allergens youre exposed to.
Essential Oils For Sinus Headache
You might be familiar with the phrase that here is an essential oil for everything. In which case, it will not come as a surprise the several essential oils are very effective in treating sinus headaches. Some of the most effective essential oils include peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil.
Peppermint oil is high in menthol and has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties perfectly suited to relieve sinus congestion as well as headaches. It also has a wonderful cooling effect and works as a natural pain killer.
Eucalyptus oil contains a high concentration of cineole which helps relieve inflammation and free the sinuses of congestion.
Tea tree oil is one of the most versatile of all the essential oils. It has powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can cure the headache itself and treat any underlying infections.
Thyme, clove and cinnamon essential oils are other excellent choices.
How to use essential oil to treat sinus headaches
One very effective method is to add a few drops of your chosen oil to your steam inhalation as described above. If you are on the go and don have the time to prepare a seam inhalation, you can simply inhale a few drops of your oil from a handkerchief whenever you feel the need. Another method is to dilute your essential oil in a good quality base oil like coconut or olive oil and then simply massage it into your affected regions like the cheeks, forehead and sides of the nose.
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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.
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.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.
If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.
If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
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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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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.
Differentiate Between Sinus Headache And Migraine Headache
Many people who assume they are having sinus pain due to sinus pressure are actually having a migraine headache. Migraine pain can involve the same nerves as the sinus cavities and is frequently accompanied by nasal congestion, nausea, and aggravation by bright light. “If sinus pain is caused by a migraine, the best natural treatment is lying down in a dark, quiet room,” advises Das.
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Where Are The Sinuses Located
The sinuses are named according to their location in the skull bones:
- The frontal sinuses are located over the forehead, above the eyes on both sides.
- The maxillary sinuses are located over the cheek area, in the bone known as the maxilla, located under the eyes on both sides of the face.
- The ethmoid sinuses are located in the bone that divides the eyes and nose.
- The sphenoid sinuses are located in the sphenoid bone at the center of the skull, behind the eyes.
The sinuses are lined by mucous membranes that secrete fluid and are connected to the nasal cavity by small channels or ducts. The sinuses are sometimes collectively referred to as the paranasal sinuses because of their proximity to the nose.
Inflammation due to any cause can cause a buildup of fluid and increased sinus pressure, causing the typical symptoms of a sinus headache.
Is Ibuprofen Right For A Sinus Headache
Sometimes when you suffer from allergy or sinus congestion, you also have a headache that manifests as pain and pressure in your eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead. The pain may get worse upon bending over or lying down, and you may have additional symptoms including: runny nose, sore throat, cough and fatigue.
A sinus headache can be relentless and keep you from doing the things you need to do. So usually when people experience one, they seek relief as soon as they can. Often that relief comes in the form of ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . WebMD explains, It works by blocking your bodys production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation. This effect helps to decrease swelling, pain or fever.
You can purchase generic and name-brand ibuprofen , but you can also find it in a number of medications used for treating a variety of ailments, allergy and sinus-related and otherwise. For an extensive list of medications that contain ibuprofen, visit this page on Drugs.com.
There are also a high number of risks associated with using ibuprofen. Some of the minor side effects include:
- Sun sensitivity
If you experience any of these reactions severely and/or prolonged, stop taking the ibuprofen and seek immediate medical attention.
However, at CT Sinus Center, we offer a different solution.
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Treatment Options For Sinusitis
Most of the treatment options for sinusitis and sinus headaches are intended to give temporary relief from the symptoms when they occur:
- Mediation to reduce the inflammation
- Using a humidifier or nasal spray
- Drinking plenty of fluids
Although these treatments can help, they arent always effective for chronic sinusitis and they wont prevent your symptoms from coming back. If you often suffer from sinus infections or sinus headaches, you might be looking for a more permanent treatment.
Permanent cures for chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches are sometimes possible, but it can depend on the reasons why you are affected.
- If your sinusitis is linked to allergies, then you can try allergy testing to find out the cause and then take steps to avoid the trigger. Although this wont always be enough to prevent your symptoms from coming back, it can make a big difference.
- If your symptoms are linked to infections, then simple steps such as washing hands regularly and getting a flu shot can reduce the chances youll be affected again.
- If there is a physical reason why you are more susceptible to sinusitis, it may be possible to correct it surgically and prevent sinus problems in the future.