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.
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.
What Are Sinus Headache Treatment Options
When wanting to know how to treat a sinus headache, you’re likely to begin by seeing your family physician, particularly if youre experiencing chronic sinus headaches. They might refer you to a neurologist who specializes in migraines and headaches. Your physician might suggest treating the pain as well as the underlying causes of your sinus headache at the same time.
Some sinus headache treatment options include:
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How To Differentiate Between A Sinus Headache And A Migraine
Sinus headaches are accompanied by fever and thick, discolored nasal discharge. If your head or other parts of your face hurt but you dont have fever or congestion, and your nasal discharge is clear, its probably a migraine headache. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light.
What Causes Sinus Headaches
Sinus infections cause sinus headaches. Anything that makes mucus buildup in the sinuses can lead to a sinus infection, such as:
- The common cold is most often to blame.
- Seasonal allergies trigger mucus production.
- Nasal polyps, abnormal growths in the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps can block mucus from draining.
- Deviated septum, which is when the line of cartilage and bone down the center of the nose isnt straight. A deviated septum can prevent mucus from properly draining.
Too much mucus gives germs an opportunity to grow. As germs build up, they irritate the sinuses. In response, sinus tissue swells, blocking the passage of mucus. Swollen, irritated sinuses filled with liquid make your face feel tender and achy.
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Sinus Pain Home Remedies
There are a variety of home remedies that can help with the congestion to relieve sinus pain and pressure. Home remedies that you can try include:
- Drinking water: Staying hydrated can help to thin nasal secretions. Drinking plenty of fluids is also important in your recovery from viral illnesses.
- Neti pot: A neti pot is used to irrigate the nasal passageways and can help to control congestion and nasal secretions.
- Saline nasal sprays:Saline nasal sprays are sold over-the-counter at most drug stores. They are used to loosen nasal secretions and thereby decrease congestion by allowing it to drain. They can be used many times per day.
- Cool mist humidifier: The humidity loosens nasal secretions and the cold air can help to decrease inflammation. If you do not have access to a cool-mist humidifier, several hot, steamy showers per day can also help to loosen nasal secretions.
- Warm compress: Use a warm rag or heating pad over your sinuses to ease the pain. Do this several times per day.
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How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Pressure Headache
If you suffer from allergies, you may have congested sinuses as well, and this can lead to a sinus pressure headache. If youre wondering how to get rid of a sinus pressure headache, the first thing you need to understand is that these types of headaches can have several causes. Consequently, sinus headaches have a few different remedies.
Make The Sinus Pain And Mind
“Techniques that take advantage of the mind-body connection, such as deep breathing practices and relaxation exercises, can be very effective for relieving sinus pain,” notes Das. These practices rely on the mind’s ability to influence pain perception and are especially helpful with chronic or recurrent pain that is often seen with sinus pressure. Some examples include biofeedback, meditation, yoga, and hypnotherapy.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
- If there is an infection, fever, chills, feeling poorly, or achy muscles occur.
- Opaque or greenish-yellow nasal drainage.
- Postnasal drainage, in which secretions drip down to the back of the throat. This can cause a cough and sometimes people have signs like coughing up yellow sputum. However, they may actually be coughing up the drainage that has dripped down from the sinuses instead of coughing up phlegm from the lungs.
- Swollen lymph nodes may occur in the neck if an infection is present, which is no different than the swelling of lymph nodes that accompanies an acute sore throat or ear infection .
Tips To Help You Get Relief From Your Head Cold
Oh, your aching head! If youâre suffering from unbearable nasal congestion and headache, you probably have a head cold. The reason youâre so stuffed up? When you have a head cold, the membranes lining your nasal passages become swollen and produce excess mucus to flush out whatever is causing the irritation, whether itâs a virus or an allergen. You might experience pain in your forehead, under your eyes or in your upper teeth.
The key to getting rid of a head cold is to reduce sinus swelling and help mucus drain from your sinuses. Although it might seem counterintuitive, keeping your nasal passages moist is the best way to clear out congestionâdry sinuses will only result in further irritation.
Try these simple tips to clear up a head cold and help relieve headache and sinus pressure.
Since breathing in dry air will dry out your sinuses, itâs best to add moisture back into your environment by using a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer. You can also try breathing in steam from a hot shower. Doing so can help soothe the irritated membranes lining your nasal passages.
A great way to ease a headache and sinus pressure is to place a warm compress on your forehead and nose. If you donât have a compress, try moistening a washcloth with warm water and applying it to your face several times a day. This will help relieve nasal congestion and relieve your head cold symptoms.
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Remedies And Treatments For Sinus Infection Pain
There are several effective home remedies and treatments for sinus infection pain. Many remedies are available over the counter at a low cost.
Common sinus infection treatments include:
Many cases of sinusitis are linked to uncontrolled allergies. If you have allergies, taking medications like antihistamines and avoiding allergens can help treat your sinusitis symptoms.
If your sinuses are blocked, it can help to moisten your sinus cavities by inhaling steam. Doing so loosens the blocked mucus and allows it to drain. Try draping a towel over your head as you breathe in the vapor from a bowl of hot water. Alternatively, you can take a hot shower or bath, breathing in the warm, moist air.
This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help clear your sinuses. Nasal irrigation can clear sinus drainage from the nose to make it easier to breathe. It also thins the mucus in your nose, reduces inflammation, and washes away irritants in the nasal passages.
Saline rinses require sterile water, which can be either boiled or purchased. To avoid introducing additional bacteria to the nasal passages, keep your Neti Pot clean between uses.
Nasal Corticosteroid Sprays
Nasal corticosteroid sprays help prevent and treat inflammation and excess mucus in the nasal passages. They also treat polyps .
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
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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Remedies For Sinus Headaches
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Sinus headaches are caused by blocked sinuses, giving you pain and pressure around your sinuses, including between your eyes and above your nose. The pain can get worse when you move and the headache usually comes with other symptoms too, such as a stuffy nose or a sore throat. Experiencing a sinus headache can be tough, but there are remedies that can help you to deal with the problem.
Dealing with the pain you’re experiencing is important, but it can also be necessary to consider treatments for the underlying cause of your sinus headaches too. An ear, nose and throat doctor might prescribe certain medications or suggest treatments that you can try at home.
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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Hum Your Way To Sinus Pain Relief
“Some people report that humming for one hour improves sinus pain,” says Das. Researchers in Sweden have found that humming can keep your sinuses clear. How could that be possible? Humming may increase both airflow through your sinuses and the level of nitric oxide in your sinuses. The combination of nitric oxide and airflow may reduce your risk of sinusitis. So if you have a common cold or allergies, want to prevent a sinus infection, and know a happy tune that you don’t mind hearing for an hour, you may want to try a little humming.
Then What Is A True Sinus Headache
Your sinuses are air-filled sacs that connect to each side of your nose. It is their job to clean the air you inhale through your nostrils. A complex network of sinus cavities winds through your forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of your nose.
Many medical experts agree that sinus headaches are rare and reserved for a minority of people diagnosed with acute frontal sinusitis or sphenoiditis.
If you do have a true sinus headache, then you must have an infection somewhere in your sinus cavities. In this case, youll have fever and congestion. It is that congestion that produces the horrible pressure in your sinuses. And the fever is what makes you feel generally unwell.
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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.
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 Do Doctors Treat A Sinus Headache
Doctors usually recommend starting with an over-the-counter decongestant and pain reliever. Nasal irrigation also can help. The procedure involves slowly pouring a saline solution into one nostril and allowing it to flow through the nasal cavity and out the other nostril. Nasal irrigation can help wash out mucus and drain some of your congestion.
If these methods do not make you feel better within a few days with, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or nasal steroid to treat the underlying infection. Medical practitioners do their best to avoid unnecessarily prescribing steroids to prevent antimicrobial resistance.
How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
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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.