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:
In Rare Cases Constant Headaches Could Be A Sign Of A Brain Tumor
Googling your headache symptoms may result in a self-diagnosis of brain tumor. A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells on your brain, and they can be either cancerous or benign the Mayo Clinic says. Rest assured: They’re rare, so chances are you don’t have one. But its a possibility, and something you don’t want to miss, Dr. Hutchinson says. “If a patients had a regular headache pattern and it hasnt changed, it’s usually not a red flag,” she says. But if headaches are a new thing for you, are the most severe you’ve ever experienced, or are changing or worsening over time, these are signs your doctor may order a brain scan. But if you’re ever worried about what’s causing your headaches, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
When To See A Doctor
Make an appointment when your headaches:
- Are coming more often and are more severe
- Don’t get better with over-the-counter medications
- Keep you from working, sleeping, or doing your normal activities
- Cause other problems
It’s likely that your doctor will talk to you about your health, both now and in the past, and run some tests to rule out other possible causes of your head pain before coming up with a treatment plan.
- Are confused or have trouble understanding speech
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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!
Diagnosis Is Key As Sinus Pain May Actually Be Part Of A Migraine Attack
Sometimes that dull, throbbing pain in your face is a sign that youve caught the dreaded common cold, and your sinuses are now inflamed. It’s tricky though to differentiate between sinus pain and a migraine or tension headache, since all three can produce similar types of pain.
Let’s learn more about sinus headaches and what you can do to ease your pain and accompanying symptoms.
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New Daily Persistent Headache
If you suddenly get frequent headaches, you may have NDPH. The symptoms of NDPH can mimic tension headaches or migraines, but NDPH occurs in people who dont have a history of headaches. Often, people with NDPH can remember exactly when the onset happened. Your doctor may need to run tests to make sure these headaches arent secondary that is, a symptom of a serious underlying condition.
Although daily headaches might not be the result of a dangerous problem, they can affect your quality of life and shouldnt be considered normal.
Progressive symptoms of more severe or frequent headaches, or any headache that is also associated with other neurological symptoms, should be evaluated by a physician, says Jonathan J. Russin, MD, a neurosurgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Even using these criteria, the majority of headaches will not represent an underlying problem. An exception is a thunderclap headache, which refers to the sudden onset of the worst headache of your life. This type of headache should always be evaluated by a physician whether it is associated with other symptoms or not.
Treatment Options For Sinus Headaches
Inflamed sinuses are commonly the cause of these sinus headaches. To find the right treatment, it is important to diagnose whats causing the inflammation does it result from allergies, an infection, or other issues?
Antihistamines and Decongestants
If you are experiencing allergies, you may be prescribed antihistamines and/or a decongestant to resolve the issue.
Simple, traditional home remedies can ease the pain by reducing the inflammation and unblocking your nose. Drinking plenty of water, using a dehumidifier, or applying a warm towel to your face can provide relief for a sinus headache.
A bacterial infection is a more severe case of sinusitis, and this may require antibiotics. We work with families in Alpharetta, Cumming, Duluth, Roswell, Johns Creek and beyond to find a sinus headache treatment solution that works best.
While surgery is a less common solution, there are instances where it could be the best option. Recurring sinus problems and issues with drainage may require a simple surgical procedure to repair sinus tissue.
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Is It Normal To Have A Sinus Headache Every Day
Conditions that increase intracranial pressure, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and kidney disease, can generate headaches every day. Chronic sinus infections, although not considered life-threatening, can generate serious levels of pain and are a more likely cause of daily headaches, as cited in the book Chronic Daily Headache..
Sinus Migraine: When Sinus Pain Is More Than A Headache
You have a headache. It extends over your eye and you have pressure in your face. Your nose even runs a little. You take some Sudafed or ibuprofen, tell everyone you have a sinus headache or even a sinus migraine, and lay down for a while. Two or three hours later you are better. You might have a little residual soreness and you might be a little tired, but the worst of the headache is over. Youve just had a sinus headache or was it?
You could have had a migraine that isnt even related to any sinus issues and not realize it. You felt sinus pain and pressure, so your mind automatically went to sinus headache. Your doctor may even have told you it was sinus related and the subject of migraines never came up. It happens a lot more than you might think. In fact, nearly 90% of patients who visit their doctor and complain of sinus headache actually have a migraine or migraine-type headache.
This is an easy misdiagnosis, but its important to get it right because sinus-related headaches and straight-up migraines are treated differently. For a sinus headache, a decongestant could be key. But if youre having a migraine, you might benefit most from a simple pair migraine glasses like these, or other remedies that are designed for migraine.
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What Are The Different Types Of Headaches
The headaches youre suffering from while pregnant are just like the ones you can get at any other time, so its worth learning about some of the most common types. Heres a short primer to help you figure out what kind of headache you might have:
- Tension headaches: If youre under stress, hungry or feel pain in your neck or shoulders, you could have a tension headache, which feels like a mild to moderate dull ache. Its one of the most common types.
- Migraines: With a migraine headache, you can expect moderate to severe pain that throbs and lasts for hours or even days. Some women with migraines also experience blurred vision, light flashes, numbness and nausea.
- Sinus headaches: Pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead plus a stuffy nose may signal a sinus headache. These typically occur with a sinus infection, but theyre also commonly confused with migraines. In both cases, the pain can get worse when you bend forward or lie down.
- Cluster headaches: These head pains are what they sound like headaches upon headaches that start quickly and get worse, lasting for days or longer. The searing pain usually centers on one eye or affects one side of the head. The good news: Cluster headaches are rare, especially in women compared to men.
- Chronic headaches: If youre getting headaches on more than half of the days in any given month, they could be considered chronic. This includes migraines and other headache types chronic just refers to how frequently they happen.
How Do I Know If My Teens Headaches Are A Sign Of Something More Serious
If your teen is experiencing severe symptoms such as sudden loss of balance, numbness, paralysis, speech difficulties, or seizures, seek medical attention right away. Call your family doctor he or she may want you to go straight to the emergency room.
Most headaches are easily treatable and are not a sign of a more serious medical problem. Headaches may improve as your teen gets older. However, if your teens headaches are becoming more frequent, the pain and symptoms are getting worse, and/or pain medicines do not seem to be helping, its time to visit your family doctor.
He or she will ask about your teens health history and details about their headaches. Keep a detailed log to track their headache triggers, symptoms, frequency, and treatments. Your doctor will perform a physical exam. He or she will look for problems with your teens temperature, breathing, pulse, and blood pressure. If they suspect a central nervous system problem, they will order or perform a CT scan or MRI test to look for abnormal areas in the brain.
In rare occasions, chronic, progressive headaches can be a sign of a serious underlying medical problem in your teen. These conditions could include:
- Brain infections.
- Meningitis .
- Hydrocephalus .
- Blood clots.
- Head trauma.
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Causes And Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches
Causes of a real sinus headache are an infection in your sinuses known as sinusitis. It may feel like the following:
- Pressure and fullness in your cheeks, forehead, and brows.
- Bending over causes increasing pain
- Stuffy nose
- Ache in your your upper teeth
- Swollen or puffy face
Sinusitis usually occurs after a respiratory viral infection or cold. There is normally a thick discolored mucus, a reduced sense of smell, and in a nutshell, with a sinus headache your whole face hurts.
You may develop a sinus headache from the common cold, a deviated septum where there is not sufficient air flow to help drain the mucus from your sinuses, seasonal allergies which cause congestion and mucus, and nasal polyps which also prevent mucus from draining properly.
You’re Trying Too Many Headache Remedies
Mixing, matching and overusing headache treatments can potentially backfire. “Sometimes, the thing youre taking for headache starts working against you,” Dr. Hutchinson says. Overdoing it on painkillers can actually make the pain worseand the caffeine in some headache medications can cause withdrawal headaches, compounding the effects. Overuse of any pain medication to treat headaches can cause what’s called a rebound headache.
Fix it: If you’ve been taking a lot of OTC medications, try stopping for a day or drastically limiting your intake. “If you’re able to then have a day without a headache and dont need to take anything, then you can say youre out of the rebound,” says Dr. Hutchinson.
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Why Do I Get A Lot Of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches occur when neck and scalp muscles become tense or contract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, head injury, or anxiety. They may occur at any age, but are most common in adults and older teens. It is slightly more common in women and tends to run in families.
What Are The Causes And Triggers Of Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches are most often a symptom of sinusitis, in which the sinus becomes inflamed from allergies or other triggers like an infection. Sinus headaches may also result from seasonal allergies that last an extended period of time. This is called rhinitis, or hay fever. Sinus infections and sinus blockages can also trigger sinus 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.
Can Sinus Pressure Cause Migraines
Sinus headaches and migraines are often commonly confused, but its important to know which type of headache you have since that affects the type of treatment you need.
In this blog, Dr. Cecil Yeung of Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute explains more about sinus headaches and migraines, including whether sinus pressure can cause migraines.
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How Is A Sinus Headache Treated
For mild sinus headaches that last a few days, at-home remedies can be effective at easing the pain. Remedies, like taking a hot, steamy shower, can help ease a person’s congestion by facilitating drainage of the nasal passages. Your healthcare provider will also recommend rest and lots of fluids. Some medical professionals recommend using a saline-based nasal irrigation system like a neti pot. Over-the-counter medications, like decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers, may also help. Sometimes your healthcare provider will prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray, especially if you have a history of allergies.
If your practitioner suspects a bacterial sinus infection, she will prescribe you an antibiotic, in addition to recommending the above remedies. Sinus surgery by an ENT, or ear, nose, and throat doctor is a last resort option for people with chronic sinusitis.
Cleaning The Nose With Salt Water
A 2019 review found some indication that saltwater solutions can treat sinusitis. However, the researchers state that there was not enough evidence to confirm it helps or the best delivery method.
People can purchase nasal rinsing kits with premixed saltwater solutions. Alternatively, they can make the solution at home. To do this:
People should dispose of any leftover salt water, and make a fresh solution if using this technique repeatedly. A person should also clean any nasal irrigation devices thoroughly after each use. People should not use nasal rinses in children unless instructed by a doctor.
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Ok But What Can I Do If My Sinus Headache Wont Go Away
The best treatment for bacterial sinus infections and headaches caused by bacterial sinusitis is a full round of antibiotics. However, there are several steps you can take at home to ease the discomfort of a sinus headache that wont go away. These remedies include:
- OTC pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- OTC antihistamines, decongestants, or saline sprays
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Using a humidifier
If you have chronic sinus infections, though, there are treatments that can provide a more long-term solution. Of these options, balloon sinuplasty is currently the most minimally-invasive treatment available.
Balloon sinuplasty is an in-office procedure that can provide lasting sinus relief in under twenty minutes. During the procedure, your ENT inflates a small balloon inside your sinus cavities, expanding them enough to restore proper drainage. Unlike other sinus surgeries, balloon sinuplasty does not involve the cutting of any bone or tissue, reducing both recovery time and complications. The procedure has an extremely high success rate .