Home > Headaches > Sinus Headaches

Sinus Headaches

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Sinus Headache Migraine Pain Humidifier

If you are suffering from sinus congestion and inflammation you may also be suffering from sinus headaches. Sinuses are hollow cavities found in your skull that have openings into the nose. The inflammation and pain in the sinuses is commonly referred to as sinusitis.

Sinusitis may be prompted by a cold or allergies as well as changes in atmospheric pressure due to swimming or high altitudes. If you have a headache caused by your irritated sinuses, you may find it occurs immediately upon awakening in the morning. The headache is often accompanied by pain and pressure around the nose and cheeks and you may notice that it becomes more intense following quick movements. Air, pus and mucus that become trapped in the sinuses result in pain and headaches. You may also experience some or all of the following:

  • Painful throat and coughing
  • Fever
  • Abnormal nasal secretions
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Swollen nasal passages
  • Non-specific bodily aches and pains
  • Tenderness
  • Pain aggravated by sharp movements

Are Some People More At Risk For Sinus Headaches?

There are numerous factors that may predispose you to sinusitis and sinus headaches. If you suffer from frequent colds and upper respiratory infections, you may find that your sinuses are easily and often inflamed. Some structural problems such as a deviated septum in the nose can put you at a higher risk of sinus headaches. Asthmatics may find that they experience frequent sinus headaches due to a greater sensitivity to allergens. If you find you are suffering from frequent sinus headaches and pain, your doctor may require you to have x-rays to check for any underlying causes.

Treating Sinus Headaches

The primary method for alleviating a sinus headache and addressing sinus inflammation due to an infection is through antibiotics. Your doctor will want to confirm that your headache and sinus pain is due to an infection before prescribing antibiotics, as there has been an increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria in recent years. Decongestants are commonly recommended to treat inflammation and other sinusitis symptoms. These may be administered by nasal or oral methods.

Medications your doctor may suggest include oxymetazoline, pheylephrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. Caution should be taken so that overuse does not occur, or you may experience withdrawal symptoms and rebound sinus headaches. Steroid sprays are often prescribed to help the inflammation and these may include beclomethasone or triamcinolone. Typical over-the-counter preparations will usually contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen as active pain relief ingredients; these will help to alleviate sinus pain directly as well as treating headache pain. Nasal irrigation is another method that is thought to help ease inflamed sinuses and thus help sinus headaches. The idea is that the nasal area is 'rinsed,' which causes mucus and any irritating particles and bacteria to be washed away. Once these irritants are removed, your inflammation should ideally be reduced or eliminated.

Immediate Relief

For immediate relief, you can try a combination of both hot and cold towels placed on the afflicted area. Some people find that hot humid air helps to 'clear' their sinuses so you may wish to try a hot shower or a humidifier for pain relief. Be sure to also drink plenty of water to prevent the nasal lining from becoming dry and irritated. In addition, try to avoid irritants such as smoke and excessive dust. If your symptoms continue and are chronic, your doctor may decide to refer you to a nose and throat specialist. He or she will likely thoroughly examine you and may order more specialized tests to determine the root cause of your pain.

Above all, listen to your body and obtain rest if you are fatigued. Sinus headaches can be very painful for some people, particularly in combination with other uncomfortable symptoms; it is best not to exhaust yourself further.

Fortunately, sinus headaches are usually treatable and once you have seen your doctor and begun treatment, you will hopefully be on your way to clearer sinuses and a pain-free head.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
my daughter has been diagnosed as suffering from a virus in the brain, how can she get rid of this pounding headache that never stops
holycow - 24-Jul-17 @ 10:56 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Bertsgirl
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    Wow, I am so glad I found this page. About 3 years ago whilst at work, I felt a pop in my head followed by a whooshing sensation. The…
    5 April 2019
  • Irene
    Re: Headache With Pins and Needles: Is This Serious?
    I am 45 years old and i get pins and needles in my hands I have had the pin and needles in my hand for…
    13 February 2019
  • Jonno
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I was in a taxi 2 nights ago, happily talking away when all is sudden he broke sharply which meant I went flying forward and hit…
    22 December 2018
  • Rock cake
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Got hit on the head with a glass about 8 hours ago did see spots before my eyes and did feel sick and funny have been worried…
    18 November 2018
  • Willowgold
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    I have one area on left upper scalp that hurts when I lay on it. It is ok when I don't but I have had to encircle that area when…
    13 October 2018
  • Bujji
    Re: Numbness in Head With Pain and Dizziness: What Can it Be?
    I am getting headache & numbness on head and minor numbness to whole body, so what is the…
    20 September 2018
  • ChrisH
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Why can't doctors treat impressions in the skull from injuries. Soft skull areas in two-three spots depress causing my scalp nerves…
    20 August 2018
  • Kate
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Sweta - take your daughter to the doctor or get someone else to. You should have taken her when it happened. She shouldn't still…
    16 August 2018
  • Sweta
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    My 9 year old daughter got banged very hard on a concrete wall near her right temple, a few months back as she was dizzy. She…
    16 August 2018
  • Sweta
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    My 9 year old daughter got banged very hard on a concrete wall near her right temple, a few months back. She cried so loudly…
    16 August 2018