What to do About a Sinus Headache

The pain and pressure sinus headaches bring can be so severe that many people believe they have a migraine headache. But sinus headaches are different from other headaches, because they’re caused by an underlying condition called sinusitis, or a sinus infection

Internal medicine specialists Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, and Saba Jafri, MD, understand the challenges sinus headaches can bring. From difficulty concentrating to trouble sleeping, sinus headaches can significantly impact your life. 

That’s why the providers at Integrative Primary Care in Houston are committed to helping patients overcome sinusitis and find relief from the headaches it can cause.  

Understanding the sinuses

You have small hollow spaces in the bones of your face called sinus cavities. These cavities, which are located around your nose, cheeks, and eyes, are lined with soft tissue. And this soft tissue is lined with mucus.

The mucus helps keep your sinus passages moist and also helps trap bacteria. Furthermore, the mucus helps humidify the air to help you breathe easier.

Understanding sinus infections

Sinuses are moist, warm environments. Because of this, these are ideal places for sinus infections — also called acute sinusitis — to thrive. If your sinus tissues get irritated, such as from allergies or a cold, they can become inflamed. 

The irritation and inflammation can trigger an increased production of mucus. And this extra mucus can become trapped in your sinuses, since there’s less space for it to move due to the inflammation. 

When this happens, you may feel pressure in your face and head — especially when leaning forward — and you could have trouble breathing.

For nearly 30 million Americans, sinus infections become chronic. Your provider at Integrative Primary Care may diagnose you with chronic sinusitis if you keep getting infections or if an infection lasts longer than three months. 

Symptoms of sinus infections

Both acute and chronic sinus infections can trigger a sinus headache along with other symptoms, such as:

If you have chronic sinusitis, it’s important to get to the root cause of your infection. Treating the underlying reason for your sinusitis is the best way to alleviate your pain and end your chronic infections. 

Symptoms of sinus headaches

Headaches are typically categorized as either primary or secondary. Most headaches are primary headaches, meaning the headaches themselves are the problem. 

Sinus headaches are secondary headaches, meaning the headaches are caused by another problem. In the case of a sinus headache, the inflammation in your sinuses creates pressure in your whole head.

You can typically identify a sinus headache by the accompanying symptoms of sinusitis and the constant pain it causes in your forehead, nose, and cheekbones. It can also cause pain or pressure in your ears. 

Your headache may also be worse in the morning or when you experience sudden changes in temperature, such as going from the warm outdoors to an air-conditioned building. Sinus headaches can also cause pain in your upper teeth and facial swelling.  

Sinus headache symptoms also usually get worse when you lean forward, move your head suddenly, or strain. 

Treating sinus headaches

Because inflamed or swollen sinuses are usually the cause of sinus headaches, the best thing to do when you’re suffering from a sinus headache is to address the inflammation. The good news is that pain and inflammation can often be reduced by using home remedies, such as the following:

For patients with chronic sinusitis, it’s important that your provider at Integrative Primary Care work with you to identify the underlying cause of your infections. By treating the root cause, we can help ensure you get the most effective treatment possible. 

Your Integrative Primary Care provider will discuss your symptoms and sinusitis history and examine your sinuses to get to the root cause of your infections. Depending on your symptoms or the examination, your provider may order additional testing, such as an allergy test, to determine the cause of your chronic sinusitis. 

Based on these findings, our team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan to help you find relief for your sinus headaches and chronic sinusitis.

If you have sinus headaches or sinus issues, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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