A headache that occurs
when the sinuses become congested. A sinus headache should disappear
once the sinuses are clear, but some patients may need additional
Sinus headaches can
also be caused by an injury to the bones, a deformity of the nose,
or any condition that hinders the draining of the sinuses.
Symptoms of a sinus
headache include pain or pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead;
tender skin and bones over and under the eyes; and pain when bending
over, during jarring movements or nose blowing.
The sinuses are hollow
cavities within the bones of the skull. They lie adjacent to the
nasal cavity and are therefore anatomically named the "paranasal"
sinuses. Four sets of sinuses lie on each side of the nasal cavity:
frontal, ethmoid, maxillary, and sphenoid sinuses.
Colds and allergies
are the usual causes of a sinus headache. During a cold or allergy
attack, the openings can become blocked by excess mucus and may
become infected causing a sinus headache.
When the sinuses become
congested and become infected, a condition called sinusitis develops.
Sinusitis usually occurs after a cold due to bacteria and viruses
infecting the lining of the sinuses.
People who have an
injury to the bones in the nose or a deformity of the nose may be
at greater risk of getting sinus headaches.
In some cases, a sinus
headache may actually be a migraine headache. It is important to
distinguish between the two, because treatment for each type of
headache will vary.
A recent study revealed
that only a small percentage of people who think they have sinus
headaches actually have one; in most cases it is a migraine. A migraine
headache treated with a migraine-specific medication will more quickly
relieve the headache pain and symptoms.
A sinus headache may
be treated with aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to temporarily
relieve pain. The doctor may also prescribe a decongestant if the
sinuses are blocked. If the patient also has sinusitis, the doctor
may prescribe an antibiotic. In addition, the doctor may recommend
antihistamines if allergies are the cause of sinusitis.
Using a humidifier
in the home if the air is particularly dry may also help prevent