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Sinus Related Articles > Sinus Headache

Sinus Headache

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 treatments.

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 sinus headaches.

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