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Sinus Headaches – Symptoms and Treatment

June 21st, 2014


By: Chad Melius

'Merritt Island Walk In Clinic' by Rusty Clark on Flickr

Sinus headaches often go hand in hand with sinusitis, which is caused by swollen tissues that prevent the sinuses from draining. Sinusitis can be induced by allergies, the common cold, a change in temperature, and many other factors.

Sinus Headache Symptoms

How do you know what kind of headache you are experiencing? Even doctors can confuse a sinus headache with other varieties that have similar symptoms. Fortunately, many headache treatments are similar, so following the suggestions below may just cure your pain.

  • Pressure and/or pain around the sinuses – above an eye, between the eyes, or near the top of the nose.

  • The pain gets worse when you bend over or lie down.

  • A stuffy nose.

  • A runny nose.

  • A cough and/or sore throat.

  • Tiredness.

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Treatment of Sinus Headaches

There are myriad ways to treat a sinus headache. The most commonly used is the first one below, but if that’s not working, try some of the other methods. Hopefully, there will be one that works for you.

  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

  • Try a decongestant – either oral or nasal. This will reduce sinus swelling and the amount of mucus.

  • Keep your nasal passages moist – use a humidifier in the room or a vaporizer for your nose. If your nose dries out, it will become even more irritated.

  • Drink . This thins out the mucus, and encourages draining.

  • Try nasal irrigation – get a bulb syringe, and flush your nasal passages with salt water.

  • Use compresses. Lay a hot washcloth on the painful area for about 3 minutes. Then use a cold washcloth for about half a minute. Repeat several times.

  • Skhug by Tamorlan - Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

  • Eat spicy food. This can quickly open up your nasal passages, and allow them to drain.

  • Massage the painful area. Pretend you’re opening up space to allow the sinuses to drain. Or get a friend to do it for you.

  • Use your mind. You may be able to block out the pain through deep breathing, relaxation exercises, biofeedback, meditation, yoga, or hypnotherapy.

  • Hum! Humming reduces the airflow through the sinuses – but it can take quite a while for success. In the meantime, listen to your favorite tunes, and hum along.

Headache Prevention

Of course, it would be much nicer to avoid getting a headache in the first place. Learn what irritates your sinuses, and avoid these things if possible. Some common irritants: perfume, cigarette smoke, air pollution, certain chemicals ( such as the acetyl acetate in nail polish remover ), and rapid changes in temperature.

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