If you’re suffering from headaches, they could have several different causes, including congestion in your sinuses. You may feel pain and pressure in your face due to sinusitis (sinus infection), and the first step toward effective treatment is an accurate diagnosis.
In this blog, board-certified ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Cecil Yeung will explain more about these types of headaches as well as sinus headache treatment.
What is a sinus headache?
A sinus headache is caused by swelling and pressure in your sinuses. These air-filled cavities usually allow mucus to freely drain and air to easily circulate throughout the nasal passages. When they become inflamed, however, mucus becomes trapped and isn’t able to properly drain. This condition is known as sinusitis, and it can be caused several things, including a cold, flu, or allergies.
As pressure builds up, it causes pain that feels like a headache.
What are the symptoms of a sinus headache?
Sinus headaches often cause the following symptoms:
- Pressure and pain in your face or head (often in one specific area, such as behind your eyes, in your cheekbones or forehead, or at the bridge of your nose)
- Pain that gets worse when you bend over, move suddenly, or lie down
- Pain that’s worse in the morning
- Pain that gets worse when you’re exposed to sudden temperature changes
- Swelling in your face
- Congested or runny nose
- A sore throat and postnasal drip (the feeling of mucus dripping down the back of your throat)
- Yellow or green nasal discharge
- Pain in your upper teeth
How is a sinus headache diagnosed?
A sinus headache can sometimes be confused with a migraine or tension headache. If you’ve recently had a cold, allergies, or other symptoms that are usually associated with sinusitis that can indicate that your pain may be from a sinus headache. But if pain is your only symptom, it’s probably not a sinus headache.
If an underlying issue is causing your sinusitis and sinus headaches, your doctor may recommend more testing. For example, if allergies are causing your issues, allergy testing may be recommended.
What are some options for sinus headache treatment?
You can try some at-home lifestyle remedies, including drinking more fluids, using a humidifier or vaporizer to moisten the air, and using a saltwater nasal spray. You may also want to try applying a warm, wet towel to your face to help provide some relief.
In addition, the following are some common types of sinus headache treatment:
- Antihistamines – These can help if your sinus headaches are caused by allergies, since they reduce or block histamines and help reduce inflammation and swelling. They are available over-the-counter and also by prescription and come in tablet or nasal spray form.
- Decongestants – These oral or nasal medications can help reduce the amount of swelling and mucus in your nasal passages. They shouldn’t be used in the long-term, however.
- Nasal steroid sprays – These are available by prescription or over the counter and can help reduce pain and congestion.
- Antibiotics – These can be used if your doctor thinks your sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Most infections, however, are viral, and if this is the case, antibiotics won’t help.
- Pain medication – Medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium can be used.
If medications don’t improve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery depending on the exact cause of your sinusitis and sinus headaches. The goal of surgery is to correct the underlying issue to provide long-term relief.
Surgical options can include the following:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – to remove polyps, bone spurs, or other tissue that’s preventing normal drainage.
- Balloon sinuplasty – a minimally invasive procedure used to enlarge the sinus cavity by inflating and then removing a small balloon in the area
Where can I find the best sinus headache treatment in Houston?
Houston ear, nose, and throat specialist and surgeon Dr. Cecil Yeung has more than 20 years of experience in diagnosing and treating chronic sinusitis, which causes sinus headaches. At Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, he has pioneered endoscopic sinus surgery in the area, performing more than 4,000 sinus surgeries with a re-do rate that’s far less than average. He’s a board-certified physician who is known as a leader in his field as well as for his professionalism and precision.
Dr. Yeung will correctly diagnose the cause of your sinus headaches and sinusitis and recommend the most minimally invasive treatment possible that will yield the results you want.
To get relief from the pain and other symptoms of sinus headaches, contact Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute today!