If you suffer from sinus headaches, then you know that they’re among the most annoying pains of all time. The pressure, tenderness, and throbbing can drive anyone up the wall! Sinus headaches stem from a mix of blocked, swollen sinuses and a trigger like an allergic reaction or infection.
- 1 What Is a Sinus Headache?
- 2 Types of Sinus Headaches.
- 3 Sinus headache symptoms.
- 4 Causes of Sinus Headaches.
- 5 How do I get rid of a sinus headache?
What Is a Sinus Headache?
The head and face contain numerous small cavities called sinuses. These hollow spaces help warm, moisturize, and filter air as it gets through the nose. A sinus headache occurs when one or more mucus membranes become inflamed and swollen. This can happen when you pick up a cold or allergy or suffer from hay fever. In such a case, immune system cells called white blood cells try to attack and drain away from the infection. Unfortunately, they are unable to do so effectively. As these cells gather up and build up in the sinuses, they cause an inflammatory reaction that makes them swell. This causes sinus headaches that strike suddenly, worsen with pressure or bend forward, and subside when sitting upright.
Types of Sinus Headaches.
1. Sinus Congestion Headaches
Sinus Congestion Headaches are characterized by pain around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. You might also experience a blocked sensation or pressure in the sinuses and a coating sensation around your nose. The pain is not severe and tends to be dull, constant, and mild. It makes your vision blur if you bend forward or lean sideways. Sinus Congestion headaches can be triggered by allergies, colds, flu, stress, and even weather changes.
2. Sinus Pressure Headaches
Sinus Pressure headaches are also caused due to sinus infection. Inhaling even the slightest amount of cold air can trigger such headaches. This type of headache is similar to a migraine and is characterized by intense pain in the forehead and a feeling of fullness around your entire eye and temple. The pain can be terrible between your eyebrows or deep inside your face. You may also experience some dizziness and a stuffy nose.
Sinus headache symptoms.
1. Intense pain in the face and forehead
The pain intensity in the sinuses can be pretty intense and may worsen with time. In some cases, the pain can be so aggressive that it prevents you from doing simple activities.
2. Dull feeling around the forehead
The dull feeling is usually accompanied by tightness or stiffness in the face muscles. You will also experience a fullness sensation around your eyes and forehead area. The pressure and fullness worsen when you lie down on a flat surface or bend down to pick something up.
3. Pressure, fullness, and tenderness in the ears
The pressure on the sinuses can cause pain in the ears. Usually, you will feel some pain in your forehead when you bend over to reach for something. The pain can intensify when you put your head down while resting on a pillow. You may also experience fullness along with mild pressure and acute pain in your ear canal when lying down.
4. Stuffy nose
The fullness or congestion can make breathing difficult and irritating. You may also experience a mild and scratchy sensation in your throat while breathing.
It may not seem like there is a connection between sinus headaches and a fever, but the two are related. Sinus headaches can worsen during fevers, and symptoms of sinusitis commonly occur as part of the flu.
6. Watery eyes
One of the most common symptoms is watery eyes which signify congestion in the sinuses. This can be especially severe when sleeping and waking up in the morning or when you blow your nose several times a day.
Causes of Sinus Headaches.
- Cold air: Cold air is usually the trigger for sinus headaches. The cold weather or winds can cause your nasal passages to become congested and inflamed, thus triggering the pain of a sinus headache.
- Nasal allergies: Sometimes, you develop allergies to hay fever or other substances in the air that has triggered an allergic reaction in your mucous membranes. This will cause violent inflammation of your sinuses and lead to an intense headache lasting several minutes to several hours.
- Flu or cold: While most people associate sinus headaches with a cold, it is usually triggered by the flu. It would be best if you were careful as the flu attack can go on for a good number of days and can adversely affect your immune system in the process.
- Stress: Stress comes in many forms and has been seen to trigger sinus headaches in most people, especially those who have chronic stress problems.
- Too much nose blowing: Many people keep touching their nose because it is itching and leads to more irritation. During this process of touching your nose, you are likely to push the oils from your hands into the nasal cavities and cause an inflammatory reaction in your sinuses.
- Dehydration: People who are often dehydrated can experience several side effects, including headaches or migraines. Hence staying well hydrated is essential for your overall health and your sinuses.
How do I get rid of a sinus headache?
- Use a pain relief patch: Pain relief patches such as transdermal fentanyl or Fentanyl patches are effective in treating sinus headaches. By wearing these patches, you can get rid of the pain and discomfort in your sinuses within 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use pain relief sprays: Many people who suffer from chronic sinusitis prefer using a nasal spray containing lidocaine. This spray is quite effective as it can offer relief within a few minutes of usage.
- Drink water: Dehydration can worsen sinus headaches because the mucous membranes in your nose get dried up and inflamed. Hence, it would help if you made it a point to stay well hydrated at all times, especially during cold weather or when there is an outbreak of infectious diseases in your area.
- Taking a pain-relieving cough syrup: Many people prefer taking over-the-counter cough syrups to get rid of their sinus headaches. If you have had a runny nose due to a cold or flu and are also suffering from a headache, over-the-counter cough syrup can be quite effective at relieving your symptoms.
- Ice pack: Sometimes, an ice pack will work wonders in alleviating the pain of your sinuses. It would help if you made it a point to place a cold compress over your forehead and other areas of pain for 10 minutes. Make sure the cold compress is not too cold, as this can cause additional irritation to your sinuses.