Sinus headache

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A sinus headache is one that occurs if an individual has sinusitis. It is important to note that sinusitis involves swelling and inflammation of the membranes lining the sinuses. Other symptoms that might manifest include pressure sensation around the cheeks, eyes and forehead.

A sinus headache has a throbbing sensation. In most instances, the headache is often confused with tension or migraine headaches. Remember that an actual sinus headache is triggered by sinusitis and if treated, it provides relief to the headache.

What are the causes?

The main cause of a sinus headache is sinusitis. The condition involves inflammation and swelling of the membranes that line the sinuses. It is important to note that sinusitis is triggered by the following:

Sinus headache
Sensation of pressure and fullness in the forehead and cheeks.
  • Common cold
  • Impaired immune system
  • Infection either fungal or bacterial
  • Any structural issues in the nasal cavity

What are the risk factors?

  • Asthma
  • Nasal growths such as polyps
  • Impaired immune system
  • Allergies to pollen, dust or mold
  • Being exposed to pollutants such as airborne chemicals or irritants such as cigarette smoke
  • Individual suffers from cystic fibrosis

What are the indications?

  • Pain in the forehead and cheeks
  • Sensation of pressure and fullness in the forehead and cheeks
  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain is aggravating upon lying down and bending forward
  • Yellow or greenish or blood-tinged drainage from the nose
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Cough
  • Aching sensation in the upper teeth
  • Diminished ability with smell or taste


  • Antibiotics are the main line of treatment for sinusitis due to bacteria. When it comes to viral sinusitis, antibiotics are not effective and symptomatic treatment is done.
  • Corticosteroid medications or nasal sprays can reduce any inflammation or if allergies are present.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications, saline nasal spray and decongestants can help in alleviating the symptoms of a headache and a stuffed nose.
  • Increase the daily intake of fluids.
  • Nasal saline irrigation helps in shrinking the membrane that lines the sinuses and promotes better drainage.
  • Surgery is needed if the reason for sinusitis is any structural anomaly in the nasal cavity such as a diverged nasal septum. In these instances, surgery is required.

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