Understanding Sinus Headaches: What You Need to Know

‍A blocked nose, also known as a stuffy nose or a nasal blockage, can be annoying and inconvenient. But what feels like an inconvenience can become dangerous if left untreated. If you have been experiencing headaches and nasal congestion frequently, you may be suffering from an uncommon condition called sinus headaches.

Sinus headaches are caused by pressure that builds up in the bone cavities (also known as the sinus) beneath your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and eyes, and even within your forehead. They can be very painful, but you don’t have to deal with them forever. Read on to learn more about what causes sinus headaches and how you can ease the pain.

What is a Sinus Headache?

A sinus headache is a headache caused by a sinus infection. Sinuses are air-filled cavities in your skull that have a mucous membrane lining that gets easily infected with bacteria and viruses. If these infections travel to your head, you may experience headaches. A sinus headache can occur at the same time as a stuffy nose, or you may experience a headache even when your nose is completely clear. These types of headaches can be quite painful and debilitating. They may last for several days or longer if the infection is not treated.

Types of Sinus Headaches

There are two types of sinus headaches:

Acute sinus headaches – Which are caused by an infection in your sinuses that lasts less than 4 weeks.

Chronic sinus headaches – Which are the result of frequent infections in your sinuses that last more than 3 months.

Things That Can Cause Sinus Headaches

Several factors can cause sinus headaches, including:

Allergies – If pollen, dust, or other allergens get trapped inside your sinuses, they can cause an infection.

Dry air – Humidifiers or vaporizers can help relieve the pain of sinus headaches.

Bad dental hygiene – A tooth infection or gum disease can travel to your sinuses.

Sleep Disorders – Snoring, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome cause your airways to be blocked.

Nasal Trauma – Blowing your nose too hard, or having a nose or facial fracture can lead to infection.

Medications – Several drugs, including birth control pills and anti-seizure medications, can lead to sinus infections.

Weather Conditions – Extreme cold or humidity can lead to sinus infections.

Other Symptoms of Sinusitis

Besides a sinus headache, you may experience other symptoms of sinusitis, including:

A constant runny nose – The drainage is caused by the infection.

Pain when bending or moving your head – This is because the infected tissues are sensitive.

Pressure or fullness in your cheeks, face, or eyes – You may have pus-filled pockets in your sinuses that cause this feeling.

Yellow or green mucus – The color of the mucus is caused by the infection.

Swollen cheeks, around the eyes, and forehead – These are signs of a possible abscess.

How to Manage Your Sinus Headaches

Here are some ways you can manage your sinus headaches:

Avoid allergens: Doing so may help reduce your chances of getting sinusitis.

Keep your teeth clean: Poor dental hygiene can lead to an infection in your sinuses.

Avoid sleeping on your back: If you do sleep in this position, prop yourself up with several pillows.

Take care of any nasal trauma: If you have nasal fractures or other nasal issues, you should visit a doctor.

Use humidifiers: The moist air can help you breathe more easily.

Use saline sprays: The saline can help relieve pain and clear your airways.

Take over-the-counter pain relievers: You should avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen if you have a sinus infection.

Avoid antibiotics unless necessary: They can make the infection worse.

Final Words

A sinus headache is one of the most common types of headaches, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the pain. Sinusitis is a bacterial infection in the sinuses, and it causes the sinuses to swell up and become filled with mucus. The pain that comes with a sinus infection can be excruciating. Sinus headaches can be treated, but you will need to make some lifestyle changes. Be sure to visit your doctor if the pain doesn’t go away.

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