Sinus Headaches


Sinus headaches occur as a result of increased pressure in the sinuses – air-filled spaces in the forehead, cheeks, and behind the bridge of the nose, which secrete mucus. The sinuses normally drain fluid through channels into the nose. However, certain conditions, such as an allergic reaction (like hay fever or allergies to dust or mold), infection, or (in rare cases) a tumour, can cause inflammation and swelling of the sinuses so that the fluid cannot properly drain. In addition to swelling, mucus production will be increased, further blocking the inflamed sinus channels. The increased fluid creates a buildup of pressure that results in the pain of a sinus headache. Activities that involve pressure changes, including swimming, SCUBA diving, and flying, can also contribute to the development of inflamed sinuses.

Sinus headaches are usually described as a constant, deep, pain with pressure sensation in the sinus areas. The pain is most commonly felt behind the eyes, between the eyes, and above the nose; it usually feels worse with movement, such as turning the head to the side, bending, standing up, or lying down. The sinus areas may also be tender to the touch.

In addition, these headaches are associated with other symptoms affecting the sinuses, including swelling of the face, a full feeling in the ears, discharge from the nose, nasal stuffiness, and cough or sore throat. If the sinus headache is caused by an infection, it is often accompanied by a fever, chills, or achy muscles, and in some cases, swollen lymph nodes in the neck. For this reason, it is important to distinguish sinus headaches from migraines or tension headaches. Although sinus blockage can usually be determined by a physical exam and patient history, CT or X rays are occasionally needed to confirm the diagnosis. These imaging studies look for thickening of mucus membranes or collections of fluid in the sinuses.

Treatments for sinus headaches aim to treat the pain and pressure associated with the headache by attempting to decrease the inflammation in the sinuses so that mucus can properly drain. In some cases, it is also necessary to treat the underlying cause, namely the infection, or the allergic reaction. Some people can find relief by using simple home remedies, such as drinking plenty of fluids and using a humidifier or salt water nasal irrigation to open the nasal channels and promote drainage. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be taken as needed, particularly to deal with inflammation. Over-the-counter decongestants can also be used to relieve the sinus symptoms by unblocking the nasal channels and decreasing mucus. However, decongestants should only be taken after consulting a doctor if the patient has high blood pressure, as they are known to increase blood pressure. In addition, patients should avoid taking a pain reliever and a decongestant that both contain either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It is always important to consult a doctor for the correct diagnosis of a sinus headache, particularly when a fever is present or symptoms persist for more than 10-14 days, as antibiotics may be needed to treat an infection.

We offer biofeedbackmassage, chiropracticacupuncture and auricular acupuncture for those who suffer from sinus headaches.

sinus headaches

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/sinus-headaches

http://www.medicinenet.com/sinus_headache/page6.htm

 

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