Sinus Headaches – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

If you suffer from acute discomfort due to sinus headache symptoms that make everyday life uncomfortable, seek an expert headache doctor without wasting time. Pain across the forehead, nose, and cheekbones and sharp movements of the head cause extreme feelings of sickness that can only be relieved with timely medical attention. The pain specialists at Advanced Headache Center use the most state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and interventional approaches to understand your specific condition and provide the best solutions to treat your pain.

What Are Sinus Headaches?

Sinuses are cavities within the skull that add humidity to the air when you breathe and strengthen the head structure, making it more resistant to trauma. Sinuses are a part of the immune system and work as a filter. They trap pollen, dust, and other allergens, including viruses and bacteria that can cause infections.

Sinusitis is the infection that triggers inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses and causes excess production of mucus. As sinuses become more inflamed, mucus drainage becomes difficult, leading to pressure and pain that results in headaches.

You will feel an ongoing sensation of pressure in the sinuses, making it very tough to continue with routine activities. Although sinus is a common condition, effective treatment can be tough without proper diagnosis. Many people also end up confusing it with other types of headaches. Consult an expert pain doctor to understand what sinus headaches are to receive the most appropriate cure for your symptoms.

Which One Do You Have – Sinus Headache or Migraine?

Distinguishing sinus headaches from migraines can be challenging as both have similar symptoms, and you might feel the onset of a migraine attack with a sinus headache. Sinus migraine headaches also cause pain and pressure in the sinuses, headaches in the forehead, around the eyes, and in the checks.

The pressure and pain also increase with a change in position or bend or lie down as the sinuses feel heavy due to excess fluid or mucus.

Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)
  • Headache that worsens by movement or activity
  • Throbbing or pulsating pain

Sinus headaches symptoms are sometimes similar to tension headaches, especially when the sinuses in the forehead are affected and cause pain.

Sinus Headache banner

Sinus Headaches Symptoms

Symptoms of a sinus headache are similar to the flu and common cold. They include:

  • Tearing in the eyes
  • A runny nose
  • A sensation of being full in the ears
  • Fever and chills
  • Popping Ears
  • Swelling of the face, especially around the eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pain that radiates to the forehead, temples, and cheeks as it worsens
  • Pain on one or both sides of the head

If you face recurring sinus headache symptoms resulting from sinusitis or allergies, tell your doctor about it. You may be suffering from acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection of the sinuses often associated with a cold. In contrast, chronic sinusitis symptoms can last at least 12 weeks, and only an expert physician can provide the right diagnosis and treatment.

Causes and Triggers of Sinus Headaches

The main cause of sinus headaches is sinusitis. It is a condition in which the sinuses get inflamed from allergies and other triggers like an infection. Sinus headaches can also result from seasonal allergies and cause flu-like conditions.

Sinus blockage can also trigger these headaches. Keep a journal to know more about what triggers the headaches and how long they last. It will help the doctor find out more about what you are suffering from and devise the most effective treatment plan.

Treatment for Sinus Headaches

Treatment is directed at reducing the inflammation within the sinus passages, allowing them to drain to decreases the pressure and alleviate the pain. The expert doctor may come up with treatment options depending on your sinus headaches symptoms.

After an accurate diagnosis, your pain doctor may recommend the following medications:

  • Decongestants like pseudoephedrine
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) like ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines to treat allergies and prevent sinus blockage, inflammation, and excessive mucus production
  • Nasal sprays keep the sinuses path clear

Decongestants and antihistamines fail to provide desired relief if your sinus headache is a result of migraines. They may relieve the pain and pressure in the sinuses, but the headache will persist. The doctor will prescribe medication to treat your pain and its effects after diagnosing your condition.

Also, if you suffer from chronic headaches caused by sinus pressure or infection, it needs medical care. The doctor will run necessary tests, collect your medical history and assess you physically to ensure that nothing serious and symptoms do not indicate any underlying cause.

Relieving Sinus Headache Symptoms at Home

Your doctor can also recommend some home remedies to treat your sinus headaches. They include:

  • Breathing in steam open up the nasal passages and sinuses, which helps to relieve pain and pressure
  • Cleaning the nose with a saltwater solution to decongest
  • Holding a warm washcloth to the face to ease the pain and pressure
  • Drinking plenty of liquids to keep the body hydrated
  • Neti pots keep the nasal passage humid, assist with drainage and prevent inflammation and infection

The doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes to reduce congestion, such as avoiding allergens and incorporating exercises to reduce the frequency of agonizing episodes.

Do not let the intense pain affect your work and home life. Seek help from a pain specialist to seek relief from sinus pressure to ease your discomfort. The expert doctors at Advanced Headache Center come up with the best course of treatment for sinus headache symptoms with advanced diagnostic tools and multidisciplinary approaches. They will identify the triggers you need to avoid to prevent these headaches.

Updated on Jun 6, 2023 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Amr Hosny, MD, MBA, AQH

Dr. Hosny is an Ivy League Trained, UCNS-accredited, board-certified headache specialist who offers the latest preventive and abortive treatments to provide safe and effective head pain relief. As an active member of prominent organizations and professional societies that advance headache science, education, and management, such as the National Headache Foundation, Dr. Hosney specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of head pain disorders, including tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, to name a few.

Dr. Hosny's reputation for enhancing headache care quality through the use of the most effective and technologically advanced treatment options for persistent primary and secondary chronic headaches has been acknowledged by Castle Connolly and Healthgrades, where he has received over 200 positive reviews. Dr. Hosny is also recognized as a distinguished New York City physician and headache specialist by New York Magazine.

More about Dr. Hosny
Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 763-2222