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Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches cause a dull, throbbing pain in the upper half of the face, and are caused by sinus inflammation and infections.

Sinus headaches are often mistaken for migraine or tension headaches.

The sinuses are the air-filled spaces behind the forehead, cheekbones and the bridge of the nose.

When an infection, such as a cold or sinusitis, causes swelling or inflammation, the normal flow of mucus through the sinuses gets blocked. Pressure then builds-up, causing the sinus headache.

Sinuses

Seeking medical advice for sinus headaches

Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movements or straining. The pain is usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, a feeling of fullness in the ears, a temperature, and facial swelling.

Seeking medical advice for sinus headaches

Seek medical advice if sinus headaches are not helped by over-the counter treatments.

A doctor will try to rule out other causes of the headache pain.

Treatments may then be recommended to relieve congestion and reduce swelling.

These include decongestant tablets or nasal spray, antihistamine tablets or corticosteroid nasal spray.

Self-care for sinus headaches

There are home remedies to consider for sinus headaches.

Holding a cold flannel to the painful area of the face for several minutes at a time during the day can help with pain and swelling.

Breathing-in moist air can help relieve symptoms. Consider using a humidifier.

Nasal douching with an over-the-counter saline nasal spray. This flushes out mucus and other debris helping to reduce swelling and discomfort.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on May 16, 2014

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