Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches occur when the sinus passages behind your eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead are congested. A sinus headache can be felt on either or both sides of your head.

Pain or pressure is felt not just in your head, but anywhere in the sinus area. Sometimes sinus headaches are a symptom of the ongoing sinus condition sinusitis.

Sinus headaches can happen seasonally if you have allergies, or only occasionally when your sinuses become triggered for some other reason. There are herbal remedies, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medication you can take to treat sinus headaches.

Symptoms of a sinus headache

Symptoms of inflamed sinuses accompany sinus headaches. These symptoms include:

– pain getting worse when you lean forward
– green or yellow nasal discharge
– an uncomfortable pressure behind your forehead

Sometimes a sinus headache can also give you a feeling of fatigue or an aching in your top jaw. Redness and swelling of the cheeks, nose, or forehead can occur.

Sinus headache vs. migraine

According to the American Migraine Foundation, 50 percent of migraine misdiagnoses start with a person thinking they have a sinus headache. The Mayo Clinic points out that 90 percent of people who go to the doctor for a sinus headache find out they have a migraine instead.

If you don’t have any of the symptoms that come specifically with a sinus headache, you may be experiencing a migraine. Migraines are treated differently from sinus headaches. If you experience symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, or sensitivity to light, you’re likely having a migraine and not a sinus headache.

What are the causes and triggers of sinus headaches?

Sinus headaches are most often a symptom of sinusitis, in which the sinus becomes inflamed from allergies or other triggers like an infection. Sinus headaches may also result from seasonal allergies that last an extended period of time. This is called rhinitis, or hay fever. Sinus infections and sinus blockages can also trigger sinus headaches.


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