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Sinus headache causes and treatment
Sinus headaches are uncommon type of headache which result from sinusitis (medical term means inflammation of the mucus membrane of the paranasal sinuses).
It is noticed that more than 4 out of 5 people who assume they have sinus headache actually have a migraine. “It is a widespread misconception” says Peter Goadsby, MD, who heads the university of California San Francisco’s headache program.
What are the differences between sinus headaches and migraines ?
Sinus headaches and migraines share the following symptoms, including:
- Pain in the head, particularly the forehead
- Itchy or watery eye
- Pain when you move
But migraines often occur with other symptoms, including:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Severe throbbing pain on one side of the head
What causes sinus headache ?
Sinuses are cavities in the skull bone found around the nose (paranasal sinuses), they open out into the nose to allow drainage of mucus & circulation of air normally.
So inflammation of the nose (this is medically termed Rhinitis) is commonly associated with sinusitis which in turn cause sinus headache. Read more about sinusitis
Types of rhinitis:
- Infectious rhinitis: it is commonly caused by viral infection by rhinovirus (mainly) or bacterial infection by streptococcus pneumonia.
- Allergic rhinitis: the commonest type of rhinitis, it occurs as a result of histamine release when allergens contact with your body (nasal mucosa)
- Non allergic rhinitis: caused mainly by environmental irritants such as:
- Car exhaust
- Cigarette smoke
- Cleaning solutions
- Metal salts
- Wood dust
The relation between common cold and sinus headache:
The common cold is the most common cause of sinus infection. When the lining of the nose becomes infected with a cold the infection can spread to the sinuses and cause them to become swollen, which in turn lead to blockage of the small opening from the sinuses to the nose, which leads to a build-up of pressure inside the sinuses, which end in sinus headache.
Treatment of sinus headache: (how to relieve sinus headache)
1- Home treatment
- Breathe Moist Air.
- Keep a humidifier on in the room where you spend a lot of time. dry air can irritate your sinuses, so it is of a great benefit to keep air moist as it can help reduce congestion.
- Keep a No smoking zone : Fumes from harsh cleaning products, paints, perfumes and most of all, cigarette smoking can irritate your inflammed sinuses and exaggerate your sinus headache .
- Drink plenty of fluids : It can help thin out mucus and encourage drainage. Hot tea is a good option. Avoid caffeine or alcohol. Both can make you dehydrated. Alcohol also can worsen your sinus congestion.
- Try Nasal Irrigation
- it can help keep your sinuses clear and clean. You use a mild, sterile saline solution to flush out the mucus and allergens causing your congestion. Squirt the solution into one nostril, and let it drain through the nasal cavity and out the other nostril. Avoid breathe through your nose and keep your mouse open.
- Avoid Your Triggers.
- Nasal allergies can lead to sinus pain and pressure. So, keep away from common triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen.
2- Medical treatment
- OTC painkillers: over the counter Drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen may help. It is necessary to read and follow the label, and don’t use them for more than 10 days at a time without consulting your doctor.
- Decongestants: can help open your blocked sinus cavities. They do this by inhibiting the swelling and mucus in your nasal passages.
- Be careful and follow the instructions, Don’t use nasal decongestant sprays for more than 3, or it will worsen your congestion . And don’t use oral decongestants for more than 7 days.
- Nasal steroid sprays: these sprays and other drugs can help to reduce your congestion and pain.
- Antihistamines: These drugs may be helpful particularly if your sinus problems are caused by allergies.