Sinus Headaches: Symptoms and Causes

Sinus Headaches: Symptoms and Causes

January 1, 2022
A headache is something that we all have experienced or will experience some time in life. It is a very common condition that can symbolize many things, from severe issues such as aneurysms to mild issues such as dehydration. Also, the pain can be constant, dull, or sharp. However, the real challenge would be to know which headache you are experiencing. Do you have a frontal headache accompanied by pressure around the cheeks and eyes? If you are, then you need sinus headache treatment because the above signs are the key symptoms of sinus headaches.

Causes of a Sinus Headache

The sinuses are designed to be air-filled spaces located in your cheekbones, forehead, and behind the bridge of your nose. There are four paired cavities linked by narrow channels above your eyes, between your eyes, and behind your eyes. Sinuses are responsible for insulating the eyes and nerves, increasing voice resonance, acting as buffers against trauma, and warming and humidifying inspired air. Also, they help drain out the mucus from the nose to help keep the nose bacteria-free. Healthy sinuses should not be blocked but filled with air. If the sinus gets blocked and there is fluid build-up, then you will have a headache. Here are some of the sinus headache causes:
  • Nasal obstruction: If there is restricted airflow because of a deviated septum, nasal valve restriction, or enlarged turbinates, it can lead to congestion and pain.
  • Bacterial infection: If the sinuses are filled with mucus, they can harbor bacteria, which thrive in inflammatory conditions
  • Viral infections: Infections such as the common cold can cause sinus inflammation or the nose to swell
  • Allergies: Seasonal allergies such as hay fever can cause inflammation of the sinuses, which might lead to a decreased ability for mucus to drain, leading to blocked sinuses
  • Nasal polyps: At times, there may be abnormal growths in the sinuses or nose that can block mucus from draining
When you have too much mucus in the sinuses, germs get an opportunity to grow. As the germs continue to multiply, the sinuses become irritated. Then, the sinus tissue swells and blocks the passage of mucus. When the sinuses are irritated, swollen, and filled with mucus, your face will feel achy and tender.

Symptoms of a Sinus Headache

One of the characteristics of a sinus headache is the constant pressure on your face, especially in the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and forehead. Typically, the pain worsens when you move suddenly, get up out of bed, or strain. If you have a sinus headache and a sinus infection, you will have the following symptoms:
  • Fever, achy muscles, chills
  • Greenish-yellow nasal discharge
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Postnasal draining that may cause you to cough
On the other hand, if you are having a sinus infection and sinus inflammation, you might experience the following:
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Clear nasal discharge

What’s the Difference Between Sinus Headaches, Tension Headaches, and Migraines?

As mentioned earlier, several types of headaches exist. So, it can be mind-boggling for you to know which one you are experiencing. The reason is that these three headaches have overlapping symptoms. Therefore, you may need toanalyze the location and duration of the pain and look at other factors that set the three headaches apart.

Location of the Pain

  • Migraines are located only one side of the head
  • Sinus headaches are located behind the eyes, down the front of the face, both sides of the head, and above your eyebrows
  • Tension headaches will always feel like you have a band around your head and will always last a few hours

Duration of the Pain

  • Tension headaches begin gradually and slowly builds up
  • Migraine pain can gradually show up, or it can present is suddenly and can last between one hour and two weeks
  • Sinus headaches may seem to come out of nowhere and may vary in intensity, and can last for hours, days, or weeks

Sinus Headaches Treatments

As you may know, pain is always a sign that something is wrong. So, our treatment approach is not hinged on prescribing pain medication but to ascertain the cause of the sinus headache. Therefore, our doctors will endeavor to paint the whole picture by running a series of tests to ensure that the nose and sinuses are functioning as they should. Therefore, if you suspect that you have a sinus headache, contact us at South Florida ENT Associates.