Chronic Sinus Headaches and How to Treat Them
Most people associate sinus problems with symptoms like runny noses and congestion, but inflammation can lead to headaches and facial pain. Since the sinuses are right behind the facial bones, pressure can build behind those bones and blood vessels leading to pain. These headaches can become more severe if inflammation recurs or is chronic.
What Causes Sinus Headaches?
The root cause of sinus headaches is excess inflammation. This inflammation can be caused by infections like a cold, allergies, or growths in the sinuses, such as polyps. Inflammation can be worsened by mucus building up in the sinuses due to congestion, exacerbating headaches. Sinus headaches tend to be most prominent behind the eyebrows where the frontal sinuses drain to the other sinus cavities. Pain can also come from the maxillary sinuses behind the cheeks or the ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses behind the nose.
How to Help Sinus Headaches
Headaches are only a symptom of sinusitis, so remedies for sinus headaches should target the source of inflammation. In the meantime, there are ways to lessen inflammation and promote drainage of mucus to alleviate sinus pressure. Home remedies are a great go-to for sinus headaches. Two of the most common are steam and nasal rinses. Both options aim to moisten the sinuses so mucus can more easily drain, and the warmth of the steam can help lessen inflammation.
A second option is over the counter medications. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen have anti-inflammatory properties which can help with congestion while alleviating pain. Nasal sprays can help with moistening sinuses, and have medications that inhibit inflammatory response. Allergies can also be alleviated with the use of antihistamines, which target the compounds that cause allergic reactions.
Dealing with Recurrent Headaches
Chronic sinusitis causes the pressure in the sinuses to build repeatedly, which can cause headaches to recur. In these cases it is important to treat the cause of the inflammation. This requires going to a sinus specialist to have your sinusitis diagnosed so it can properly be treated. When the inflammation has become chronic, your doctor may want you to consider surgical options to treat your disorder.
Relief for Your Sinus Headache
For some people, sinus headaches happen every once in a while and can be treated with simple solutions, while others can have their routine thrown off track. What prevents many people from finding relief is a lack of information. Learning what triggers the headaches and treating the root cause can get rid of them altogether. Speaking with your doctor will help you lay out a plan to prevent your sinus headaches.