The term “sinus” refers to a small sac or abnormal cavity caused when underlying tissues are destroyed. In common terms, sinus refers to paranasal cavities of sinuses that are air cavities present near the nose. There is 4 pair of such sinuses present in the skull or cranial bone in each individual.
Sinus cavities functions in regulating the voice resonance, filtering the air inhaled through nose, adding moisture in it and removing unwanted particles from it. It also helps in lightening the weight of skull. Sinusitis is a medical condition in which sinus cavities gets inflamed or develop swelling. This would put more pressure in the areas surrounding the sinus which is often felt as pain/discomfort in the regions like eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead.
Sinus headache can be described as nagging pain that occurs behind the nose, cheeks, eyes and forehead. Some people feel pain on either side of the head due to sinus. Sinus headache creates not only pain in the head but also in the other areas of the face. Sinusitis is the major cause for sinus headache which can occur due to allergic response or due to inflammation of the sinus. OTC drugs and prescribed medications and alternative treatments like herbal and acupuncture treatments are available for sinus headache.
Sinus Headache Symptoms
- Swelling of cheeks due to fluid deposits
- Pain in both sides of your head
- Discomfort feeling in the forehead
- Increased pain while leaning forward
- Nasal discharge
- Inflammation of sinus
- Redness and swelling of cheeks
- Increased pain in the morning which gets better in the noon
- Pain in the upper jaw region
The above signs of sinus headache are similar to that of normal headache and fatigue and hence it is difficult to differentiate between the two. Similarly, many people (about 50%) reporting of sinus headache is diagnosed to have migraine.
- Sinusitis – Primary cause of sinus headache is inflammation of sinus cavities known as sinusitis. Often it develops due to allergy or an infection. Seasonal allergies and variation in climatic conditions can also cause inflammation of sinus. Sometimes bacteria and similar organisms can block the nasal passage causing infection and sinus headache. Allergic rhinitis and inflammation of the lining of nose can cause sinusitis and sinus headache.
- Nasal Polyps – Small tissue growth inside the nasal cavity known as nasal polyps can cause sinus headache. If the nasal septum gets deviated from its place this can trigger sinusitis and headache. Sinusitis is of many times like acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis and recurrent sinusitis. For some people sinusitis develops suddenly and for others it can be recurring and long-lasting.
Sinus headache and sinusitis can easily be identified by a medical practitioner. The doctor may gently press behind your nose and cheeks to check if there is inflammation.
- Sinus infection can be resolved with decongestants and OTC medications. Home remedies like nettipot can help in relieving the nasal congestion.
- Decongestant medications should not be taken for more than three days since it can make the symptoms worse.
- Antibiotics are prescribed if your doctor suspects bacterial infection. You need to complete the course of medication as instructed by your doctor.
- Add a humidifier in your room to make things better.
- Sinus headache is different from migraine and make sure that you are taking treatment after right diagnosis.
- OTC drugs like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can help in giving instant relief from sinus headache.
- Triptans like sumatriptan, rizatriptan and almotriptan and similar drugs help in treating sinus headache.
- Ergots like Migergot and Cafergot can also be taken for sinus headache since they contain caffeine and ergotamine in right proportion.
- If there is nausea associated with sinus headache your doctor may recommend anti-nausea drugs like chlorpromazine or Reglan.
How To Prevent ?
- There is no clear way to prevent sinus and migraine headache but you can identify the triggers and avoid it.
- Many people develop allergy and sinus headache due to certain foods and odors. You need to avoid them in future.
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Do regular exercises.
- Adopt regular sleeping routine.
7 Natural Remedies For Sinus Headache
Plenty of home treatments are available for sinus headache and some of them are listed here :-
1. Gentle Pressure – Apply gentle pressure on the sinus points in your nose and cheeks. Start with the nasal bridge area and gently apply mild pressure on each point for a minute or two. This helps in removing the pressure from clogged points thus giving relief from congestion and headache.
2. Hot/Cold Compress – Hot and cold compression placed alternatively on sinus region can give immediate relief from pressure points. Soak a wash towel in warm water and wring out the excess of water. Gently place it on your face giving attention to the cheeks and nose points. Leave the towel for few minutes. Now repeat this process using cold water soaked towel.
3. Steam Inhalation – This is considered to be the most effective home remedy for nasal blockage, common cold and sinus headache. Boil a cup of water and lean your face forward to the bowl that contains boiled water. Cover your head with a blanket so that your face is exposed to the steam or water vapor from the bowl. Breathe in and breathe out slowly. You can feel the hot water in your lungs. Remove the bed-sheet for a while if you are unable to bear the heat.
Now repeat this process 2-3 times a day. Steam can unblock the clogged pores of the nasal cavities thus giving quick relief from sinus headache and cold. This method is highly useful for clearing off the congestion from the lungs due to severe phlegm.
Steam inhalation is beneficial in reducing the mucus drainage and internal pressure that has triggered inflammation of nasal passage. If you wish, you can add 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil in the boiling water before inhaling it. Peppermint oil or olive oil or tea tree oil can also be added in the water to get additional benefit.
4. Ginger Solution – Wash the ginger thoroughly in plain water and after peeling off its skin slice a small piece and add it to a cup of warm water. Cover it with a lid and after few minutes drink this decoction. Ginger solution is effective in removing the mucus and congestion from the nose thus reducing sinus headache.
5. Cinnamon – Owing to is antibacterial and antiseptic property, cinnamon is effective in reducing the inflammation of the sinus. You can make a paste of cinnamon powder and water and apply it on the forehead and cheeks. Leave it for few minutes before washing it.
6. Basil – Tulsi leaves or holy basil is an excellent natural antibiotic product. Crush few basil leaves in a mortar and pestle and add 5 pepper corns to it. Boil a cup of water and add this paste into it. Allow it to boil for few more minutes so that the solution reduces in size. Drink this solution after straining it.
7. Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar can be added to a cup of boiling water and the steam can be inhaled for clearing off the mucus and reducing the swelling of nasal passage. This can help in reducing sinus headache.