Headaches FAQ - Questions and AnswersWhat
is a Sinus Headache?
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology
- Head and Neck Surgery, sinus headaches are associated with a swelling
of the membranes lining the sinuses (spaces adjacent to the nasal
passages). Pain occurs in the affected region - the result of air,
pus, and mucus being trapped within the obstructed sinuses. The discomfort
often occurs under the eye and in the upper teeth (disguised as a
headache or toothache). Sinus headaches tend to worsen as you bend
forward or lie down.
Many Americans Suffer From Sinus Headaches?
A Louis Harris & Associates survey in the late 1990's showed
that four out of every 10 adults are stricken with sinus headaches.
The same survey found that "Nearly one-fourth of sinus headache
sufferers say the painful condition affects every aspect of their
lives, including their appearance."
a Headache Always a Sinus Headache?
Some people experience headaches unrelated to sinusitis, which
could actually be a tension headache, migraine, or cluster headache.
In a surprise finding from a study conducted by the Headache
Care Center in Springfield, Mo., it was revealed that 90 percent
of patients who have self-diagnosed sinus headache, and even
those with a physician diagnosis of sinus headache, actually
met established criteria for the diagnosis of migraine.
are Some Ways of Treating Sinus Headaches?
Here are some suggestions
from the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery:
Relief for a sinus headache can be achieved by humidifying
the dry air environment. This can be done by using a steam vaporizer
or cool-mist humidifier, steam from a basin of hot water, or
steam from a hot shower.
hot and cold compresses
Place a hot compress across your sinuses
for three minutes, and then a cold compress for 30 seconds. Repeat
this procedure three times per treatment, two to six times a
Some believe that when nasal irrigation or rinse is
performed, mucus, allergy creating particles and irritants such
as pollens, dust particles, pollutants and bacteria are washed
away, reducing the inflammation of the mucous membrane. Normal
mucosa will fight infections and allergies better and will reduce
the symptoms. Nasal irrigation helps shrink the sinus membranes
and thus increases drainage. There are several over-the-counter
nasal rinse products available. Consult your ear, nose, and throat
specialist for directions on making a home nasal rinse or irrigation
Some over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are highly effective
in reducing sinus headache pain. The primary ingredient in most
OTC pain relievers is aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen,
or a combination of them. The best way to choose a pain reliever
is by determining which of these ingredients works best for you.
pressure headaches caused by allergies are usually treated
with decongestants and antihistamines. In difficult cases,
nasal steroid sprays may be recommended.
Chinese herbalists use Magnolia Flower as a remedy
for clogged sinus and nasal passages. In conjunction with other
herbs, such as angelica, mint, and chrysanthemum, it is often
recommended for upper respiratory tract infections and sinus
headaches, although its effectiveness for these problems has
not been scientifically confirmed.
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