Sinus Infection Help

Sinus Headache Symptoms

Sinus headache symptoms are usually caused by a sinus infection. But if they occur too often, it could mean a growing tumor.

How Sinus Headache Symptoms affect You

Sinus headache symptoms include a variety of symptoms that can mean you have a sinus headache but can mean you have another type of headache. You can get sinus headache symptoms from a sinus infection, from a tension headache, from trigeminal neuralgia and from allergies. Tumors in the sinuses can cause symptoms of a sinus headache. Most people know they have a sinus headache because of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the maxillary and/or the ethmoid sinuses
  • Tenderness to palpation of the sinuses
  • Thick nasal discharge
  • Excessive nasal discharge
  • Inability to get anything out of the nose when blowing it
  • Fever
  • Runny eyes

If you have these symptoms in a cluster, you likely have a sinus infection as a cause of your sinus headache symptoms. In such cases, you need to seek medical advice about getting on an antibiotic. Some antibiotics your doctor might choose include quinolone antibiotics like Cipro or Levaquin, Bactrim, a sulfa antibiotic, erythromycin-based antibiotics, penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics.Pain medications can be used to control the sinus headache symptoms while you’re recovering from your sinus infection.

Similar symptoms can happen when you have no sinus infection but have allergic sinusitis. Here, the nasal mucosa is thin but it builds up and there is a lot of inflammation so there is tenderness to the sinus area. Both the ethmoid and maxillary sinuses can be involved. You can control these symptoms by taking antihistamines like Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec. Pain relievers can be used to help the inflammation that comes out of having allergic sinusitis.

The pain of sinus headache symptoms may not be related to the sinuses at all. Pain from trigeminal neuralgia can cause symptoms of headache.

In trigeminal neuralgia, the pain tends to be sharp, stabbing and can occur with movement of the face. It is due to inflammation of one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve. If the first or second branch of the trigeminal nerve is involved, it can cause pain that mimics sinus headache symptoms.

 There is usually numbness over the area involved and there is usually not any tenderness. There can be nasal congestion but this is less likely. Trigeminal neuralgia is a severe pain that usually needs medical intervention.

Sinus tumors can cause sinus headache symptoms. The tumor can be noncancerous and can just be a cystic tumor that is putting pressure on the sinus cavity. Rarely, a cancerous tumor of the sinus can grow into the sinus wall and can cause extreme pain in the bony areas of the sinuses.

Doctors can do an X-ray of the sinuses to see if there are any cysts or solid tumors of the sinus cavity. If this is the case, the doctor will recommend sinus surgery to remove whatever is causing the pain in the sinuses. Occasionally, a sinus infection can yield a cyst that will go away with antibiotics. Some of these cysts, however, need surgery to remove the cyst.

Treating Sinus Headache Symptoms

If there is excess buildup of sinus congestion and you are feeling pain, you can take pain relievers and you can take antibiotics but there is another way to take care of some of the pain of sinus infection.One of these involves the use of a Neti pot, which is a small pot filled with warm saline.

It has a small opening that allows the flow of saline into one nostril. The head is tilted away from the Neti pot so that the saline cleanses the sinus and nasal cavity, letting the residuals drain out of the second nostril. The sinus cavities are cleared out and the pain gets better until the fluid builds up again.

Learn more about sinus headache remedies.

Are Sinus Headache Symptoms Dangerous?

Most sinus headache symptoms do not indicate a severe disease. Only if the headache is due to cancer can it be life threatening. Even so, having a sinus headache needs some kind of attention.

You can start with over the counter pain relievers and, if you have symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia or sinus infection, you should see your healthcare provider in order to get an antibiotic or steroids, in the case of trigeminal neuralgia.

You should remember that the sinuses are cavities that clear from infection relatively slowly, so you may need to take 10-14 days of antibiotics faithfully and you should not stop taking the antibiotics as soon as you feel better or feel less sinus pressure. Sinus headache symptoms often go away before the infection has completely cleared.