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
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
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.