Sinus Headache Symptoms: Differentiating a Migraine or Tension Headache

When it comes to determining whether your headaches are due to sinus-related reasons or other causes, it can be difficult to determine the origin. However, there are some tell-tale signs of sinus headache symptoms. This doesn’t mean that these types of headaches don’t share some common symptoms with others, like tension headaches or migraines. By the end of this article, you should understand a little bit more about symptoms of a sinus headache and some common treatment approaches.

The most common characteristic of a sinus related headache is a deep ache or throbbing pain in the face; cheek, nose, around the eyes and forehead areas. You may also find that your face is tender to the touch. This is due to the location of the sinus cavities of the head. The sinus passages become inflamed and can be made worse by several factors, such as: quickly changing head position, bending forward, going from warm to cold environment and may be worse in the morning after mucous has been collecting through the night. It is also likely that your sinusitis pain will be brought on after suffering with a bad cold.

As discussed, some of these can be confused with migraine symptoms. Migraines, too, can feel worse from bending forward and may cause nasal congestion. However, migraines are often made worse by light, sound or other triggers and may even lead to feelings of nausea.

Sinus headaches can be caused by any way that your sinuses become blocked, either by congestion or inflammation. This inflammation is called sinusitis. (-‘itis’ means inflammation in Latin). This could be due to allergies or an infection. In a healthy sinus cavity, mucus and fluids can drain properly down the throat. When there is congestion, the sinuses become blocked and this causes a backup of mucus and fluid in the sinuses. These areas are warm due to the body temperature and make for great breeding grounds for bacterial, viral or fungal infections. A bad cold is typically the culprit, causing sinusitis, but anything that blocks the drainage of the sinus cavities can cause a problem like this. Other signs of an infection may include a mild fever and yellow or green mucous coming from the nose.

If you’re suffering with headaches everyday due to this, you are not alone. The regular course of a sinus infection or sinusitis can last several days to weeks. Some people opt for medicines to treat the symptoms of the infection, others allow their bodies to follow a natural course.

You should consult with your particular chosen health care practitioner if you are having constant headaches, whether or not you think they are related to your sinuses as other conditions may be going on.  Some specific exam findings will be a tenderness to tapping or pressing on those regions of your face that are over your sinuses, possibly looking into your nose with a scope and illumination through the skin and bones to look for light within the sinus cavities are all likely procedures you’ll experience.  In more complicated cases or those where your symptoms are more long lasting, painful or unresponsive to treatment, an Xray, CT scan or MRI may be ordered to ensure nothing more involved is going on.

Sinus Headache Treatment

In order to get relief from your sinus headache symptoms, the best thing to do is eliminate the underlying cause of the sinusitis. This may seem obvious, finding the solution can be less so. Antibiotics are the most common course of action in the Western medical system. Other approaches may include herbs and other nutritional supplements, homeopathy and mind-body approaches. These are more effective if you are experiencing more symptoms of a tension headache, but they can be equally beneficial to help you rid your body of the aches and pains of the muscle spasms or tension in your neck. This, too, can lead to further congestion in the head and neck regions.

As a chiropractor Gilbert, AZ, I can tell you that many people with chronic headache pain, those with chronic sinus headache symptoms and the like, typically find great relief when incorporating chiropractic into their health care treatment approach. Not only does it help with the physical nature of the neck and muscle pain and fatigue, but it has been shown to increase immune response as well. There are a variety of approaches within chiropractic, some like Network Spinal Analysis, are very gentle and easy for anyone to tolerate. If you are suffering with headaches, contact us today, we’d love to help.


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