Last Updated December 20th, 2021
What is Sinus Headache?
Sinuses are air-filled spaces present inside the forehead and the cheekbones. It is also present behind the bridge of your nose. Due to various allergic reactions, these sinuses get inflamed. The swelling of the sinuses and a lot of mucus production leads to the blockage of the draining channel. There is a build-up of pressure in the sinuses which results in a severe headache. This is referred to as the sinus headache.
What are the causes of the Sinus Headache?
When there is a bacterial or viral infection in the sinuses, the sinuses swell up due to the inflammation. The allergic reaction which causes the inflammation blocks the channels that drain the sinuses. The allergic reaction like hay fever can also cause the inflammation of the sinuses. This inflammation results in more production of the fluid inside the sinuses. As the fluid production increases, the pressure inside the sinuses increases. After a certain period of the infection, the bacteria and the virus travels into the stagnant fluid into the sinuses and causes an infection. Mostly the infection is caused by a virus. Bacterial and fungal infections are really rare.
What are the symptoms of the Sinus inflammation and headache?
Some of the most common symptoms of the Sinus infection are as elaborated below:
- Inflammation of the sinuses
- Discoloured and thick discharge from the nose
- Postnasal drainage is the condition in which drainage happens from the back of the throat.
- Obstruction or congestion in the nasal passage resulting in the difficulty in breathing from the nose.
- Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead.
- You might experience pain and puffiness around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead.
- The reduction of the sense of smell and taste.
- Pain in the ear
- Upper jaw and teeth ache
- Frequent coughing and clearing of the throat
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Persisting weakness and drowsiness
- Sore throat
- Bad smell of breath
- The lymph nodes in the neck might get swollen due to presence of some infection.
- Persisting or recurrent fever
- Swelling or redness around the eyes
- Severe persisting headache
- Swelling of the forehead
- Confusion and memory loss
- Stiff neck
- Double vision and other problems related to vision like blurry vision, etc.
What are the complications related to the Sinus Headache?
There are plenty of complications related to the Sinus Headache. Some of the most common complications are:
- Rebound headaches
- There can be problems related to abdomen
- Serotonin Syndrome is a condition which is caused by the elevated levels of the serotonin(a chemical in the bran) in the brain. Overuse of certain medications like triptans and antidepressants especially, the level of the serotonin in the brain.
The most common symptoms of Serotonin symptoms are as follows:
- Agitation and feeling of confusion
- Too much sweating
- Irregular heartbeat especially increased heart rate.
- Twitching of muscles
What are the diagnostic procedures used for the Sinus Headache?
There are various methods which can be used for the diagnosis of the Sinus Headache.some of the most way s of diagnosing the problems of the Sinus Headache are the following:
Imaging testsVarious tests which help in the detailed diagnosis of the sinuses and the nasal area by using the pictures which are produced on a computer using an X-ray or a magnetic field are called the Imaging tests.
The imaging tests help in the pinpoint detection of the causes of the inflammation or physical obstruction. The most common imaging tests which come under the Imaging Tests are:
CT Scan: In this procedure, a computer image is produced using the X-Rays for clear detection of the issues related to the Sinus Headache.
MRI: The diagnosis procedure that uses the Magnetic field set up with the Radio Frequency to create a vivid computerized picture of the affected areas. This helps in the better detection of the problems rather than the X-rays.
Observation of the sinusesA fibre-optic light attached to a thin flexible tube is inserted through the nose of an individual. This allows the doctor to check the condition of your sinuses.
A test for allergyIf your health practitioner suspects that any kind of infection is causing the issues related to your sinuses, he might recommend you to undergo a few tests for detecting the allergy. Your doctor might suggest an allergy skin test since it is the safest and the quickest test which helps in the detection of the allergen causing the nasal flare-ups.
A culture of the samples of your nasal and sinuses discharge is used when the body stops responding to the other treatments you are undergoing for the sinuses problems. A sample is collected by your health practitioner by inserting a cotton swab inside your nose. It helps in the determination of the causes of the Sinus Headache such as bacterial or viral infection.
Upper EndoscopyIt is also called EGD which is a procedure that uses a thin scope with light and camera attached at the tip of it. It is used to observe the upper digestive tract i.e. the oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the intestine called the duodenum.
Sinus headache treatment
There are various treatments available for the Sinus Headache. Some of the most common treatment procedures for the Sinus Headache are as follows:
These are the nasal sprays which are useful for the prevention of as well as the treatment for the inflammation. If your body isn’t responding to the nasal sprays effectively then your doctor might suggest you rinse with a solution of saline mixed with budesonide drops. Your health practitioner might also suggest using a nasal mist of the solution of saline mixed with budesonide drops. The nasal sprays usually contain the following components in them like fluticasone, triamcinolone, budesonide, mometasone and beclomethasone.
Saline nasal irrigation
In this procedure of treatment, a saline water solution is used to rinse away all the mucus and the allergens from the nasal cavity. It is poured from one nostril and is passed out from the other nostril before which it passes through the nasal cavity.
Oral or injected corticosteroids
If you have nasal polyps, the oral or injected corticosteroids help in treating them. These medications are highly helpful for relieving inflammation which occurs in the case of the chronic sinusitis. Long term usage of these medications can have several adverse side effects, therefore these are used only for the treatment of the extreme severe symptoms.
Aspirin desensitization treatment
If your health practitioner detects that you are allergic to aspirin and that is causing the sinusitis, then larger doses of aspirin will be given to an individual for increasing their tolerance to aspirin.
If you have a bacterial infection causing sinusitis or if your doctor isn’t being able to detect the underlying infection, he or she might suggest you intake some antibiotics along with other medications.
If your immune system is not strong enough and if you are allergic to certain specific allergens which are contributing to the causes of the sinusitis, immunotherapy is given. This helps in the reduction of the reaction of the body to those specific allergens.
Sinus surgery is always used for the treatment of the Sinusitis if a person shows resistance to the treatment via medications or other procedures. Using the upper endoscopy, any obstruction or resistance is detected. The doctor will use various instruments to remove the tissues or shave away a polyp. The types of instruments which are used for the surgery depend on the source of the obstruction.
What are the preventive measures for the Sinus Headache?
The measures which are really helpful for the prevention of the Sinus Headache are:
- Healthy and hygienic practices like washing hands properly, etc can help in the prevention of colds and the upper respiratory tract diseases and infections.
- Decreasing or cutting down on smoking habits can also help in decreasing the risk of any airway or respiratory infections.
- If an individual is allergic to some specific allergens, it is necessary to avoid any kind of allergy triggers for preventing the problems related to sinusitis.
- It is very necessary to hydrate really well and humidifying the air can also help in the efficient fluid drainage from the sinuses.
Dos and Don'ts
- OTC(Over the counter) drugs should be selected very carefully.
- It’s very important for a person suffering from sinusitis, to stay hydrated.
- Use warm compresses on the areas where your sinuses are located.
- Using a humidifier has been always proven really helpful.
- Try to rinse your sinuses.
- Get in a flight if you have a sinus headache.
- Drink alcohol
- Indulge in smoking.
- Go swimming during a sinus infection
- Expose yourself to allergens
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