Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints for both women and men. Like any other medical issue, headaches require a clear understanding of what’s causing painful symptoms in order to make sure the treatment is both effective and safe.
Unfortunately, lots of issues can cause headaches — and that makes it hard to know how to treat them. In fact, even though sinus headaches are a major cause of painful symptoms, they’re frequently misdiagnosed as tension headaches or migraines.
With practices in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, ENT Specialists makes it easy for women and men to get the treatment they need for sinus headaches and their symptoms. Here’s how to tell if your headaches might be related to your sinuses — and what we can do to help you feel better.
Sinus headaches vs. “other” headaches
Sinus headaches are frequently misdiagnosed as tension headaches or migraines, but they’re actually very different, beginning with their cause. Sinus headaches happen when the tissues in your sinus cavities get irritated and inflamed (a condition called sinusitis). The swollen tissues prevent your sinuses from draining properly, resulting in a buildup of fluid.
Some sinus headaches are associated with sinus infections, colds, or allergies. Unless these sinus-related issues are treated, your painful symptoms aren’t going to go away.
The pain from sinus headaches is primarily caused by congestion or swelling inside your sinuses. As the sinuses “fill up,” they cause feelings of pain behind your eyes, forehead, nose, and cheeks. Symptoms can occur on one side or both sides of your face.
In addition to head pain, sinus headaches cause some other symptoms that can distinguish them from other types of headaches, including:
- Pressure in the forehead or behind the cheeks
- Yellowish or greenish nasal discharge
- Pain that worsens when you bend forward
Some people with sinus headaches also have pain or aching in their upper jaw.
Treating a sinus headache
Sinus headache treatment focuses on relieving those painful symptoms as well as treating the underlying cause. Depending on what’s causing your headaches, that might include:
- Medicine to reduce pain and inflammation
- Allergy medication
- Using a humidifier
- Drinking more water
When these conservative options don’t provide long-term relief, a sinus exam can help identify other possible causes of chronic or recurrent headaches. Sometimes, anatomical irregularities, like a deviated septum, may prevent your sinuses from draining. Minimally invasive procedures, like balloon sinuplasty, can correct these issues and improve sinus function.
Relieve your sinus headaches
While some headaches respond well to rest and stress management, sinus headaches are caused by a medical problem affecting your sinus cavities. That means that in order to relieve those painful symptoms, you need to see an ENT doctor like the team at ENT Specialists.
If you’re having sinus headaches or headaches associated with facial pain or allergies, we here at ENT Specialists can help. Call the office or book an appointment online to learn about the techniques and treatment we use to help our patients find relief.