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An Introduction To Sinus Headaches

Updated on July 21, 2008

An Introduction To Sinus Headaches

There are literally hundreds of conditions which can give rise to a headache but one common condition is that of sinusitis.

Your sinuses are pockets within the facial bones situated behind the nose and cheekbones and above the eyes which are lined with tissue and mucus, which can become irritated when one or more of these pockets fills with fluid. This irritation and fullness leads to pressure within the sinuses and to pain which is often experienced as a headache.

This particular type of headache is termed a 'secondary' headache because it is produced by an underlying medical condition (in this case sinusitis) and is quite different in nature from 'primary' headaches such as tension-type and migraine headaches.

Treatment for sinus headache will depend very much in the cause of your sinusitis. For example, if your sinuses are inflamed as a result of a common head cold then, while you can relieve the symptoms of the condition, only time will produce an actual cure. You need to be careful however when it comes to treating the symptoms as some medications can make matters worse. Some cold remedies for instance contain alcohol which can not only make you feel drowsy, but can also actually worsen your accompanying headache. Similarly, the overuse of some cold remedies in the hope of knocking the cold on the head quickly can also make matters worse by producing what are referred to as medication overdose headaches.

Your sinusitis may however be produced by more than a simple head cold and could result from such things as a mildly deviated septum, which is a very common condition. Here the deviation in your septum will produce additional pockets or channels which will both accumulate and hold fluid and the only sure way to cure this problem is through surgery.

This said, in minor cases where the problem does not occur too often you may find that symptomatic relief, such as the use of hot and cold compresses and nasal sprays, may be sufficient. The secret here however is to consult your doctor and seek his advice on the best course of action rather than simply try to treat the condition yourself, which can very easily make matters worse rather than better.

Environmental factors such as the change in pressure when traveling by air or even changes in the weather can also bring on sinus headaches which are normally only temporary in nature. They can also be brought on by allergic reactions to such things as pollen or certain foods. However, in all cases, once the excess fluid is drained from the sinuses the accompanying headache will disappear.

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