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What Is a Sinus Headache, Anyway? Doctors Explain How They're Treated and Prevented

What Is a Sinus Headache, Anyway? Doctors Explain How They're Treated and Prevented

FYI: They're often confused with migraine.

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So, you've got a headache, but it's not just any headache—you feel the pain deep in your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and in your lower forehead.

It's cleary a sinus headache, right? Not so fast: Before you make a hasty decision and decide to self-treat, it's important to know that migraines are actually often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches—largely because they come with many of the same symptoms (yes, even run-of-the-mill nasal congestion).

So how do you know for sure if your headache is sinus-related or something a little more serious? Health spoke to doctors to find out what you need to know about sinus headaches, how to diagnose them, and what you can do to treat and prevent future ones.

What is a sinus headache, and what causes them?

Most often, a true sinus headache stems from a viral infection or a condition called sinusitis, says Clifford Bassett, MD, a New York-based allergist and spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Sinusitis is a result of inflammation in the tissue that lines your sinuses, which are air-filled cavities in your forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of your nose. Pain in those areas is essentially what is labeled as a "sinus headache."

But here's the thing: Migraines are actually frequently misdiagnosed as sinus headaches, says Isaac Namdar, MD, an otolaryngologist at Mount Sinai West in New York—which means the only true way determine whether or not you have a sinus headache or a migraine is to get checked out by a doctor, specifically an allergist or an otolaryngologist. This can happen through a physical exam or doctors can also get a look at your sinuses through a nasal endoscopy.

Another misguided judgment: Sinus migraines are regularly connected with sensitivities, and they shouldn't be, says Dr. Bassett. "It's anything but a manifestation by and large because of regular as well as all year hypersensitivities." 

Alright, well what does a sinus cerebral pain feel like? 


Once more, as a result of the arrangement of your sinuses, "the agony is over the eyes, between the eyes, or over the cheekbones," says Dr. Namdar. Notwithstanding that torment, patients may likewise feel "delicacy over the influenced sinuses," says Dr. Bassett. More side effects of sinus migraines incorporate Additionally, "post-nasal seepage, blockage, release, just as oral, facial or dental agony can happen with a contamination, for example, sinusitis," Dr. Bassett includes. 

Also, curiously, the seriousness of a sinus cerebral pain may contrast contingent upon the hour of day. "A few sufferers propose their cerebral pain might be increasingly noteworthy prior in the day (maybe because of assortment of bodily fluid from during the evening time," says Dr. Bassett. 

On the off chance that you don't have a runny nose, fever, terrible breath (or an adjustment in how your breath generally smells), you're likely experiencing a headache as opposed to a sinus cerebral pain, per the American Migraine Foundation. (The establishment cautions that "self-analyzed" sinus cerebral pains are really headaches an astounding 90% of the time. So on the off chance that you experience the ill effects of incessant migraines and you're uncertain of what's causing them, it's presumably best to converse with a specialist about your indications.) 

How are sinus cerebral pains treated—and how are they forestalled? 


When a specialist infers that you're experiencing a sinus migraine, explicitly, treatment alternatives fluctuate. Dr. Namdar says utilizing nasal saline flushes, for example, the Neti Pot, can help. He includes, "A few people utilize mitigating [medications, such as] Flonase." Additionally, getting an air purifier for your home can support you on the off chance that you experience the ill effects of sinus migraines, and if a sinus cerebral pain is coming from a bacterial disease, a course of anti-infection agents can be utilized to treat the issue. 

With respect to the agony component, which is the genuine purpose of this article, Dr. Namdar says patients can assume control over-the-counter torment prescriptions like ibuprofen and acetaminophen for the cerebral pain some portion of their sinus migraines. 

While you can't really forestall a sinus migraine on the off chance that you have sinusitis, you can put forth a valiant effort to forestall viral contaminations in any case. Washing your hands with cleanser and water completely and frequently is a decent beginning, alongside making an effort not to contact your nose, mouth, and eyes when your hands are unclean. Eating enough vegetables and getting enough rest can likewise fortify your resistant framework, which means you're more averse to become ill. 

However, the central matter here: Definitely get to the specialist on the off chance that you presume you have a sinus cerebral pain—just a medicinal expert can analyze one, or let you realize that something different (like incessant headaches) may be going on and prescribe subsequent stages to take in understanding that looked at, too.

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