The Pain of Sinus Headaches

Sinusitis can be a real pain. The condition itself is partly defined by a headache that manifests as pain and pressure in your eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead. You may have heard that the discomfort is caused by an infection, which can be viral or bacteria, however, that’s only partly true. A sinus headache is actually caused by mucus buildup when sinuses aren’t draining correctly.

When you’re healthy, your body produces between 1 to 1 ½ liters of mucus every day. Usually, it just runs its course and you never even notice it. But when you’re suffering from sinusitis, one or more areas of your paranasal sinuses become swollen, blocking regular mucus flow. This lack of drainage then leads to buildup, which in turn leads to pressure and sometimes pain.

Where the Pain Is

Sinus headache pain can be in different parts of your face and head – it depends which sinus area is affected. In addition, the pain and pressure can worsen when you lie down or tip your head forward.

Merck Manual explains how certain symptoms associated with the different sinus areas:

  • Maxillary: pain over the cheeks just below the eyes, toothache, and headache
  • Frontal: a headache over the forehead.
  • Ethmoid: pain behind and between the eyes, tearing, and headache (often described as splitting) over the forehead
  • Sphenoid: pain that does not occur in well-defined areas and may be felt in the front or back of the head

Fun Fact: Your open sinus cavities are literally holes in your head and are what allow you to be able to pick up your head. If the area was solid bone, your head would weight too much. So when you’re suffering from sinus issues, these cavities become swollen and blocked, making your head feel heavier (although you can still pick it up even if it doesn’t feel great).

Treat It Right

Not all headaches are created equally and neither are headache treatments. In “Is Ibuprofen Right for a Sinus Headache?” we looked at the pros of using the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and the risks. In “Should You Take an Antibiotic for Sinus Infections?” we did the same for that treatment. Still, in another blog, we asked: “Can a Sinus Infection Go Away on Its Own?” In all three, we reached the conclusion that if you are suffering from sinusitis, including sinus headaches, you can find relief. Let CT Sinus Center help you.

When you come in, we’ll discuss your symptoms and medical history before doing anything else. Then, we’ll perform thorough diagnostic testing to find out whether or not your headache is actually caused by a sinus condition. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, our team will work with you to find the perfect solution for your condition and lifestyle. Among other treatments, you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a noninvasive, in-house procedure done with local anesthesia, will open up your nasal passages and put an end to sinus headaches.

To learn more about what we can do for you, call 860-BALLOON and schedule a consultation with our expert physicians. We have four conveniently-located offices in Connecticut – Kent and Waterbury – so getting to an appointment won’t be the cause of any additional pain. Life gives us enough headaches, you don’t need a sinus one too.

For additional information on sinus-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.

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60 Westwood Ave., Suite 104
Waterbury, CT 06708
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