What Causes a Severe Sinus Headache?

Article Details
  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 2014, scientists mapped a roundworm's brain and uploaded it into a Lego robot, which moved without instructions.  more...

October 15 ,  1969 :  The US Vietnam Moratorium march took place.  more...

A severe sinus headache is usually the result of sinusitis. When people have sinusitis, their sinuses are not draining properly because they are blocked. Sinuses become blocked when they get irritated and inflamed, and sinusitis causes this. Cold, flu, and allergies are the primary causes of sinusitis. When a person's sinus cavities fill up with mucus that cannot drain, the amount of pressure a person feels in that area increases, and as a result the person will often experience a severe sinus headache.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a severe sinus headache and a migraine headache. People with sinus headaches will occasionally have other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough, but this is not always the case. Sinus headaches can occur with no other symptoms, and a person who has a sinus headache might believe he is actually suffering from a migraine. When a person has a sinus headache, his face might feel tender to the touch, and the pain may increase when he is outside in cold weather. People who have migraine headaches often feel nauseous in addition to having headaches, and it is not uncommon for them to see flashing lights behind their eyes.


When a severe sinus headache persists for more than a few days, it might be necessary to see a doctor. In most cases, doctors can help patients determine if their headaches are caused by sinus inflammation or other problems. Doctors can diagnose a sinus headache by asking their patients questions about their symptoms along with checking for signs of congestion and drainage inside the ears and throat. People who have chronic sinusitis often experience sinus headaches on a regular basis, and these people are often referred to ear, nose, and throat doctors because surgery on the sinuses is occasionally necessary for treatment.

Most of the time, a severe sinus headache will go away on its own after the sinuses are no longer inflamed and blocked off. If the headache was the direct result of a cold or allergies, it will probably disappear around the same time the cold and allergy symptoms lessen. There are also many things people can do at home to help ease their discomfort while they have sinus headaches. Doctors often recommend nasal irrigation and humidifier use to help with sinus symptoms. Anti-inflammatory pain medicine might additionally help alleviate the pain that a severe sinus headache can cause.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 4

@healthy4life – One major sinus headache symptom is pain in the front of your face, like in your forehead, eyes, and cheeks. Migraines usually cause pain on the sides of your head instead.

Since you suffer from allergies, it's more likely you are having severe sinus headaches than migraines. I have a good friend who suffers from migraines, and they sound nothing like sinus headaches.

He gets a pulsating pain in his temples, and he often becomes nauseous and sees purple spots. He loses parts of his field of vision, and he becomes really sensitive to sound and light. He has to go to a dark room and lie down.

The pain from a sinus headache is either sharp and shooting or dull, but I wouldn't describe it as pulsating. It's more of a continuous ache with little stabs of pain now and then.

Post 3

I have problems with allergies all year, so it is hard for me to tell if I have a chronic sinus headache or a migraine. Both are so painful that I can barely function while having them.

I have pain behind my eyes and in my forehead. I know I have sinuses in both spots, but can't a migraine also be felt in both areas?

Post 2

I get sinus headaches when I have a cold. The first stage of the cold is just a super runny nose and an overproduction of mucus, but after a few days, that turns into total sinus congestion, and the pressure is unbearable.

I take a decongestant that also has a painkiller in it, and this makes the swelling in my sinuses go down a little bit. The pain medicine works on the dull ache and any sharp pains I may be having.

Antihistamines don't do much for slowing the mucus down, but decongestants actually help a little for sinus headaches. Many medicines are a combination of both, and that is fine, as long as they also have pain medicine in them.

Post 1

I sometimes get severe sinus infections, and I always get a killer headache along with them. I suffer from chronic allergies, and though I'm on medication for this, it doesn't completely do away with the symptoms.

I get these headaches most often during the dead of winter and the start of spring. I know that in spring, pollen is to blame, and I believe that my winter sinus issues are caused by being indoors too much.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?