WHAT ARE SINUS HEADACHES?
Sinus headaches consist of a sensation of pressure in the distribution of the paranasal sinuses. This could be above the eyes or in the cheek areas. Usually, they’re associated with sinus congestion or nasal stuffiness. They may be associated with a sinus infection which may occur after a cold or upper respiratory tract infection. Occasionally, symptoms of sinus headaches may occur with sinus and nasal allergies.
HOW DO DOCTORS DIAGNOSE SINUS HEADACHES?
The first step is to exclude other types of headaches. Sometimes migraine headaches may appear to be sinus in origin. However, migraine headaches are frequently associated with nausea and worsened by bright light or loud noises. They may be brought on by certain migraine triggers such as stress, foods or food additives like MSG, and caffeine.
Occasionally tension or cluster headaches may be confused with true sinus headaches. Diagnosis not only involves a careful history and physical examination but use of certain tests to determine if sinus disease exists. These include nasal endoscopy and a CT (CAT) scan of the sinuses. At Nevada Sinus Relief, these procedures are performed in the office setting to make an accurate diagnosis.
HOW ARE SINUS HEADACHES TREATED?
Treatment of sinus headaches includes use of saline nasal irrigations, treatment of coexisting allergies with antihistamines and intranasal steroid sprays, as well as use of oral decongestants as required. If the sinus infection is present, antibiotics targeted for sinus disease are used. At times the natural openings of the sinuses are blocked and occluded. This results in a buildup of fluid within the sinus chamber. This causes a pressure sensation that can present as a headache. In these circumstances, if medical treatment fails, enlarging the natural opening using balloon sinus dilation for the targeted sinuses usually results in alleviating the sinus pressure.