All in Your Head

All in Your Head

It’s a terrible feeling. Your head is pounding, your face is throbbing, and breathing seems impossible. There’s no doubt that sinus headache symptoms can be distracting—even agonizing. Sometimes the result of allergies or a simple cold, sinus headaches can also indicate sinusitis, an infection that may require antibiotics to treat.

Woman with sinus headacheWhat causes the pain, pressure, and throbbing? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?

Sinuses are essentially pockets of air in the bones of the skull. In infants they can be as small as a pea, but they grow throughout childhood until about the size of a lemon. Lined with mucous membranes, they’re responsible for the filtering air you breathe, which they manage by secreting mucus. This mucus—up to a quart a day—passes through your nose, clearing out pollutants and bacteria. The mucus is typically swallowed, and stomach acid kills the bacteria and pollutants.

When you have a sinus headache, it’s typically due to inflammation of the mucosal lining. The tissue swells, the drainage system gets clogged, and before you know it—sinus pressure.

The best way to treat a sinus headache is before it starts—at the very first sign of sinus pressure. Some treatments include:
• Staying hydrated to thin the mucus
• A warm washcloth on the face
• Using a humidifier
• Rinsing the sinuses using a saline rinse

Sinusitis occurs when there is an active infection in the mucosal tissue. While it can usually be treated at home, you may want to seek medical care if you experience:
• High fever
• Facial swelling
• Symptoms that just won’t go away

Here’s hoping you feel better soon. If your problems persist with sinus headache symptoms, please give us a call today.

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Other patients should not be seen, according to guidelines.
Patients with flu like symptoms or fever or known exposure to COVID-19
should go to urgent care or speak to their primary care physician.

Be well and don’t hesitate to reach out to us as needed.
The Staff and Doctors of The New York Otolaryngology Group