Sinus Headaches

What Are Symptoms Of A Sinus Headache?

April 12, 2016

3 minutes

Plenty of people endure headaches that result from compromised sinus passages. Yet few people are aware of the distinction between a regular headache and a sinus headache. Let’s take a look at the common symptoms of a sinus headache to help you figure out whether your sinus issues are causing related pain.

How a Sinus Headache Occurs

The sinuses are spaces in the forehead, cheekbones and areas behind the nose that are filled with air. When a sinus is enflamed due to an infection, allergic reaction or tumor, an excess production of mucus occurs along with significant swelling. These reactions often cause a blockage of the sinus drain channels. As a result, there is increased pressure throughout the sinuses that often causes pain similar to a headache.

Symptoms of a Sinus Headache

If you feel a deep, unwavering pain along your forehead, cheekbones or the bridge portion of your nose, you might have a sinus headache. The pain of a sinus headache typically intensifies with a quick movement of the head or any sort of straining. If you lie down or bend forward and feel an increase in pain, there is a good chance that you are suffering from a sinus headache. A number of other symptoms typically accompany the pain. They include facial swelling, fever, thick/discolored nasal discharges and a feeling that the ears are full. Other indicators of a sinus headache include excessive fatigue, a stuffy nose, limited sense of smell and aches along the upper teeth/cheek.

For most, the telltale sign of a sinus headache is a fever. A legitimate sinus headache is often caused by a sinus blockage like an infection that results in the increase in the body’s temperature. A blockage in the sinus can typically be identified by a physical exam combined with a doctor’s analysis of the patient’s medical history. However, some situations require a CT or MRI scan to verify that the patient’s pain is indeed caused by a sinus issue.

The Difference Between a Sinus Headache and a Chronic/Migraine Headache

Unfortunately, a large number of people tend to label every type of headache as a chronic/migraine headache. The truth is that chronic headaches are the result of causes unrelated to the sinuses. There is a clear distinction between the symptoms of the two types of headaches. Each has its own unique style of treatment to boot. However, it is possible to confuse one type of headache for another as their symptoms sometimes overlap. As an example, each style of headache results in a worsening of pain as the patient bends forward.

Patients should be aware of the fact that 90% of patients who see a physician for a sinus headache actually have a regular headache. If you experience a headache accompanied by vomiting, nausea or irritation due to bright light/noises, you are likely suffering from a migraine headache rather than a sinus headache. Migraine headaches also bring about nasal pain, including an increase in facial pressure, congestion and clear, watery nasal discharges.


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