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Do you often suffer from unbearable headaches? If these headaches make you feel pressure around your cheeks, eyes, and forehead, you may have sinus headaches! Here we will elaborate on how to relieve sinus headaches.
What are Sinuses?
Sinuses are hollow spaces connected to the back of your cheeks, nose, and forehead. They produce mucus. This mucus is very thin and meant to trap harmful particles.
When you breathe, air travels to your lungs through the sinuses. The mucus in the sinuses captures dust and bacteria and is drained out through your nose as mucus later.
Causes of Sinus Headaches
The main reason for sinus headaches is a sinus infection. You can have a sinus infection when your mucus builds up. Sinus pressure and infection cause sinus headaches.
A common cold can cause nasal congestion and increase sinus pressure leading to headaches. Most sinus headaches may be blamed on the common cold.
Few people suffer from seasonal allergies2 that can trigger mucus production. It is not the allergies that cause sinus headaches. The allergy symptoms cause sinus congestion and cause sinus pressure resulting in sinus inflammation.
Another major cause is the growth of nasal polyps in the sinuses or nose. They are abnormal growth in the nose and can block your mucus membranes.
You may have a deviated septum if your mucus does not drain properly. A deviated septum 3occurs when the bone in the centre of the nose is not straight.
In all the above cases, mucus buildup gives an environment for the germs to grow. These germs irritate your sinuses as they continue to grow. The sinus membrane swells and blocks the mucus passage and causes pain.
Symptoms of sinus infections are runny nose, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore throat. Other sinus symptoms include nasal discharge and severe ear, nose, and throat pain. However, the principal symptom of chronic sinusitis is severe sinus headaches
Diagnosis for Sinus Infections
There are numerous medical procedures for early diagnosis of sinus infections. The neurological institute recommends various tests such as magnetic resonance imaging tests and nasal endoscopy4 for early detection of sinus pain. You can also examine for sinus infection through a physical exam.
How to Relieve Sinus Headache? 8 Ways Explained!
There are plenty of home treatments that can help you reduce swelling of the nasal passages. Following home remedies can reduce the inflammation and the resulting pain.
Taking steam helps to moisten your dry sinuses. Dry air and dry sinus passages increase sinus pressure. Steam helps to lighten the mucus that has thickened over time.
Taking a hot shower also helps to reduce congestion5. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your water. The oil contains cineole which helps to reduce nasal blocks and improves sinus drainage.
2. Saline Wash
Salt water flush is one of the commonly used treatments for sinus headaches. Spraying your nose with salt water helps to relieve sinus pain. This treatment increases moisture and reduces sinus pressure.
If you are familiar with yoga, you can use a neti pot. Neti pot6 has been used for ages to treat sinus headaches and migraines. It is a container that helps you pour salt water into the nasal passage and rinse off the mucus.
Saline nasal sprays are available in a drugstore. You can also make one on your own. To make your saline solution nasal spray, you can use baking soda and salt that is iodine-free.
3. Warm or Cold Compresses
A warm compress helps in thinning the mucus by warming the nasal passages. Placing a cold compress on your forehead can reduce the intense pain from a sinus headache. This will reduce inflammation.
You can also alternate between the two compresses. You can use a warm compress for about 3 minutes and alternate it with a cold pack for 30 seconds preventing sinus pain.
Making your body rest by helping it to catch a good night’s sleep can do wonders to heal a sinus headache. When you rest, your body produces more white blood cells that attack the intruding viruses and bacteria. This will reduce the pain and symptoms of most sinus infections.
Avoid beverages and food that are over-stimulating before going to bed. A good night’s sleep will help you recuperate faster and prevent symptoms.
Relaxation exercises are effective in relieving sinus pain and pressure. Breathing exercises can relieve sinus pressure and reduce congestion in nasal passages. Yoga is also considered a solution when congestion gets worse.
Practising yoga regularly will help in improving blood circulation and reduce body stress. A downward-facing pose is very effective as it helps to reduce congestion in nasal cavities. These yoga asanas provide quick relief from sinus headaches.
Increasing your water intake can provide instant pain relief from sinus pain. Water is known to reduce pain and pressure. Hydration through juice, water, ice, or even tea can reduce sinus pain.
7. Over-the-counter painkillers
Plenty of prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relievers are available for sinus pain. Nasal steroid sprays containing nasal decongestants are the most common. The saline nasal spray in spray improves sinus drainage and reduces sinus headaches and associated pain.
Various oral decongestants are also available in the market, which have proven effective against sinus problems. However, overdosage of these medicines can result in medication overuse headaches instead of pain relief.
8. Sleeping Position
Improper sleeping position can result in sinus pressure build-up at night and thereby worsening the symptoms. The most recommended sleeping position is to keep your head above your heart. This will prevent the building up of mucus and pressure and provide pain relief.
Sinus pain is extremely painful. Always consult a doctor if the remedies and OTC medication do not reduce the symptoms. Sinus headaches and the associated other symptoms may be an indication of another severe illness.
1. What pressure points can relieve sinus headaches?
Ans. Acupressure Point LI 20 can relieve sinus headaches.
2. What drinks can help in relieving sinus headaches?
Ans. Following are the drinks that can help in relieving the sinus headache:
- plain water.
- hot water with lemon, honey, or ginger.
- herbal teas.
3. Are milk products good for the sinuses?
Ans. No, milk and milk products will moreover elevate your sinuses.
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