Sinus headaches arise due to the infection or inflammation of the mucous membranes. This results to swelling, congestion and pain in the sinus cavity. The mucous or air that is trapped inside the congested sinuses triggers a headache.
The pain typically starts behind the eyes but can move back into the head and to the teeth. The sinus headaches can be triggered by smoke, allergies, mold and dust. The inflammation should be reduced first to allow drainage of the sinuses to alleviate the discomfort.
Measures in managing sinus headaches
A doctor should be consulted especially for sinus headaches that is accompanied by fever. If the headache lasts 7 days or more, it might be an indication of a sinus infection that requires antibiotics.
- Alternate the application of cold and warm compresses to stimulate the flow of blood and allow drainage of the sinuses. Prepare a washcloth with warm water and another with cold water. Make sure that the excess is wringed out. Apply the warm washcloth over the sinus region for 3 minutes, remove and apply the cold one for 1 minute. Repeat each 3 times and perform the process at least 4 times throughout the day.
- Irrigation of the nasal passages can help clear away any mucous, irritant, bacteria and other particles responsible for the allergic reactions. The cleansing of the sinuses helps lessen the swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages and promotes drainage.
- Inhale moist air from a humidifier, bowl of steaming water or vaporizer to relieve sinus headaches. Take note that dry air worsens sinus congestion and inflammation and moist air reverses this effect. If a humidifier or vaporizer is not available, use boiled water in a bowl, drape a towel over the head and breathe in the steam by inhaling via the nose.
- Drink more water to keep the body hydrated and moisten the nasal passages to allow them to drain freely. Increasing the intake of fluid also help reduce the inflammation.
- When sleeping, it should be on a slight incline to keep the nasal passages clear and allow the drainage of the sinuses. You can add a few extra pillows or bed wedge to elevate the sleeping position.
- An over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatory drug can be used to relieve the pain of sinus headaches. The over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines can also provide relief.