Symptoms of a Sinus Headache


Sinuses are air-filled cavities surrounding your nose eyes and cheeks. When sinuses are inflamed, you find sinus headache symptoms.

Sinus Headache

If you’ve ever had sinus headache symptoms you know what a pain they can be. They can be annoying at best and physically debilitating at worst. They can often be associated with migraine symptoms, but they are quite different. Sinus pressure is the most common cause of sinus headache symptoms. Sinus pressure can be associated with a sinus infection or something more malignant.

The sinuses themselves are the cavities in your cheekbones, forehead and behind the bridge of your nose. The sinus cavities produce mucus that, in a healthy body, will drain out of the nasal passages. However, if you have a sinus infection, an allergic reaction or even a tumor the sinuses can become inflamed. When inflamed, they swell up and block the flow of mucus. This blockage can lead to a headache that can be quite painful. Cold air and moist weather can often make the matter worse. If the sinuses are able to warm up and dry out the pressure can often be alleviated. However, dehydration could potentially intensify the symptoms, so may want to aim for moderately moist air (not too wet, not too dry).

There is a difference between sinus headache symptoms and migraine symptoms. Both sinus headache symptoms and migraine symptoms get worse when you bend forward. Both are associated with congestion, watery nasal discharge and facial pressure. However, the difference comes with the feelings of nausea. Migraines are associated with nausea and vomiting. They increase in intensity with noise and bright light; this is not necessarily the case with sinus headaches.

Sinus headache symptoms are more general but at times can still be quite painful. Your face is usually very tender around the sinus cavity areas and painful to touch. When you make quick head movements the sinus pressure is increased momentarily. Pain behind your eyes can be a sure sign of a sinus headache, becoming even more painful if you do something strenuous and your heart starts pumping harder, further constricting your sinus cavities. These headaches will often happen during or right after a cold when your sinuses are most likely to become infected. Extreme temperature changes can also trigger sinus headache symptoms as your sinuses basically act as the barometers in your body. If the air pressure around your body changes too rapidly, they can go a bit haywire – and you’ll feel the effects.

Many times blowing your nose will not take care of the sinus headache symptoms, but if you feel like pressure is building in your sinus cavities you can try antihistamine products to reduce the inflammation. Over the counter remedies can help, but make sure they have anti-inflammatory properties. Some people also find relief in nasal steroid sprays, although these should be used in moderation and only according to the instructions on the label. For the best advice, of course, see your family doctor or primary physician.

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    • Sinus Headache Symptoms

      Headaches caused due to sinus have the following symptoms.

      1. Pressurizing pain at certain definite portion of your face as for instance, below your eyes.
      2. Pain gets intensified when you move or bend forward your head suddenly.
      3. Mucus gets collected whole night. Hence, pain is severe immediately after getting up in the morning that subsides slowly and vanishes by the afternoon.
      4. Pain gets worsened when your body is subjected to sudden change of temperature such as going from a warmer temperature in a room, out to a colder temperature outside.
      5. When you catch bad cold, the headache begins.
      6. Nasal discharge, swelling on your face and feeling of feverish and fullness in the ears.

      Sinus Inflammation or Sinusitis

      Sinusitis may also lead to sinus headache symptoms that may be any of the following.

      1. Sore throat with dripping from the nose.
      2. Greenish or yellow colored discharge from nose.
      3. Congestion of nose with swelling of nasal passages and red mark on the surface of nose.
      4. Feeling of un-wellness, general fatigue and moderately or mildly feverish.

      Sometimes, chronic headaches caused due to migraine or mental stress may be mistaken as Sinus Headache Symptoms. Because of this misjudgment, sometimes, CT scan or MRI maybe required for diagnosis of the disease.

      It is misconceived that sinus headaches are caused due to allergies. But allergies may lead to nasal congestion which may cause pain due to aches. In such circumstances, consult your physician and have separate treatments.

      Sinus Headaches Versus Sinusitis

      Sinusitis is the cause and sinus headaches are the effects. Sinusitis is caused by infection of the respiratory system that may be cause due to bad cold or influenza, allergies or hay fever.


      In normal condition, sinuses or the air-filled cavities below your eyes, facilitate drainage of mucus and circulation of air throughout the nasal passages. The inflammation of sinuses blocks these thoroughfares and obstructs the drainage of mucus. This creates a favorable environment for the living and rapid growth of harmful organisms like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Besides cold, a number of other factors that obstruct the draining function of the sinuses may also be the sinusitis generating agent.

      Factors of Risk

      If you have the history of allergies; particularly asthma or hay fever, you are susceptible to sinusitis. If you are accustomed to frequent swimming or diving and climbing or flying to higher altitudes; be cautious. You may also mark the warning signal if you observe swelling of your nasal passage or nasal polyps, bone spur or tumor on your nose.


      If you find sinus headache symptoms, take care to treatment for sinus inflammation as prescribed by your physician. You may resort to use of humidifier or by irritating your nasal passage with warm saline water; may aid you in getting relief from the resultant pain. Other options are breathing in steam, immediate treatment of asthma attacks, stretching of head and neck and relaxation techniques.

      Read: Sinus Headache Symptoms and Treatment