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Sinus Headache Treatment

Sinus headaches and migraines are often confused. It is important to determine the type of pain and cause of your headache to develop an effective treatment program. Take the self-test below to determine if your symptoms are likely due to a sinus headache.

My daily symptoms include:

Facial pain and/or pressure​​Never​​Sometimes​Always
​​​ Thick nasal discharge​Never​​Sometimes​Always
Itchy or watery eyes​Never​​Sometimes​Always
Headache pains that worsen when bending over​Never​​Sometimes​Always
Pain that is worse in the morning and lessens throughout the day​Never​​Sometimes​Always

Never = 0
Sometimes = 1
Always = 2

If you gave yourself a score of 5 or more, you may be experiencing symptoms of a sinus headache. Schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) to further discuss symptoms and create a plan for treatment.

Treatment for Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can be caused by upper respiratory infections, allergies or chronic sinusitis. Based on the cause of your sinus headache, your physician may suggest some of the following treatment options:

Sinus headache related to upper respiratory infection

  • Nasal irrigation to remove mucus from the nose
  • Oral decongestants to decrease swelling in the sinuses
  • Topical decongestants to improve airflow in the nose
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Adequate hydration
  • Rest

Sinus headache related to allergy​

  • Nasal irrigation to remove allergens and allergic mucus from the nose
  • Nasal steroid sprays to reduce swelling in the nose and sinuses
  • Antihistamines to block reaction to allergens in the nose and sinuses
  • Short term decongestant use for exacerbations
  • Oral Steroids
  • Surgical procedures to improve nasal breathing and sinus drainage

Sinus headache related to chronic sinusitis

  • ​​Nasal irrigation
  • Nasal steroid sprays
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Oral Steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgical treatment of nasal, septal and sinus abnormalities
Ear, Nose and Throat