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There’s no mistaking the pain of a sinus headache. Unlike other types of headaches, this pain feels like it originates in the space behind your nose, rather than the brain, and it exerts tremendous pressure on your face. Generally, pain-relieving pills help reduce the symptoms, but serious cases of sinus headaches caused by acute sinusitis may require drastic action to prevent the issue from becoming a constant concern.
There are many reasons why your sinuses might feel acute pain, most of which have nothing to do with your sinuses at all. Usually, rather than sinusitis or another sinus condition causing the headaches, the source of the pain is actually the result of migraines or headaches caused by tension.
In these cases, medications can be used to fend off the worst of the effects and sometimes even prevent the pain from occurring in the first place. Triptans are a type of medication that work in two ways to defeat sinus headaches, blocking pain signals in the brain while also reducing the amount of blood flow to the affected area.
Ergots are a class of medication that combines caffeine and ergotamine to relieve pain, and is typically recommended for those people whose pain lasts 72 hours or more. The side effects, such as an increase in nausea and vomiting, may require the addition of anti-nausea medication to counteract these negative side effects.
Glucocorticoids are a form of steroid that may be prescribed to help reduce the pain. However, due to the overall toxicity of steroids, this option shouldn’t be used frequently.
Over-the-counter medications may be also be used to reduce the pain, although these solutions may not provide relief for those with severe symptoms.
Sinusitis is one of the causes of sinus headaches and occurs when the nasal cavities become inflamed and swollen. The inflammation of sinusitis can end up causing facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and severe headaches, as the nerves around the sinuses become irritated.
When sinusitis progresses rapidly or lasts for longer than a couple of months, serious complications, including infection and debilitating pain, may occur. In these cases, basic treatments such as nasal irrigation, pain relievers, and antibiotics give way to surgery performed by an experienced doctor.
Millions of Americans suffer from a variety of nasal and sinus conditions, all of which create challenges to day and night activities. If you are one of those suffering from sinus headaches, we can help. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we assess patients for the severity of their condition, and determine the best treatment option.