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When sinus headaches strike, the pain and pressure that you feel make it nearly impossible to function regularly. The University of Pennsylvania states that sinusitis and its symptoms are among the most reported medical issues in the United States, responsible for $6 billion worth of medical bills and more than 12 million visits to a physician.
Even though you may feel you know what causes sinus headaches, researchers believe that quite a few patients are misdiagnosed, preventing the application of an appropriate cure for your condition.
Your doctor needs to take the time to make sure that your sinus pain isn’t caused by tension headaches or migraines. Treating the latter two conditions as a sinus headache may cause your condition to become worse. Similarly, misdiagnosing sinusitis as a non-sinus headache will make it more difficult to heal the cause of your problem.
Check to make sure that the following symptoms are present:
All of the above, especially the sensation of facial pressure, signal that your headache is more likely caused by sinusitis instead of an unrelated condition. Other symptoms, such as fever, red nasal passages, teeth pain and tiredness, are also linked to sinus problems, but may also be a sign of another condition.
As a whole, sinusitis is typically caused by viruses and infections that affect the airways, resulting in inflammation that’s at the root of the pain you’re experiencing.
If you live in an environment with dry air, in particular cold winter climates, a lack of moisture may cause your nose and sinuses to become filled with thick, viscous mucous. This prevents your nose from functioning correctly, causing irritation and even infection of the sinuses.
There are a variety of solutions to keep your sinuses functioning correctly. Running a humidifier helps to fill indoor environments with moist air. If you’re stuffed up, using a Neti pot to flush and clean your nose is far better than using tissue paper, which may increase the irritation and dryness of your sinuses.
For portable relief of your sinuses, carrying a bottle of saline spray ensures that your airways stay lubricated throughout the day. Saline sprays are fairly inexpensive solutions that you can mix on your own by adding a teaspoon of salt into a pint of lukewarm water. Boiling the water before mixing ensures that the solution is clean of infectious, biological agents.
When sinus headaches become a recurring problem, seeking a specialist in the field of nose and throat medicine will help to cure or reduce the severity of the problem. Unfortunately, far too many medical professionals prescribe treatments such as antibiotics for sinus-related problems, despite studies which show that bacterial sinusitis rarely causes pain. Instead, it’s the blockage of the sinus ostia that normally causes severe discomfort.
Houston Sinus & Allergy specializes in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. Our practice is committed to helping you find long term relief from your symptoms. Dr. Nguyen is a Board Certified ENT – Head and Neck Surgeon with extensive training & experience in diseases of the ears, nose & throat.
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