Sinus headaches are caused from inflamed sinuses (sinusitis). Often, there is a misconception between a sinus headache and migraine or tension headaches. Sinus headaches are not as common as tension headaches.

The sinuses are small air-filled spaces located in the cheekbones, forehead, nose, eyes and skull. They allow mucus to drain out and provide circulation. The sinuses can become infected and irritated due to allergies, colds or flu and causes an infection to spread, become swollen or pressure to build up in the sinuses. Because of the amount of pressure built up within the sinuses, pain can occur and this is what causes sinus headaches.


Symptoms of sinus headaches:

  • Constant pain or pressure in cheeks, eyes, forehead or nose
  • Stuffy nose and cold-like symptoms
  • Green or yellow nasal discharge
  • Worsening pain with head movement, straining and bending
  • Fullness and swelling in ears and face
  • Feeling of blockage

If you are only experiencing one or two of these symptoms, you may have tension-type headache or migraine as sinus headaches occur with sinus symptoms like nasal discharge.

Treating sinus headaches

You can start by treating your headache from home by keeping hydrated and drinking lots of fluids and resting.

Try taking over the counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen and even decongestant sprays, saline nasal sprays and drops to help clear and flush out the nose a little bit, this may help relieve the pressure of the sinus headache.

Another way of decongesting is by inhaling steam or applying a warm cloth to your nose, this will open up the sinuses.

If you find that your sinus headache is persisting, getting worse, not relieved by over the counter painkillers or keeps coming back then it’s important that you go see a GP or doctor to treat you. You may need antibiotics to help fight infection, antihistamines for allergies or corticosteroids to reduce the swelling.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.