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Virtually everyone has suffered from a headache at one time or another. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, and the aches may occur in any part of the head. There are also a large number of headache causes, from muscle tension to exertion to neurologic issues. Yet, one of the most common causes of headaches often goes unnoticed by patients – sinusitis.
The sinuses are cavities located near the nasal passages and are mainly situated above and to both sides of the nose. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses due to infection or other factors. It may be either acute – short term – or ongoing, known as chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Of course, one of the major symptoms of sinusitis is a headache. The headache is usually focused around the eyes and forehead but may radiate to other areas, like the teeth and jaw. Additionally, sinusitis may cause a feeling of pressure or fullness in the face along with tenderness. Fever, a persistent cough and facial swelling are also signs of sinusitis. Nasal drainage that is cloudy, yellow or green in coloration may occur, particularly if the infection is caused by bacteria.
Treatment of Sinusitis
Treatment for a sinus headache is often in the form of addressing the underlying sinusitis. If the sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, an ENT specialist may prescribe antibiotics to kill off the harmful bacteria. Viral sinusitis will not respond to antibiotics, and the treatment is normally hydration and decongestant medications. In the case of sinusitis due to allergies, antihistamines might be prescribed.
If the sinusitis is being caused by exposure to inhaled irritants, like smoke, chemical fumes or dust, an ENT physician will usually recommend avoidance of the offending substance(s) along with treatments to soothe the inflamed sinus tissue. In rare cases, sinusitis may be caused by a fungal infection, and antifungal medications are typically given to combat this.
A common non-prescription treatment recommended by many ENT doctors is Neti-Pot use. Sterile saline is poured into the nostrils in order to clear the sinuses. In the case of persistent or severe chronic sinusitis, sinus surgery may be offered.