Sinus headaches are quite literally a pain to deal with. The distress and discomfort are often enough to temporarily put a person down for the count. Headaches caused by sinus infections occur because of congestion and inflammation in the nasal and sinus cavities. The sinus infection itself is usually triggered by an upper airway infection or irritation, such as the common cold or flu or allergies respectively. In order to prevent headaches and other sinus symptoms, the sinuses must be healthy enough to allow proper mucus drainage from the nasal passages. Sinus infection prevention is key but that’s not always possible. Without proper treatment, sinus infections and their accompanying headaches often come and go.
If you experience frequent or recurrent sinus infection headaches, you’ve probably in search of treatments or remedies that provide relief and prevent future headaches. The Southern California Sinus Institute offers safe and effective treatment options for chronic sinus infections and frequent sinus headaches.
Personal Therapeutic Options
Most sinus infections and headaches resolve on their own. However, the discomfort of headaches and other sinus symptoms is often so extreme they can make breathing and functioning quite challenging. The following remedies can help ease sinusitis pain, inflammation, and headaches, but they do not treat the actual infection.
Hydration: Dehydration causes the mucus secretions to become thicker, making it harder for them to drain from the sinuses. Mucus that accumulates in the airways becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and other germs, increasing the risk of infections. Increasing hydration helps thin out mucus secretions so they can drain properly. Proper hydration also decreases the risk of infection, inflammation, and pressure buildup in the nasal airways and sinus headaches and facial pain.
Over-the-Counter Remedies: Rinsing the sinuses helps flush irritants from the nose and loosen up thick mucus secretions. Many people who experience frequent head pain and other sinus symptoms use specially formulated nasal rinses to relieve the stuffiness in their nose and reduce the pressure of their headaches. They may also rely on store-bought pain and allergy medications, supplements, decongestants, and antihistamines to alleviate their symptoms for sinus headaches and symptom management. These products usually provide temporary relief, but not always. Long-term use can lead to sinus infection complications and a decrease in overall remedy effectiveness.
Humidity: Inadequate humidity levels can interfere with proper mucus drainage and trigger sinus headaches. Air that lacks moisture dries out the mucus membranes in the nose, causing the passages to become irritated and swollen. Air that is too humid leads to mucus and pressure buildup and inflammation. Many sinus sufferers find relief by using a humidifier to maintain proper humidity levels in the air they breathe to keep their airways moist and in good health for proper mucus drainage.
These treatments are not always effective for recurrent or chronic sinus infections. They also don’t prevent the symptoms from returning. Medical intervention is the most effective way to manage sinus symptoms.
Medical Sinus Headache Treatment Options
Sinus headaches treatment depends on the cause of the infection. In some cases, sinusitis develops from a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are treatable with antibiotics. Nasal corticosteroids and other medications may also be provided to help reduce irritation and inflammation in the nose to alleviate the mucus and pressure buildup, especially for people with allergies. Antibiotics and medications alone do not provide immediate relief. Antibiotic and medication therapy often become effective after continuous use, usually days or weeks.
Surgery is not usually the primary course of treatment for sinus infections or headaches, but it is highly effective at symptom management and infection prevention. Surgery addresses the structural issues of the nose, such as a deviated septum or polyps that contribute to sinus and mucus drainage problems to prevent headaches and other symptoms from recurring.
In-Office Balloon Sinuplasty: Balloon sinuplasty is done to widen the airways and nostrils so mucus can drain, and patients can breathe easier. It also reduces pressure and inflammation in the nasal cavities to stop headaches, facial soreness, and pressure sensitivity. The balloon sinuplasty procedure is done in-office with a local anesthetic and requires no downtime for patients. Dr. Cohen administers the treatment by inserting a special medical balloon into the patient’s nose. After insertion, he gently inflates the device to slowly widen the airways, enabling trapped mucus to drain.
Nasal or Sinus Polypectomy: Excess nasal tissue or polyps can cause blockages, sinus infections, and headaches. A sinus polypectomy involves the surgical removal of abnormal nasal tissues that cause the airways to become too narrow for adequate breathing capacity and comfort. This procedure is done in-office, with a mild anesthetic to minimize potential discomfort. The procedure may be converted to an image-guided endoscopic surgery for patients who experience acute or chronic sinus infections. An image-guided endoscopic procedure is more invasive than a sinus polypectomy because it requires general anesthesia and involves the removal of infected or damaged nasal cartilage and bone in addition to tissues.
Revision Sinus Surgery: Revision sinus surgery is ideal for sinus headache sufferers who have excessive or advanced nasal polyps, scars, and diseased or damaged tissues. Revision surgery may incorporate the use of in-office endoscopic lysis of synechiae, balloon dilation/Propel™ stents, and other advanced, state-of-the-art techniques. Candidates for sinus revision surgery typically have a history of failed sinus infections medication and medical therapies and surgeries.
Septoplasty/Deviated Septum Repair: Sinus headaches and infections due to a deviated septum are very common. Most people have some degree of deviation in their noses, due to health, lifestyle, and other factors. Deviations often range from slight to severe or advanced. Individuals with moderate to serious deviations in their septum are more likely to experience nasal blockages that lead to frequent sinus infections and headaches. Dr. Cohen performs the septoplasty procedure to repair the septum to widen the patient’s nostrils and give them a more normal structure to alleviate the painful pressure and mucus buildup or sinus infections and to prevent future occurrences.
Contact SoCal Sinus for Sinus Head Pain Relief
Sinus headaches are often the result of inflamed or infected sinuses. If you’re ready to live life sinus headache-free, contact the Southern California Sinus Institute today to learn which frequent sinus treatment is right for you.