font size

Sinus Headache (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

When should I seek medical care for a sinus headache?

Many people correctly self-diagnose sinusitis and treat themselves at home. Drinking plenty of fluids and humidifying the air is often enough to open the nasal passages and allow the sinuses to drain. This home treatment also may loosen secretions that are already present and promote drainage.

However, medical care may be needed if a fever is present, if there is swelling that can be felt in the face (perhaps signaling an abscess formation), or if the person exhibits a change in behavior or thinking.

Seeking medical care may also be appropriate if the pain does not respond to over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen or if symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days.

How is a sinus headache diagnosed?

It is important that the cause of the headache be diagnosed. Many patients who believe that they have sinus headaches may instead have migraine or tension headaches.

The health care professional will likely begin by taking a history of the symptoms to help come to the diagnosis. Contributing factors in the development of sinusitis and headache may include a recent cold or upper respiratory tract infection, history of smoking, environmental allergies to dust or molds, as well as recent airplane travel, swimming or SCUBA diving, or other activities involving air pressure changes within the facial sinuses.

Physical examination may reveal tenderness to percussion, or tapping, over the affected sinus that reproduces the pain. Examination of the ears may reveal a serous otitis, or fluid levels behind the eardrum in the middle ear, that may suggest drainage problems in the face and sinuses. Examination of the nose may reveal swollen nasal passages and discharge. Evaluation of the mouth and teeth may find a source of infection, and the back of the throat may be examined for signs of postnasal drainage.

The health care professional may consider imaging studies of the sinuses to look for fluid collections or thickening of the mucus membranes that line the sinus walls. Limited CT scan of the sinuses is often recommended. Plain X-rays of the sinuses also may be considered. Blood tests tend not to be helpful in making the diagnosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/28/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Sinus Headache - Cause Question: What was the cause of your sinus headache?
Sinus Headache - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your sinus headache?
Sinus Headache - Remedies Question: What home remedies have you found helpful in treating your sinus headaches?
Sinus Headache - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with sinus headache.
Sinus Headache - Complications Question: Have you experienced complications from a sinus headache? If so, please relate your experience.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/sinus_headache/article.htm

Allergies & Asthma

Improve treatments & prevent attacks.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD