If you suffer from allergies, there is no doubt that you know the pain of a sinus headache. These headaches occur along the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and/or your forehead right above your eyes. For many people, sinus headaches are the worst part of allergy season. Sinus headaches can also be caused by an infection of the upper respiratory tract or by other irritants that cause the production of excess mucus. Some people have chronic sinus headaches due to anatomical or physiological abnormalities that do not allow their sinuses to drain sufficiently for the amount of mucus produced.
Impact of sinus headaches. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Sinus headaches often begin as soon as you get up in the morning, and may be better by afternoon.” In short, this can be a nasty addition to your 9-to-5, but if the pain gets worse when you bend over or shake your head, especially if it’s significantly better by the time you get home at the end of the day, you can be pretty sure it really is a sinus headache.
Traditional treatments. Because most sinus headaches are caused by allergies, they are most often treated with decongestants or antihistamines. However, over-the-counter NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen are commonly used to reduce swelling in the nasal passages and allow better drainage.
Natural remedies. Left untreated, most sinus headaches will resolve themselves within a few days. Until then, keeping the pressure off can greatly reduce the pain and discomfort you feel during the day. The steam from a nice, hot shower can help loosen up the congestion. If you really want to fight back against a sinus headache, rinsing the sinuses with warm salt water is very effective for breaking up congestion and fighting infection, but this may sting a little. Alternatively, a saline nasal spray may do the trick. Finally, spicy foods such as cayenne peppers, horseradish or wasabi are generally effective decongestants.