What is a sinus headache?

Simply put, there is no such thing as sinus headaches.

There are sinus conditions that can be accompanied by headaches, and there are headache conditions that can give you sinus issues as well, but there is no isolated sinus headache. Sinus conditions could be infectious, inflammatory, or pressure related. Typically, most sinus conditions should give you a degree of congestion, runny nose, or postnasal dripping. There may also be a yellow discharge from the sinuses. Patients may also suffer from fever and general malaise. If these symptoms are severe enough, pressure may build up within the sinuses, and the patient may suffer accompanied headache.

Conversely, some headache conditions, such as cluster headaches, can trigger a sympathetic chain reaction that can then lead to nasal stuffiness and runny nose, mostly of clear material.

Unfortunately, many patients suffering from chronic headaches erroneously self-diagnose themselves with sinus headaches. With the lack of any other sinus symptoms such as runny nose, nasal obstruction, or postnasal dripping, a diagnosis of sinus headache can actually not be confirmed.

Without these concomitant symptoms, it is actually best to be seen by both an ear, nose, and throat specialist as well as a headache specialist to ascertain the origin of the headaches in a more scientific manner. Often, CT scan of the sinuses or of the head might also be necessary to help with this diagnosis.

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Posted in: Nose, Sinuses

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