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Sinuses are hollow spaces in the bones of the head above the eyes (frontal) and below (maxillary). They are lined with mucous membranes which produce a starchy liquid keeping their surfaces moist. The sinuses are linked to the nose and throat passage ways by narrow tubes called ducts. Infections pass along these ducts causing sinusitis.
Some infections penetrate the sinuses and cause inflammation with swollen tissues and increased mucus secretion. This causes severe burning pain in the forehead, under the eyes and behind the nose, extending to teeth on occasions.
Headaches can accompany sinusitis, a condition in which the membranes lining the sinuses become swollen and inflamed. But many people who assume they have sinus headaches actually have migraines or tension headaches.
Causes of Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches are caused by sinus congestion and inflammation (called sinusitis). Sinusitis, in turn, is caused by either a respiratory infection (such as a cold) or allergies (like hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis). The sinuses are air-filled spaces lined with mucous membranes surrounding the forehead, cheeks and eyes. Healthy sinuses allow mucus to drain and air to circulate throughout the nasal passages. When sinuses become inflamed, these areas get blocked and mucus cannot drain. This lack of proper sinus drainage can lead to infection.
Sinus headaches can also result from changes in atmospheric pressure (for example, from swimming or climbing to high altitudes)
Treatment For A Sinus Headache
Sinus headaches are associated with a swelling of the membranes lining the sinuses (spaces adjacent to the nasal passages). Pain occurs in the affected region – the result of air, pus, and mucus being trapped within the obstructed sinuses. The discomfort often occurs under the eye and in the upper teeth (disguised as a headache or toothache). Sinus headaches tend to worsen as you bend forward or lie down. The key to relieving the symptoms is to reduce sinus swelling and inflammation and facilitate mucous drainage from the sinuses.