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A sinus headache is characterized by a deep, throbbing painusually located in the face and the front part of the head. The headache getstriggered because the air-filled cavities get inflamed. The condition easilygets worse by leaning or bending down and the damp and cold weather usuallycontributes to the increase of pain intensity. If the headache occurs in themorning, it usually gets better by the early evening. It is quite difficult todiagnose sinus headaches because they are very similar to migraines and tensionheadaches.

Signs and symptoms

Sinus headaches can easily be recognized by certainsymptoms. Those symptoms include pressurizing pain in the specific head or facearea which usually gets worsened by bending forward or when moving suddenly.The pain is usually worse in the morning because the mucus gets collectedduring the night, but it usually gets better by late afternoon. A person’s faceis usually very tender to the touch and it is very likely that the pain willget worse if sudden temperature changes do occur. The symptoms of sinusheadaches can often be associated with inflammatory condition or postnasal dripcaused by a sore throat. Sinus headaches can often be accompanied by mild tomoderate fever, yellow-greenish discharge from the nose, the redness and theswelling of the nasal passages and a general sense of not feeling particularlywell. Fatigue is also quite common. Sinus headaches can easily be compared tomigraines since they both get worse when a person bends forward and they bothinvolve nasal congestion but migraines are different because they get worse byexcessive exposure to light or noise and are often accompanied by nausea.


The most common causes of sinus headaches are inflammationand congestion of sinuses. The inflammation usually gets triggered by flu,cold, hay, fever or certain other types of allergic reaction and respiratoryinfections. When the inflammation occurs the nasal passages get blocked andthe mucus drainage and air circulation become impossible. Various types offungus, viruses and bacteria tend to grow more rapidly due to the blockage ofthe nasal passages. Any type of obstruction that prevents the drainage ofsinuses can be the cause of inflammation. Risk factors include nasal problems, historyof asthma or allergies, frequent diving or swimming and climbing to highaltitudes.


The doctor needs to ask some question so the condition canbe distinguished from tension headaches and migraines. The nose needs to becheck for discharge and congestion. Transillumination is a method used todetermine if there are any inflammations. Further tests may be performed if thedoctor suspects chronic sinusitis.

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