Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain usually gets worse with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as a runny nose, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.
• Use an over-the-counter pain reliever. It’s an obvious solution and you’ve probably already tried it. But medications like Advil, Aleve or Tylenol will help reduce your pain. Follow the directions and don’t use them for more than 10 days at a time.
• Try a decongestant such as Sudafed. These OTC medicines can help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus. But follow the instructions. Don’t use nasal decongestant sprays for more than three consecutive days, and don’t use oral decongestants for more than seven.
• Try other medicines. In some cases, inhaled steroids (prescription) and other drugs might help reduce your congestion and sinus headache pain.
• Keep your nasal passages moist. Dry air will further irritate your sinuses. So use a humidifier or vaporizer. Rest a warm wet towel over your face for a few minutes. Try a saline solution nasal spray.
• Use nasal irrigation. Get a bulb syringe or neti pot and flush out your sinuses with salt water. It moistens the nasal passages and can clear out your sinuses, reducing the pressure. If you’ve never tried the approach before, get some pointers from your doctor.
• Avoid irritants. Perfume, cigarette smoke and certain chemicals can worsen your sinus symptoms by irritating and inflaming the nasal passageways.
• Antibiotics. Your headache could be caused by a sinus infection. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Make sure to take the full course, exactly as prescribed.
In summary, there are many ways to deal with headaches.
Home treatment may help you avoid headaches. Learn how to handle stress. Make sure you sleep, exercise, and eat on a regular schedule. Check your posture. Don’t strain your eyes when you use your computer. Get treatment for depression or anxiety.
Try keeping a headache diary. Every time you get a headache, write down the date, the hour, and what you were doing and feeling before your headache started. This may help you and your doctor find out what is causing your headaches. If you have any questions about prescription or over the counter drugs, ask your doctor or visit your local pharmacy. Your local pharmacist is a drug expert and is willing to help you in any way possible.
Jonathan Thigpen is a Pharm D Candidate at Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, interning at The Pharmacy in Mt. Olive.