During allergy season, many patients suffer from sinus headache pain. Occurring in the center of the face, the bridge of the nose and the cheeks, it often appears in tandem with nasal congestion and clear or opaque nasal discharge.
First we must understand what sinuses are. Sinuses are air-filled spaces positioned within bones of the head, lying beneath, above, between the eyes, surrounding the nose. Both the nose and sinuses are lined with a thin membrane that swells and produces mucus when irritated. The sinuses normally discharged through small openings called ostia which connect the sinuses to the nasal passages. Allergies, irritants or other conditions may cause nasal or sinus membranes to constrict which can block the ostia. This results in a sinus headache.
At home treatments for occasional sinus flare-ups:
- Take an antihistamine. This will block the action of histamine, a substance released during an allergic reaction. Histamine causes swelling of the lining of the sinuses and ostia and stimulates mucus production.
- Take guaifenesin (OTC Mucinex is one brand), which thins the mucus so that it drains more easily. You may also use a decongestant, which reduces membrane swelling and opens the nasal and sinus passages.
- Inhaling steam or a steam bath is also beneficial. Exercise caution so not to burn your face or skin.
If nasal discharge is yellow or green, there may be a bacterial infection of the sinuses present. Bacteria live throughout the nose and sinuses. Normally bacteria drains from sinuses in mucus. But if a sinus is plugged up, the bacteria can propagate within the sinus.
To treat a sinus infection, you’ll need an antibiotic and a decongestant, but no antihistamine. (Antihistamines dry out the mucus membranes and make drainage more difficult.) If a decongestant does not offer sufficient relief, we can prescribe a steroid nasal spray.
If your sinus discharge is yellow or green or your sinus condition becomes chronic or is unresponsive to at home treatment, contact my office for a consultation- 866-632-5537. We can relieve the pain and pressure of sinus headaches as well as getting to the cause of reoccurring sinus conditions.Tweet