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Half of all adults around the world suffer at least one headache per year. When headaches are more frequent and bring with them a throbbing pain in your forehead, you could have sinus problems.

Your sinuses are hollow cavities in your skull, located around your eyes, nose, and forehead. They create mucus that lines your nose, but seasonal allergies, sinusitis, and other illnesses can trigger more mucus production and sinus swelling.

When sinus pressure builds up, the all-too-often result is a painful headache. At Midwest Allergy Sinus Asthma, Dareen Siri, MD, and our team of advanced practice providers understands sinus headaches can make it hard to live your life, and we’re here to help. We put together this list of home remedies and some background information about sinus headaches.

Relieve sinus pressure to ease headache pain

Pain from sinus headaches is usually focused near your forehead, cheekbones, or the bridge of your nose. It’s generally constant, but may intensify when you bend over or move your head suddenly.

Sinus headaches are often accompanied by a runny nose or the sensation that your ears are plugged. In more severe cases, facial swelling may be visible.

If you get sinus headaches, there are a number of at-home care tips to try that may relieve pressure and eliminate pain.

Try to thin congestion

Thinner mucus is less likely to get trapped in your sinuses, even if they’re inflamed from allergies or other irritation. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and use a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist.

Irrigate your sinuses with a sterile saline solution, or use a neti pot to cleanse inflamed sinuses and eliminate blockages and head pain. Breathing in steam or applying a warm, moist towel to your face may offer soothing relief. Plus, the heat can thin congestion and help mucus escape.

Encourage sinus drainage

At-home remedies like irrigating sinuses with saline can thin out mucus, but they also encourage sinus drainage to relieve pressure. If the above methods still leave you with uncomfortable pressure, try promoting drainage by engaging sinus pressure points.

Gently press or tap pressure points to release mucus from overstuffed sinuses. Sinus pressure points are located at the bridge of your nose and the area at the top of your cheekbones, just below your eyes.

Over-the-counter pain relief

Medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can temporarily relieve pain and other symptoms that come with sinus headaches. Decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, may stimulate sinus drainage to relieve pressure.

But these over-the-counter medications don’t address the cause of sinus headaches. Always follow dosage instructions on the packaging of medication and don’t take over-the-counter medication for more than a few days. If you’re still experiencing headache symptoms, give us a call at Midwest Allergy Sinus Asthma.

Preventing sinus headaches

We can help you identify what triggers your sinus headaches. Making lifestyle changes like avoiding allergens as much as possible can improve your symptoms. Additionally, getting regular aerobic exercise can thin mucus and reduce sinus headaches.

If your sinus headaches are the result of chronic sinus problems or seasonal allergies, taking a prescription medication can stave off headache pain before it starts. When headaches are linked to sinus infection, we may prescribe antibiotics or antihistamines to eliminate the infection.

Other types of head pain, including tension headaches and migraines, are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. If you’re feeling sinus pressure but your symptoms aren’t relieved with treatment aimed at sinus issues, we’ll talk to you about other options.

Sinus headaches can interrupt your life, but don’t just wish the pain away. Make an appointment at Midwest Allergy Sinus Asthma to find treatment options for your head pain. Call one of our seven Illinois offices today.