Sinus Headaches: Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

Sinus headache

Sinus headaches are headaches that may feel like your sinuses are infected. You may feel pressure around the cheeks, eyes and forehead. It’s a throbbing headache similar to a migraine attack.

Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches

Sinus headache symptoms include:

  • Pain, pressure and fullness in the cheeks, brow or forehead
  • Stuffy nose
  • Worsening pain if you bend forward or lie down
  • Achy feeling in the upper teeth
  • Fatigue

Sinus Headache VS Migraine

Migraine and sinus headaches have similar symptoms. For similarities between sinus headache VS migraine, the headache worsens when you bend forward. Both often have nasal symptoms, such as congestion, facial pressure etc.

These are due to involvement of the autonomic nervous system in a migraine attack. In fact, studies have shown that most people who see a health care provider for sinus headaches are found to have migraine instead.

However, a clear difference between migraine and sinus headaches is that sinus headaches are not associated with nausea or light sensitivity.

Causes Of Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are caused by pain and pressure in the face and sinuses, which cause nasal symptoms. Causes of sinus headaches are also associated with migraine symptoms.

What To Take For Sinus Headaches?

To get rid of sinus headaches, you will need the best medication for sinus headaches. Some common sinus headache medicine include:

  • OTC medication: You can get rid of sinus headaches with abortive migraine medication, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil). These OTC medicine are a good treatment for sinus headaches.
  • TriptansTriptans treat headaches by blocking pain pathways in the brain. Medications include sumatriptan (Imitrex, Tosymra, others), rizatriptan (Maxalt), almotriptan, naratriptan (Amerge), zolmitriptan (Zomig), frovatriptan (Frova) and eletriptan (Relpax). Side effects of triptans include narrowing of blood vessels.
  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow). This newer oral tablet is approved for the treatment of migraine with aura and migraine without aura. It blocks pain pathways, similar to triptans, but it does not appear to constrict blood vessels.
  • CGRP inhibitors: Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) and rimegepant (Nurtec ODT) are oral calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP inhibitors used to treat acute migraine with aura or without aura in adults.
  • CGRP monoclonal antibodies. Erenumab-aooe (Aimovig), fremanezumab-vfrm (Ajovy), galcanezumab-gnlm (Emgality) and eptinezumab-jjmr (Vyepti) are newer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat migraine. They’re given monthly or quarterly by injection.

How Long Do Sinus Headaches Last?

A sinus headache can last for a few days. This is different from a migraine attack, which can last for a few hours, up to a day.

Home Remedies For Sinus Headache

Some sinus headache treatment at home include:

  • Breathe in steam. Breathing in hot, moist air can relieve sinus pain and pressure
  • Using the humidifier. Using a clean humidifier to moisten the air of your home may be helpful for sinus pain relief.
  • Use nasal saline rinses
  • Drinking more water, especially during the summer period
  • Elevating your head
  • Pressing your pressure points

Sinus Headache Relief Pressure Points

Some common sinus headache pressure points:

  • drilling bamboo
  • gates of consciousness
  • third eye

Symptoms of Dry Sinuses

Dry sinus headache symptoms include:

  • congestion
  • headaches
  • inflammation
  • dry mouth

Relief Dry Sinuses

Treatment at home for dry sinuses include:

Sinus Headaches and COVID-19

According to the Advanced Practice for OSF HealthCare , the symptoms of sinus headaches and COVID-19 are similar, such as a sore throat, headache, and cough. Both of them are also contagious. However, the differences between COVID-19 and sinus headaches is that COVID-19 is associated with a dry cough, whereas sinus headaches symptoms are often nasal-related. What complicates this is that COVID-19 may cause a headache too and the symptoms of a COVID-19 headache is similar to a sinus headache.

Pregnancy and Sinus Headaches

According to Stanford Medicine, sinus headaches occur often during early pregnancy due to nasal congestion and runny nose. Hunger and fasting headaches can occur due to low blood sugar levels too. People who suddenly stop their morning coffee and sodas may have caffeine withdrawal headaches.


Sinus headaches can significantly impact daily life, but there are several effective strategies for managing and alleviating the pain and discomfort. This article has explored a range of approaches, including medication, natural remedies, pressure point techniques, and distinguishing sinus headaches from migraines. It has also touched upon the connection between sinus headaches and COVID-19, their occurrence during pregnancy, and strategies for managing chronic sinus headaches. By understanding the various treatment options available, individuals suffering from sinus headaches can find relief and improve their overall quality of life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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