Sinus Headache - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of a sinus headache?

Pain and pressure are the primary symptoms of a sinus headache, usually due to the increased inflammation and decreased drainage from the affected sinus cavity. The pain of a sinus headache is often described as an increasing pressure sensation overlying the sinus that is blocked. The part of the face in the area of the affected sinus can be tender to touch. The pain can increase with changing position of the head, or when first getting up out of bed, again because of increased pressure within the sinus cavities.

Symptoms with sinus infection

  • If an infection is present, there may be fever, chills, malaise (feeling poorly), or myalgias (achy muscles).
  • Greenish-yellow nasal drainage may occur.
  • There may be postnasal drainage, in which secretions drip down to the back of the throat. This can cause a cough and patients sometimes complain about coughing up yellow sputum. However, they may actually be coughing up the drainage that has dripped down from the sinuses.
  • Swollen lymph nodes (swollen glands) may occur in the neck if an infection is present, which is no different than the swelling of lymph nodes that accompanies an acute sore throat (pharyngitis) or ear infection (otitis media).

Symptoms with sinus inflammation

  • If there is sinus inflammation without infection, the drainage may be clear.
  • If the maxillary sinus is inflamed, pain may also be felt in the upper teeth since the sinus is located within the bone that holds those teeth.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Donna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

My pains was in the base of my neck around the entire neck moving up in to the sinuses of my brain, back and side temples. Whenever I moved, coughed or sneezed it was like my head being shot off with a gun. Consistent sinus headache pain for hours on. I did not sleep for three days. Finally I had to make a trip to the hospital around 2am for relief. I was miserable!

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Comment from: Emily, 55-64 (Patient) Published: February 20

My sinus headaches affect the left side of my face, with intense pressure and pain. They happen when a high pressure weather system gives way to a low pressure system; I can tell when precipitation is going to happen by the pain in my head. I wish I knew what to take to unclog my sinuses; if I want to know when precipitation is going to happen, I can consult the weather channel.

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