Sinus Headache (cont.)

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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. This may be the cheek area (maxillary), the forehead (frontal area), or both. The part of the face in the area of the affected sinus can be tender to touch and reddened. Swelling also may occur. 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).
  • Opaque or 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 instead of coughing up phlegm from the lungs.
  • 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.
  • Pain also may radiate to the temples, back of the neck, or top of the head.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015

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