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What are the complications of a sinus headache?

Complications of a sinus infection (sinusitis) are rare; however, if left untreated a sinus infection may erode through the bony walls of the sinus and infect adjacent structures in the face. Two potential areas for spread of the infection include:

  • The orbit (eye socket), causing pain, swelling, and redness of the eyelid and skin surrounding the orbit. There can also be pain with any eye motion. Decreased vision may develop.
  • The brain, causing symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis.
  • The blood vessels that run near the sinuses can develop inflammation and blood may clot (thrombus). Cavernous sinus thrombosis describes the inflammation and clotting of the cavernous sinus, a collection of small veins located near the sphenoid sinus, that can potentially become infected and form blood clots.
Return to Sinus Headache

See what others are saying

Comment from: theintz, Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I had an accident that resulted in sinus issues. I had surgery and now not only do I have infections all the time I get dizzy on occasion. What a battle. The doctor wants me to have the balloon sinuplasty. I am scared that this might make me dizzier. I have a fulltime job and really don't need this.

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Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 10

My sinus headache kicks off migraine headaches.

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Comment from: spike, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I had frequent sinus headaches in my mid-thirties. I had never managed to see a doctor while it was happening. Of course, when there isn"t an active problem, the doctor isn"t too interested. Eventually, I had one that was just scary. In addition to pain and inability to breathe properly, I felt like I could feel my brain move within my skull! I made sure to get to the doctor who said that if I had had insurance, she would have hospitalized me. She put me on antibiotics which cleared it up entirely. I don"t think I"ve had another sinus problem of significance in over a decade.

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