Sinus Headaches

Sinus Headaches

Various types of headaches exist, and each can have a different underlying cause. When your child experiences a headache, it is important to determine the underlying cause so that it can be properly treated. ENT for Children can help to alleviate sinus headaches for your child as we have many years of experience in treating this nose throat condition.

What is a sinus headache?

Sinus headaches are a specific type of headache which results from sinuses which have become inflamed. The child will feel a throbbing pain in the top of their face. These headaches are easy to confuse with tension or migraine headaches, but are distinct. The sinuses consist of miniature air spaces that can be found within the skull, just behind the nose. They are responsible for draining mucous so that air can circulate freely.

When an infection is present in the nose or upper airways (which often occurs with a cold), the infection may expand to the sinuses which will make them swell. The opening which extends from the nose to the sinuses may be blocked, and this will cause a collection of pressure within the sinuses which is referred to as sinusitis. This pressure will lead to the headache itself. Sinus headaches differ from other headaches as they can last longer. This is particularly true when bacteria enter the mucous that has been trapped, or the sinuses swell frequently as a result of allergies.

What are the symptoms of a sinus headache?

A child who is suffering from a sinus headache will feel a consistent, dull ache in their face, particularly near the eyes, forehead or cheeks. The pain may only be felt in one area of the face, and it will often be worse in the morning when the child first wakes up, but will improve later in the day. Additional symptoms of sinus headaches include:

  • Increased pain when the head is moved
  • Pain in the teeth or jaw
  • Pain increases due to temperature changes
  • Nasal discharge or fever

How is the diagnosis established?

If the home treatments used by parents are ineffective, and the headache lasts for longer than week, the child should be taken to Dr. Samadi where he can perform a thorough examination and diagnosis. If he suspects that a bacterial infection is the cause of the headache, he will prescribe antibiotics to fight it. In cases where allergies are causing the problem, he will recommend antihistamines. Controlling the swelling that is present within the sinuses is an important part of treating these headaches, and for this your doctor will provide corticosteroid drops and sprays.

How are sinus headaches treated?

Sinus headaches treatment in most cases can be done at home without the assistance of a doctor. In addition to pain relievers, parents will want to make sure their child drinks lots of water and uses nasal sprays and droplets to assist in clearing up the nose. Decongestants shouldn’t be used for more than a week, and parents can also place a warm cloth over the sinuses for a few moments to alleviate the pain. Sometimes flushing the nose with nasal sprays can reduce the swelling.  Sinus headaches are not normally a serious condition, but parents with questions or concerns should contact us for more information.