Is a Headache a Common Symptom of a Sinus Infection?

Many of us know what getting a sinus infection is like. We feel stopped up and off-kilter, but thankfully the symptoms typically subside after a few days.

While nasal and throat congestion are two of the most common types of sinusitis symptoms, headaches are something to be on the lookout for, too. Our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team explains why below, so read on!

What Is a Sinus Infection?

The sinuses are air-filled spaces inside the forehead, cheekbones and behind the bridge of your nose. When they get inflamed, which is usually because of an allergic reaction or an infection, they swell, make more mucus and the channels that drain them can get blocked with fluid. When a blockage occurs, it can cause a sinus infection.

We’ve listed the most common symptoms of a sinus infection below.

Common Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Thick, yellow or greenish mucus from the nose (runny nose) or down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage)
  • Blocked or stuffy nose that causes difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead that worsens when bending over

How Common Are Sinus Headaches?

Sinus headaches aren’t actually as common as you might think. In fact, most sinus headaches are actually migraines, and according to experts, headaches that are due to sinusitis are confined to a minority of patients who have acute frontal sinusitis.

Still, headaches that are due to a sinus infection are still possible. One fool-proof way to decipher between a migraine and a sinus headache is to look at the color of the mucus that accompanies the head pain. With a migraine, nasal discharge is clear, but with a sinus headache, you’ll typically have a fever and thick, discolored nasal mucus. If you do happen to get a sinus headache, we’ve listed some effective ways to treat it below.

Ways to Treat a Sinus Headache

  • Apply a warm compress to painful areas of the face.
  • Use a decongestant to reduce sinus swelling and allow mucus to drain.
  • Try a saline nasal spray or drops to thin mucus.
  • Use a vaporizer or inhale steam from a pan of boiled water. Warm, moist air may help relieve sinus congestion.

Feeling rough? Don’t hesitate to stop by our AFC Urgent Care Hixson center today to get the non-emergency care that you need!