Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches are caused when the cavities in your forehead and cheekbones and behind your nose become inflamed. They may become inflamed because of an allergic reaction to something in the environment, an infection or possibly a tumor in the head or nasal area.  The sinuses usually produce a stream of mucus that generally drains in small amounts through the nose. However, inflammation in those cavities slow or stop the flow of this thin mucus. The resulting blockage causes a pain that feels like a headache.
Symptoms of a sinus headache include pressure and pain in the cheeks, on the forehead and the bridge of the nose. Sinus headaches are sometimes mistaken for toothaches, since the pain can be felt in the jaw.  Touching the face may cause further pain, and sudden movements of the head or straining the neck can also cause pain.
Although a sinus headache can be hard to diagnose since the pain can be in so many parts of the face, the pressure in the cheeks is a fairly consistent symptom. There may be other sinus symptoms besides the pain, such as nasal discharge, a feeling that there is water or liquid in the ears, a fever, and swelling in the face in conjunction with the feelings of pressure.
A fever will generally be a signal if there is an infection or other blockage in the sinus that is the root cause of the headache. Generally, a doctor will treat a suspected infection with antibiotics after a physical examination. If the symptoms persist, a doctor may order a CT scan or an MRI to see if there is another type of blockage in the sinus.
The doctor may also recommend over the counter or prescription antihistamines or decongestants to handle the symptoms of the infection. Taking decongestants when your head pain is caused by something other than a sinus headache can worsen the symptoms so be sure that a doctor diagnoses a sinus headache before taking that medication.
Doctors sometimes use vasoconstrictors as well, further reducing congestion, and corticosteroids can help if the pain does not respond to standard pain relievers. Sometimes sinus headaches are caused by an allergic reaction. In those cases, it is sometimes necessary to begin preventative care for allergies.
Allergies themselves are sometimes accused of causing headaches, but this is not the case. The allergies, however, do cause congestion in the sinuses, leading to a headache type pain. Treating allergies, then, does not alleviate the pain of a headache, so it is necessary to treat each symptom separately.
Decongestants do sometimes help to relieve the pain of headaches caused by sinus infections. Not only do they allow drainage from the nose, but because they constrict the blood vessels that tend to cause headache pain. If you do have a headache that is helped by decongestants, but you do not have a sinus infection, there is a possibility that you have a migraine or a tension headache instead, both of which require other treatments.