Sinus headache is caused by the inflammation and congestion in the sinuses. This condition is known as sinusitis. Headache is only one of the symptoms of sinusitis. If you want to treat sinus headaches, you should target the real culprit—sinusitis. Besides treating the root cause, there are still many alternatives to at least alleviate the sinus headaches. Try one of the following ways:
- Reduce sinus congestion. Your sinus is congested if you can’t breathe through it. The congestion is usually caused by mucus trapping the nasal passageway, which also cause inflammation. Try to use a humidifier to loosen the mucus. Use salt water with the humidifier for better effect. If you don’t have that, then invest on a saline nasal spray, which can be bought from local drugstores. Inhaling steam at least twice a day will reduce the inflammation, too. It will be best if you sit in the bathroom with steam water running from the shower. Consider also to use allergy treatments in case you have asthma.
- Get exercise. Sinus headache usually becomes worse when leaning over and bending down. Why not use your body movements to your advantage, instead? Stretching the neck and head for some minutes helps reduce sinus headache. Relaxation techniques such as biofeedback for controlling muscle tension and meditation can all alleviate headache.
- Acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicine technique has been one of the most effective alternatives. Practitioners, however, do not consider sinus headache as it is. Instead, they see it as an energy imbalance in the body. They treat this through needling therapy on the stomach meridian and spleen meridian.
- Herbs. Willow bark, feverfew, devil’s claw, and Chinese skullcap are traditional herbs used for headache treatment. However, there are only a few researches that can backup the claims of their efficacy.
- Dietary supplements. Bromelain is an enzyme produced from pineapples. According to several studies, bromelain can reduce swelling, inflammation, and sinusitis symptoms, including sinus headache. However, this supplement can increase the bleeding risk. That is why people are taking anticoagulants should never take this. There are other alternatives, though, like probiotics and quercetin. Probiotics are beneficial by increasing antibiotics that could reduce the risk of having allergies. Quercetin, on the other hand, is known to reduce watery eyes and runny nose. You can take this along with bromelain for more effective treatment.
- OTC drugs. Generally, sinusitis and sinus headache is treated by using antihistamines and decongestants. Antihistamines reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Among the available over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that are helpful for sinus headache are diphenydramine, clemastine, chlorpheniramine, and claritin. Meanwhile, OTC decongestants are neo-synephrine, afrin, Actifed, and Sudafed. Most of these decongestants, however, have an ingredient that can raise blood pressure. Decongestants should only be used for three consecutive days.
All the above mentioned treatments for sinus headaches should always be used with caution. Even herbs and dietary supplements can cause negative side effects if used improperly. Always do your research before using anything. Consider to consult a health care professional before taking anything, too. What you are experiencing might not even be a sinus headache. It can be something else that a health care professional can only determine. Consulting a professional will also help in determining the best treatment for your headache.