Facial pain and headaches have many causes. Tension headaches, migraine headaches, stress headaches, and more exist. Sinusitis does contribute to facial pressure and pain, and it can reduce your resistance to other kinds of headaches -- that is, sinusitis can lower your threshold or make you more disposed to another type of headache.
Since your sinuses are located in your forehead, between your eyes, and in your cheeks, the location of
your headaches can be a clue to their origin. If your headaches temporarily respond to sinus medication but later
recur, you may be just treating the symptoms and ignoring the cause. If you feel that your pain is probably
sinus-related, start with the Nose and Sinus Center.
At the Nose and Sinus Center, Dr. Becker will examine you thoroughly and search out the MANY
causes of facial pain that he can treat. Dr. Becker can do a fiberoptic evaluation of your nose and
sinuses to pinpoint the problem and then discuss a wide range of treatment options with you. Recent
technology has made these treatments more effective, safer, and more comfortable than ever before.
For more information regarding technology, Click here.
To download our book chapter on "Symptoms of sinus disease - taking a closer look", Click here.
COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: What can I do about facial pain/headache?
Answer: Facial pain and headaches have many causes. Tension
headache, migraine headache, stress headache, cluster headaches, reflex sympathetic
dystrophy, and more exist. Sinusitis does contribute to facial pressure and pain, and it can
your resistance to other kinds of headaches -- that is, sinusitis can lower your threshold or
make you more disposed to another type of headache.
The complete and thorough evaluation of headache includes evaluation by a neurologist
and often an ENT specialist. If you feel that your pain is probably more sinus-related, start
with the sinus specialist. He/she will examine you thoroughly and search out all of the
MANY causes of facial pain that can be treated. If nothing definitive is found, do not
lose hope. Your specialist(s) may still be able to offer you effective treatment.
In a rare patient, ENT and neurologic exam finds no cause for the headache. In these
cases, a Pain Management Specialist is enlisted to your team, with frequent positive results
that are usually a surprise to the patient!
Question: Can sinus problems make my migraines worse?
Answer: YES. Sinusitis can lower your threshold for migraine headaches. In other
words, it can cause you to have migraines more easily. It is commonly thought that sinusitis
can act in some cases as a "trigger" for migraine headaches. Treatment of sinusitis may in
some cases decrease the incidence of migraine headaches.
Question: Will you tell me more about facial pain and pressure with airplane travel?
Nasal congestion, secondary to sinusitis and other conditions, is a relative contraindication to air travel. This means that patients prone to nasal
congestive disorders should only travel by airplane if they have first consulted with their physician. The physician may determine that it is not safe to fly
or may feel that the patient can fly with proper pretreatment. The risks of flying with nasal congestion include severe facial pain, damage to the eardrums
including bleeding and perforation, dizziness or vertigo, sinus bleeding, and other even more serious conditions.
It is recommended that patients with nasal congestion take a systemic decongestant and also spray the nasal passages with a topical long-acting
nasal decongestant before the flight and before the descent. Such patients should check with their doctors to make sure that they can take these
medications...for instance, patients with high blood pressure may want to avoid these medications. Patients with allergies may also take an
antihistamine under a doctors supervision. In some cases, a doctor may wish to prescribe other medications, such as oral prednisone, a few days prior
to travel. Medical care should be available at the patient's destination in case sinusitis develops.
Air travelers with sinusitis are also advised to chew gum, swallow frequently, and learn how to perform the Valsalva maneuver to clear their ears.
One way to perform this maneuver is to hold the nose and gently generate pressure against the closed mouth and glottis every 30 seconds.