Sinus headaches can really make for a miserable day, getting in the way of the things you’d really like to do.
Sinuses can get inflamed because of an allergic reaction or an infection, leading to painful buildup of pressure and creating headaches. These headaches can also add to the misery of a cold or flu.
There are some simple measures you can take and popular home treatments for sinus headaches that actually help. Learn more about sinus headaches, how to treat them without medications, and what else they may indicate.
Sinus Headaches and 7 Ways to Treat Them
Sinus headaches can show up with a variety of symptoms, including:
- Achy feeling in your upper teeth
- Feeling of fullness in your ears
- Loss of a sense of smell
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Swelling or puffiness in your face
- Thick, discolored nasal mucus
- Worsening pain if you bend forward or lie down
Here are some proven home remedies that can help with how to get rid of a sinus headache.
1. Drink Ginger Tea
Does ginger help with sinus headaches? Along with helping you hydrate and steam out your sinuses, hot ginger tea contains the anti-inflammatory gingerol. This compound reduces inflammation in your mucus membranes, making this the best tea for sinus infection relief.
Ginger also contains antihistamines and other compounds that can control allergic reactions and may speed healing. Other teas can help, too, including those with basil and peppermint.
2. Eat Spicy Foods
That runny-nose reaction to spicy food can be helpful. Besides clearing sinuses, red pepper can eliminate the conditions that can encourage nasal bacterial growth.
Capsaicin, the compound in peppers, may trigger nasal discharge, can boost your immunity, and may decrease the pain and swelling inside your nasal pathways.
3. Stay Hydrated
Your congestion can get worse if you get dehydrated. The extra congestion can make your sinuses more susceptible to infection, sinus inflammation, and headaches.
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can prevent and treat sinus headaches. It can also keep mucus thin and loose.
4. Take a Hot Shower
Moist heat can relieve pressure and open up blockages. A steamy shower can clean out your sinuses and ease the pain.
If you don’t have the time for a shower, try a humidifier. Place a towel over your head and the humidifier and breathe in the steamy, moist air to help your symptoms.
5. Try a Hot Bowl of Soup
When soup is steaming hot, it can loosen up your blocked sinuses and bring you some relief.
Also, it turns out that the old wives’ tales about chicken soup are true. One study found that chicken soup reduces inflammation connected to sinusitis and colds.
6. Use a Hot or Cold Compress
Alternate pressing a hot and cold towel on your lower forehead and cheekbones.
The hot compress can warm nasal passages and loosen secretions. The cold compress can ease swelling and help relieve pressure.
7. Use a Neti Pot
The neti pot can be a little intimidating, but with some practice you’ll feel immediate benefits.
Fill the neti pot with warm water and a saline solution, and pour the contents into one nostril as you tilt your head sideways over the sink. After a few seconds, the solution will make its way through your sinuses and out the other nostril.
But be careful, because neti pots can be dangerous if misused. You should always use only distilled water, never tap water, in neti pots. Bacteria in tap water that won’t harm you if ingested may infect delicate nasal and sinus tissue.
Avoid Infections That Can Become Sinusitis
If you can’t prevent sinus headaches that come with an infection, you can try to prevent infection in the first place.
Here are a few ways to prevent infections:
- Avoid close contact: If a virus is spreading locally, keep your distance from others.
- Boost your immunity: Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and stay active.
- Clean and disinfect: Wipe objects and surfaces you touch frequently, including your cellphone and keyboard.
- Cover coughs and sneezes: Use a tissue to catch the coughs or sneezes, or use the inside of your elbow.
- Don’t touch your face: Touching your face with your hands can allow germs to enter through the nose, mouth or eyes.
- Get a flu shot: Seniors especially are vulnerable to flu, so getting inoculated can help protect you.
- Stay home if you’re sick: Rest up and don’t expose others to your illness.
- Wash your hands: Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
What’s the Difference Between Sinus Headaches and Migraines?
Migraines can be mistaken for sinus headaches. In fact, the Mayo Clinic says that most people who seek medical care for sinus headaches are found to have migraines instead. So it’s important to look at the differences, especially since migraines can be more serious.
Many of the symptoms of both sinus headaches and migraines look similar. Both can give you pain, pressure and fullness in the face. Both can worsen if you bend forward. Both can give you pain in your upper teeth. Both can involve watery discharge from the nose.
Migraines have symptoms that aren’t usually associated with sinusitis, however. According to WebMD, these include:
- Change in behavior, movement, speech or vision
- Disturbance by bright lights or noise
- Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
- Pain in the temples, high on the forehead, or back of the head
- Pain on only one side of the head
- Throbbing or pulsing pain
If you have these symptoms, it may be time to consult a medical provider. Also visit a provider if your headaches:
- Are interfering with your everyday life
- Are occurring 15 days a month or more, or frequently require over-the-counter pain medicine
- Are severe, and over-the-counter pain medicine doesn’t help
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Live a Healthy Live at a Senior Lifestyle Community
Headaches and other medical conditions can be looked after when you choose a Senior Lifestyle community. With doctors and nurses always available, you’ll be taken care of when you have a need.
Senior Lifestyle also will let you enjoy life and relax while we take care of the everyday tasks of cleaning, cooking and washing.