Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What causes sinus headaches?"
I'm a man of 35 years, and ever since I was teen I've been liable to get severe sinus headaches. For a long time I just ignored them until they went away, but that's not good enough for me anymore. How can I figure out what is actually causing the headaches, and address the root problem?
Sinus headaches are due to increased pressure in the air pockets in the front of the skull, and they are often caused by allergic reactions or infections. Patients with sinus headaches usually have other symptoms of allergy or infection, and treatment leads to significant improvement. It sounds like the cause of your headaches is actually unclear, since you have been ignoring them for twenty years.
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There are many causes of headache, not all of which have an underlying cause. Tension headaches usually cause a band-like sensation of pressure around the head, occasionally radiating into the neck. Migraine headaches are usually unilateral, pounding, and worse with bright light. Both of these headaches usually improve with over the counter tylenol or ibuprofen. There are also many less common but serious causes of headaches, which would be very unusual in a man your age with such a long history of headaches. You should make an appointment to discuss the headaches with your doctor. He or she will ask more details about your symptoms and perform a physical exam to rule out serious disease. If they are sinus headaches, there are many specific treatments that will be helpful for you. If you are having frequent migraines or tension headaches, your physician may prescribe a medication to take daily to decrease their frequency.
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