According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, upwards of 80% of all North Americans report suffering from headaches. One of the most common types experienced are sinus-related. While some suffer in silence, and others take medication to treat them, more than ever, people are using holistic ingredients and preventative care to stop these particular headaches from happening on a consistent basis.
What is a Sinus Headache?
Your sinuses are cavities in the facial bones of your skull. The sinus passages play an important role: humidifying and filtering the air you breathe. However, there can be a buildup of air and pressure in your sinus cavities. When this happens, you get sinus headaches.
If you have inflamed sinuses or a sinus infection, a sinus headache is one of the symptoms you may experience. Most people feel pain on one or both sides of the head, though feeling pressure around your sinuses is also normal. Sinus headaches typically affect the cheeks, eyes, and forehead.
Causes of Sinus Headaches
Most individuals get a sinus headache when their sinuses are inflamed, preventing proper mucus drainage. The sinuses clog up, causing pressure and pain.
Many ailments can cause clogged sinuses. These include:
- Common cold
- Nasal polyps
- Tooth infection
Ailments like the common cold, are viral infections that usually go away on their own. Preventative care, such as Ayurveda, help protect your body from these ailments.
How Sinus Headaches Differ From Other Types of Headaches
There are many different types of headaches, but how do sinus headaches differ? Here are the common symptoms of a sinus headache:
- Mild-to-severe pain on one or both sides of the head
- Pressure in the forehead, cheeks, and behind the eyes
- Pain increases when you bend over
- Pain is worse in the morning
Sinus headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms, indicating the possibility of an infection in the sinuses. These symptoms include:
- Stuffy nose
- Aching feeling in the upper teeth
- Clogged ears
- Sensation of not feeling well
While sinus headache pain is uncomfortable, it’s usually not debilitating like migraine pain. Since sinus infections and other issues cause sinus headaches, they usually last longer than the average headache.
Sinus headaches usually come with the additional sinus infection symptoms, listed previously. Other headaches, such as migraines, come with different symptoms. These include nausea and dizziness. Some people experience an “aura” before a migraine — this usually doesn’t happen with a sinus headache.
Allergies, usually from pollen and pet dander, cause congestion. But allergies can also cause a headache alone without congestion. While these headaches are usually called sinus headaches, they're often confused with migraines.
Fortunately, herbs such as turmeric and fruit such as tart cherries can fight pain. Taking these supplements regularly can prevent headache pain.
Why Sinus Headaches and Migraines Are Similar
There’s a chance your sinus headache can actually be a migraine. Like sinus headaches, migraines cause a throbbing and pulsing sensation at one side of the head or both.
There’s also debate if sinus pain activates a migraine instead of a sinus headache — or if these two headache types are the same thing.
The main difference is the recurrence. Sinus headaches occur if there’s inflammation or an infection in the sinuses. Migraines occur regularly and often have an underlying cause, such as stress, lack of sleep, bright lights, and drinking too much alcohol. If you believe you have migraines instead of sinus headaches, living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent migraines.
Sinus pressure is a little different from a sinus headache. If your sinus infection is severe, your clogged sinuses can cause pressure instead of pain. You'll feel this pressure around your sinus cavities — specifically, the eyes, forehead, and cheeks.
In severe cases, clogged sinuses can cause inflammation. Along with the pressure, you may notice your cheeks, forehead, and brow swell up.
How to Clear Sinuses
What if you have a painful sinus headache and need to relieve it? If you want to avoid dangerous chemicals and medications, there are natural ways to clear your sinuses:
- Stay Hydrated: If you’re dehydrated, your sinuses can dry up and prevent drainage. This causes pressure, which leads to a sinus headache. Even if your head is throbbing, don’t forget to drink water.
- Drink Tea: If you’re not in the mood for soup, tea offers the same benefits. Drinking tea will also help you stay hydrated. Which type of tea should you drink? Many Ayurveda herbs, such as ginger root, are also available as a tea.
- Eat Spicy Foods and Soup: Is your stuffy nose increasing your headache pain? Spicy foods help loosen mucus, accelerating drainage. This will relieve sinus pressure, decreasing your headache. Soup, on the other hand, is perfect if you need to eat something but don’t have the appetite to handle a whole meal. Breathing in steam and warm liquids can help open up sinuses.
- Apply a Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress directly to the site of pain will help relax your nerves and decrease your head pain. Wet a washcloth and leave it in the freezer for five minutes. You can also use a frozen bag of vegetables.
- Use Saline Nasal Spray: If these treatments haven’t worked, you can use a saline nasal spray. These sprays are safe and easy to use. Just take the applicator and spray the mist up your nostrils. Blow your nose. The spray helps break up the mucus, decreasing sinus pressure and pain.
- Take a Hot Shower: A hot shower is often one of the best treatments for a sinus headache. The steam helps clean out your sinuses. If your headache is severe, take a hot bath instead.
How Ayurveda Can Prevent a Sinus Headache
The best course of action is to prevent a sinus headache before one can occur. There are many prevention methods, but Ayurveda is one of the most effective.
Ayurveda dates back 5,000 years. It’s an ancient Indian practice that uses the power of herbs to strengthen the body.
These herbs strengthen your body, improve your immune system, and help you overall feel better. Ayurveda believes in enhancing the body’s natural functions to fight ailments before they can occur, such as sinus headaches.
How does Ayurveda help sinus headaches? The herbs strengthen your immune system, preventing the inflammation that irritates your sinuses. This also helps your body fight off ailments that cause sinus headaches.
The herbs Ayurveda uses are natural and completely safe for the body. Many herbs can prevent a sinus infection, preventing symptoms such as a headache. These herbs include ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger root, tart cherry fruit, and more.
Helpful Ayurvedic Herbs
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that helps your body manage stress, specifically by aiding the immune system.
If you have a sinus infection, taking ashwagandha over time will help your body better handle the sinus infection. This prevents sinusitis symptoms, such as a sinus headache.
Using the whole ashwaghandha plant guarantees maximum delivery of active and healing ingredients.
Turmeric is a spice that has many benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and has many anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, turmeric benefits your sinuses. It relaxes sinus pressure and loosens mucus, helping relieve sinusitis symptoms such as sinus headaches.
Taking turmeric regularly can relax your sinuses, preventing the sinus pressure that can cause sinus headaches. It not only supports you through a sinus headache, but delivers powerful anti-inflammatory effects. That’s how important it is for the preventative health of your body.
Ginger is a flowering plant but the ginger root has many medicinal uses. Ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used to open up nasal passages. When taken regularly, it can help your body better respond to sinus infections, fighting the infection early.
Tart Cherry Fruit
Tart cherries are said to be an effective headache treatment. Tart cherries calm your body, helping fight pain. Eating cherries regularly helps your body better handle pain.
Other Ayurveda Herbs to Help End a Sinus Headache
Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is an aromatic herb that’s commonly used in tea. It’s helpful to relieve specific ailments such as the common cold as well as headaches. It relieves inflammation of the sinuses, relieving headaches and other problems.
Cinnamon, known as dalchini in Hindi, has been used in the Ayurveda practice for ages. It’s a common ingredient in Indian cuisine that also has many health benefits. Inhaling cinnamon helps improve air filtration, aiding the sinuses.