Headaches and Migraines
7 Home Remedies for Sinus Headache Relief
Sinus headaches can create painful pressure that you can relieve using these home remedies.
What causes sinus headaches?
Sinus headaches are the misunderstood stepchild of headaches. “You really have to have a sinus infection, which would include nasal discharge and fever, to have a true sinus headache,” says Susan Rubin, MD, neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem. When people claim they have a sinus headache, it’s because they feel pain around the sinus area. Upon examination, their sinuses are clear, she explains. In reality, most cases of “sinus headache” are actually migraines. That said, if you do have a true sinus headache, treatment includes managing symptoms of sinusitis, as well as pain relief. You can try one or more of the following home remedies.
Sinus headache home remedy: neti pot
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If you have a sinus infection, you can use a neti pot to clear nasal congestion, says Dr. Rubin. By cleaning the nasal passages using distilled water and salt, mucus can drain more effectively. Using a neti pot can be tricky at first, but with patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s what else to do if you wake up with a headache.
Sinus headache home remedy: saline spray
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If a neti pot proves too tricky, a simple saline spray can also clear out the nasal passages to give you sinus headache relief. According to the University of Michigan, saline solution helps the cilia, the tiny hairs found in the nostrils, move mucus and allergens out of the nose. Once you know how to get rid of a sinus headache, check out these 5 sinus infection symptoms you should watch out for in the future.
Sinus headache home remedy: warm compresses
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Another way to reduce sinus pressure pain is to apply warm compresses to the face, says the Mayo Clinic. This will warm the nasal passages and break up any blockage. If you can tolerate it, applying an ice pack may also provide relief. Here are 12 more home remedies for a stuffy nose.
Sinus headache home remedy: steamy shower
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Standing in a steamy shower and breathing deeply will also open up the nasal passages and allow for drainage and lead to sinus headache relief. Breathing warm, moist air can expand and soothe the sinus cavity, say Mayo Clinic experts. It’s a great remedy for first thing in the morning when you’re hopping in the shower anyway. When you’re trying to figure out how to treat a headache, follow this guide on how to properly take the right amount of medication.
Sinus headache home remedy: humidifier
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Dry air does nothing to help your situation. Add steam while you sleep by running a cool-mist humidifier in your bedroom, which may help lessen congestion pain, according to the University of Texas. While you’re relaxing for the night, be sure to add an extra pillow: sleeping with your head elevated can help prevent clogged sinuses, say experts at the Mayo Clinic. Watch out for these other 13 surprising things that cause headaches.
Sinus headache home remedy: spicy food
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Have you ever gotten a runny nose after a particularly zesty meal? It’s not an expert-backed remedy, but eating something spicy (that you enjoy) might make your nose run. You can try using this to your advantage during a sinus headache, but for best results, try the other remedies (like nasal irrigation) as well. Don’t miss these 11 ways to stop a headache before it starts.
Sinus headache home remedy: over-the-counter medication
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Sinus infections are often misdiagnosed, says Dr. Rubin. Misdiagnosis is dangerous, it may mean that you take antibiotics when you don’t need them. For that reason, it makes sense to first treat what you think may be a sinus headache with over-the-counter medication. An anti-inflammatory drug, like an NSAID (ibuprofen is one example) may be best for dampening pain, according to Harvard Medical School. It may be OTC, but it’s not benign: here are 9 times ibuprofen won’t work.
- Susan Rubin, MD, neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
- Michigan Medicine: “Saltwater Washes (Nasal Saline Lavage or Irrigation) for Sinusitis.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Acute Sinusitis.”
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Sinusitis.”
- UT Health: “Otorhinolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.”
- Harvard Medical School: “Inflamed Sinuses: It’s Best to Watch and Wait.”