Sinus Headaches or Nasal Headaches?

Sinus Headaches or Nasal Headaches?

ENT specialist Gerard O'Halloran, MD explains:

Do you have pain or pressure beneath your eyes or in your forehead – what most people would call a sinus headache? Is it worse when you have a cold, are lying down, during allergy seasons, or when the weather changes?

Do you sometimes have migraine headaches that start in the forehead or face?

Your pain is real, but it isn't usually caused by sinus problems.

Headaches like those described above are usually caused by crowding in the upper part of your nose, so a better term would be a "nasal headache." There are structures in your nose called turbinates that swell up and down in size. If the upper ones are too big or crowded by the septum (the middle wall of your nose), you may develop pressure or a headache.

Sometimes these headaches can be fixed with nasal allergy sprays such as Flonase. If Flonase doesn't help, surgery done inside the nose (no black eyes!) can correct these headaches about 95% of the time.

Dr. O'Halloran is a Mayo Clinic-trained ENT surgeon with a special interest in nasal headaches. He has spoken on this topic at the International Rhinologic Society.

To make an appointment in Northfield, Faribault or Lakeville, call (952) 469-0500.