Home Blog Behind the Pain: The Sinus-Headache Connection Unveiled

Behind the Pain: The Sinus-Headache Connection Unveiled

Dec 11, 2023 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

Many of us have had sinus-related headaches, right? You know, these are the headaches that hurt over the sinuses (above the eyes or in the cheek bones next to your nose) and when you blow your nose, it’s not pretty! Sinus infections often lead to sinus headaches – wouldn’t you say that’s a true statement?

A November 2011 study begs to differ. Researchers took 58 patients with a diagnosis of “sinus headache” made by their primary care physician and asked them the following questions:

  1. Have you had a previous diagnosis of migraine or tension-type headache?
  2. Is their clinical evidence of a sinus infection during the past 6 months?
  3. Is there the presence of “mucopurulent secretions” (that’s the “not so pretty stuff” when we blow our nose)?

All 58 patients clearly seemed to have chronic sinusitis with an acute flair up and were given complete thorough examinations by a neurologist and an ears, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) on a monthly basis for 6 months during treatment. Surprisingly, 68% really had migraine headaches, 27% really had tension-type headaches, and 5% really had chronic sinusitis with recurrent acute episodes. Treatment during the 6 months included antibiotic therapy in 73% of the patients with tension-type headache and 66% with migraine. Sinus endoscopy (taking a look up the sinuses with a scope – ouch!) was performed in 26% of the patients, and therapeutic nasal septoplasty (surgery!) was performed in 16% of the migraine patients and 13% of patients with tension-type headache (a pretty BIG mistake, wouldn’t you say?). The conclusion was that many patients with self-described or primary care physician diagnosed “sinus headaches” have no sinonasal abnormalities but instead, met the criteria for migraine or tension-type headache.

So, what does this signify? Primarily, an excessive number of antibiotics are often prescribed for tension-type or migraine headaches, despite having no relevance in treating these two prevalent headache types. Antibiotics come with potential side effects, including but not limited to stomach and intestinal irritation, nausea, and, in cases of antibiotic allergies, a potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylactic shock. It's essential to note that sinus surgery was conducted in 29% of cases where sinus issues were not the cause of headaches, and we are well aware of the associated risks of anesthesia and surgery, which encompass potential complications like death and infections.

Numerous publications have emphasized chiropractic as a prudent option for headache treatment. For instance, refer to the extensive literature review titled "Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report," published in 2010 (http://chiromt.com/content/18/1/3). This report strongly endorses the use of manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) for treating both migraine and cervicogenic-type headaches (those originating in the neck). In the contemporary era, selecting chiropractic services for headache treatment instills confidence, as it is deemed a judicious, secure, and highly cost-effective approach for managing this debilitating condition.

So, if you are experiencing headaches  or migraines and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up. 

You may wonder, “Do I need an MRI scan of my brain or neck.” Also, if you feel arm pain it may indicate things are getting worse and may indicate a bulge on the disc or worse yet a herniated disc in your neck.  Some people have a feeling of their “head aching.”

What type of headache is it to include tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraine headaches, sinus headaches, or toxic headaches? 

Regardless of the type, it can leave you feeling exhausted fatigued, nauseous, and even depressed. Some get severe headache pain behind the eyes.  Persistent or worsening pain intensity and/or frequency necessitates a visit to see a professional near you. 

Check out what the experts say about chiropractic care for headaches here:


Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at (239) 278-3344 and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.

At Coast Chiropractic Centers we look forward to providing relief to those suffering from any type of headache. Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by if you’re in the area on your day off for a walk in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.

If you would like to avoid getting headaches in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.

Schedule Your Appointment Here 

Coast Chiropractic Centers Map

If you are suffering from headaches that are affecting your quality of life and allowing you to enjoy Fort Myers Beach. Come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway. 


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