Home Blog Sinus Headache or Sneaky Impostor? Unraveling the Mystery!

Sinus Headache or Sneaky Impostor? Unraveling the Mystery!

Dec 18, 2023 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

The sinuses are cavities in the skull that rest just behind the face, which help humidify the air we breathe and may even enhance the human voice. It’s common for patients with a headache in this area to refer to it as a sinus headache; however, the lay term “sinus headache” is somewhat controversial because the headache experienced by the patient may not be due to an issue with their sinuses at all. Let’s discuss three potential causes of what may be self-diagnosed as a sinus headache.

RHINITIS: When the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed, a patient may experience nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching, nosebleeds, recurring ear infections, snoring, mouth breathing, fatigue, and headache. Acute rhinitis can be due to a viral infection, while patients with chronic rhinitis that can flare up from time to time are more likely to experience a reaction to allergens that include pollen (from trees, grass, or weeds), dust mites, mold, cockroach waste, animal dander, fumes, odors, temperature, hormonal changes, certain medications (including overuse of nose sprays), environmental changes, smoke, certain food and/or spices, and more. Identifying and avoiding triggering allergens, eating a healthy diet, and taking certain vitamins or supplements can help an individual self-manage their condition but failing that, medical treatment may involve antihistamines, nose sprays, decongestants, asthma meds, allergy treatments, and even surgery.

SINUSITIS: The accumulation of fluid in the sinuses can lead to an infection, as this environment allows bacteria to thrive. Symptoms of sinusitis include congestion, facial pain or pressure, post-nasal drip, sore throat, coughing, halitosis, and headaches. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals with sinus infections can typically manage their condition at home using warm compresses, decongestants or nasal sprays, and humidifiers. However, if symptoms are severe, continue to worsen, persist for more than ten days, or if a fever lasts for over four days, seeking medical advice is advised since additional treatment, such as antibiotics, might be required.

OTHER TYPES OF HEADACHE: It's important to recognize that not all headaches that seem to originate from the sinuses are caused by sinus issues. A 2019 study involving 174 individuals seeking treatment for sinus headaches found that only 13% actually had headaches related to rhinitis or sinusitis, whereas 53% were diagnosed with migraines, 31% had tension-type headaches, and 3% were undiagnosed. Another study comparing 31 people with self-described sinus headaches to 30 without a headache history found the former group more likely to have abnormal cervical spine function. This suggests that neck disorders might play a significant role in causing or contributing to various headache types.

The current research suggests that sinus headaches are often self-misdiagnosed and the individuals with headaches believed to be attributed to a sinus-related issue should be examined for other forms of headache, including an evaluation of their cervical spine and associated tissues. Doctors of chiropractic are not only trained to evaluate musculoskeletal disorders of the neck but can also provide treatment to restore normal function, which may reduce the frequency and intensity of many forms of headache.

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.


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