Sinus Headache Treatment in Denver

Sinus headaches can be some of the most painful and frustrating headaches to deal with. Due to their ongoing nature and sudden onset, it’s not uncommon for people to seek medical attention, especially if at-home remedies haven’t been working.

Whether you recently experienced your first sinus headache or you’ve struggled with them for some time, Advanced ENT & Allergy Center offers medical treatment to help alleviate pain and rid you of sinus headaches.

If you’re ready to book your appointment, you can connect with us either online or by phone. We offer both online telehealth and in-person appointments.

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What Is a Sinus Headache?

A sinus headache is characterized as a deep pressure or pain that takes place over one or both of the sinus cavities. These cavities are located around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. While a sinus headache may feel more painful on one side of your face, it can affect both your sinuses and your entire face.

Sinus headaches develop when the sinus cavities around the face and head become inflamed or blocked off. This hinders airflow and proper drainage, preventing you from breathing comfortably, which can cause even more discomfort.

Sinus headaches can be difficult to diagnose since there are other headache types with similar symptoms. Migraines are characterized by a similar facial pain, pressure and nasal congestion, but they are also associated with unique symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and pain that worsens with activity. Tension headaches typically can be relieved with massage, heat or stress relief, but sinus headaches do not respond to these treatments as tension headaches do. 

Signs and Symptoms

Not everyone will experience a sinus headache in the same way. Some people have reported intense pressure behind the eyes, while others have experienced pain and throbbing in the forehead. Some of the most common symptoms of a sinus headache are:  

Signs and symptoms of a sinus headache may include:

  • Throbbing head pain
  • Pain in the face, head, or cheeks
  • Worsening pain when bending forwards or when lying down
  • Feelings of pressure around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead
  • Achy feelings in your upper teeth
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Persistent coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Weakened sense of smell
  • Fever
  • Thick, colored mucus discharge from the nose
  • Pressure in the ears
  • Swollen or puffy face

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above and believe that it might be related to a sinus headache, you may want to seek medical treatment. While some of these symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication and home remedies, you will most likely need more serious medical treatment to completely alleviate your sinus headaches.

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What Does a Sinus Headache Feel Like?

sinus headache pain

A sinus headache will feel different from a regular headache. When people experience a sinus headache, they typically describe their entire face hurting. Often, the pain increases when you move your body, specifically your head, suddenly. Depending on which sinus cavities are affected, it can feel like a consistent dulling ache behind the eyes, cheekbones, forehead, or on the bridge of your nose.

Identifying a sinus headache can sometimes be difficult. Many times, what people call a sinus headache is actually a migraine with nasal symptoms. A true sinus headache develops from sinusitis and the pain and pressure that comes from a sinus infection.

The Causes of Sinus Headaches

While sinus infections are one the main causes of sinus headaches, anything that creates pressure due to congestion and inflammation in the sinus cavities can cause them. A number of issues can give rise to sinus headaches, including:

The common cold
Increases mucus production and can often lead to a sinus infection.

Bacterial infection
Occurs after a viral infection and can prolong symptoms.

Recurrent swelling of the sinuses, or sinusitis
If you are experiencing recurrent sinus infections, it could be due to nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum, each of which requires medical treatment.

Seasonal allergies
Can trigger mucus production and inflammation of the sinuses.

Nasal polyps
Abnormal growths in the nose or sinuses, these polyps can block mucus from draining.

Deviated septum
When the link of cartilage and bone in the center of the nose is misaligned, it can prevent mucus from properly draining.

Fungal infection
More likely to occur in people who are immunocompromised.

All of these issues create too much mucus, which then allows for more germs and bacteria to gather. As these germs and bacteria grow, they irritate the sinuses. From there, your body’s natural response is to cause the tissue around the sinus to swell, which then blocks the passage of the mucus. Once the sinuses are swollen, they can become filled with liquid that makes your face tender and achy, which ultimately leads to a sinus headache.

Genetic Factors for Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can also be caused by specific anatomical features or genetics. People who are born with smaller sinus openings have a higher chance of becoming congested, which increases the likelihood of sinus headaches. Similarly, people with sensitive nasal linings are also more likely to experience these types of headaches. If you’re more prone to seasonal allergies, you may experience sinus headaches more commonly too.

When looking to treat your sinus headache, you want to make sure that you are able to recognize what specifically is causing your pain. Getting down to the root of the problem can help you find fast and effective ways to treat your headaches.

If you’re struggling to find the root problem, Advanced ENT & Allergy Center can help determine exactly what is causing your sinus headaches and develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.

The Difference Between Sinus Headaches, Regular Headaches, and Migraines

Spotting the difference between a sinus headache, a regular headache, and a migraine is relatively easy. One of the biggest differences is that a sinus headache is constant and will require further medical treatment, but a regular tension headache, and even a migraine, can typically be treated with rest and over-the-counter pain medication, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Tension headaches and migraines can usually be pinpointed to a more exact cause. These can include lack of sleep, loud noises, excess alcohol, menstrual symptoms, and more. Sinus headaches are less likely to come from any of these triggers.

Migraines are the most similar to sinus headaches due to their shared symptoms of extreme facial pain, pressure, and nasal congestion. However, migraines are often associated with very different symptoms as well, such as nausea, light and noise sensitivity, and worsening pain with activity. Another difference is that migraines don’t tend to last as long as sinus headaches do. Because the treatment for migraines is very different from the treatment of a sinus headache, it’s important to have a professional diagnose your condition.

Here are some of the key differences between all three types of headaches.

Sinus Headaches

  • Caused by a sinus infection or sinusitis
  • Constant full-face (or one-sided) pain and pressure, specifically over the sinus cavities
  • Can’t be managed by home remedies or over-the-counter pain or decongestant medications
  • Don’t allow for proper airflow or drainage
  • Can’t be treated until you find the root cause of your sinus issues

Regular Headaches

  • Can be brought on by stress, lack of sleep, fatigue, caffeine withdrawal, hunger, menstruation, etc.
  • Can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain-relieving or decongestant medications.
  • Tend to go away with rest or after taking medication
  • Shorter lasting
  • Affect only one area of the face


  • Can be brought on by sensory stimulation.
    • Ex. flashing lights or bright lights, loud sounds, strong smells, etc.
  • Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Characterized as an intense headache on one side of the head.
  • Longer lasting but not as constant as a sinus headache

Treatment Options

+ Quick Home Remedies

In order to fully get rid of a sinus headache you have to treat your sinuses. However, there are steps that you can take at home to help ease the pressure and pain.

  • Apply a warm compress to the affected areas of the face.
  • Use an over-the-counter decongestant to help reduce sinus swelling and allow for mucus drainage.
  • Use a saline nasal spray to help thin the mucus.
  • Use a vaporizer to help relieve sinus congestion (or inhale steam from a pan of boiled water).
+ Specialized Medical Treatment

Treatment for sinus headaches is primarily medical and will require you to see a healthcare provider. An expert ENT doctor can diagnose your sinus headache and find the best treatment plan for your situation. Before you can begin formal medical treatment for a sinus headache, you will need to be officially diagnosed.

+ Diagnosis

Diagnosis of sinus headaches is relatively simple. When visiting your healthcare provider, you will most likely need an exam. Here, they will ask you a few questions about your presenting symptoms and how you are feeling. Depending on the severity of your headache and your answers to their questions, you may also need to complete a series of tests. The tests that you may need can include any of the following:

  • X-rays
  • Computed tomography scans (CT)
  • Nasal endoscopy
    • A thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera will explore the inside of your nose and sinuses

These tests can help determine what exactly is causing the sinus blockage and inflammation and help your medical provider understand the underlying issue. Once you eliminate those sinus issues, you can easily eliminate your sinus headaches.

Once you have been diagnosed, there are a variety of different treatment paths you can take. These options are medication, surgery, and allergy-specific treatment.

+ Medication

Depending on the severity of your sinus headache and how often you are experiencing them, you may be given an oral or topical medication. This is an easy solution that can make your symptoms and day-to-day life much more manageable. However, this medication will need to be used consistently to manage your symptoms and to stop the sinus headaches from returning. The medication is not on an as-needed basis like medication for a regular headache or migraine would be.

+ Surgery

If medication isn’t working, a surgery called a balloon sinuplasty is another option. A balloon sinuplasty is a quick and minimally invasive procedure done with a local anesthetic that takes only about 45 minutes. This surgery opens up blocked or small sinus ducts, eliminating your sinus headaches. It also helps to relieve congestion, sinusitis, and other symptoms you may be feeling. The recovery is quick, with almost no postoperative pain. Many patients return to their normal activities in two to three days.

+ Allergy Treatment

Another option is to look into more aggressive allergy treatment. Allergies cause swelling inside the nose that can close the sinus openings, resulting in a sinus headache. This can be done with allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops). Here at Advanced ENT, we recommend allergy drops because of their unique combination of convenience and effectiveness.

Allergy drops, which were first introduced to Colorado by Dr. Menachof, have been extremely successful as an easy way to help you manage your allergies. Once we determine your specific allergy sensitivities, you will receive a customized medication. Then, all you need to do is place three drops of the medication onto your tongue to decrease your sensitivity to the allergens, allowing your sinuses to open back up. This is a great way to get rid of your allergy symptoms quickly, all without any needles or shots.

– What Our Patients Say –

“Dr. Menachof and his staff are consummate professionals. I was informed of the problems I had, informed of curative options, and made my decision on that information. The surgery was a success and I have had excellent results. I can breathe normally and have none of the sinus/headache issues to the degree that I endured for years. I am very pleased with the outcome.” -Frederick H.

Find Relief From Your Sinus Headaches

Eliminate your sinus headaches once and for all with an effective, personalized treatment plan from Advanced ENT & Allergy Center, located in Denver. As one of the leading clinics for sinus and allergy issues, we’ll work with you closely to find the best sinus headache treatment for you.

To learn more about our treatment options or make an appointment, connect with us online or over the phone. We offer both in-person and telehealth options and accept a variety of insurance plans.

Schedule an Appointment – Online or In-Person