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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Indianapolis doctor says frequent headaches can be a symptom of chronic sinusitis

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• Signs of a sinus headache include swelling in the face, a feeling of fullness in the ears, a fever and persistent pain

• Symptoms that are unique to migraines (but not sinus headaches) are nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, noise or smells.

• Balloon sinuplasty is a highly effective solution for chronic sinusitis.

Indianapolis Sinus Center's Dr. Anthony Sanders provided information about the causes and treatments for sinus headaches in an interview with Indiana Business Daily.

"A sinus headache is due to inflammation in your nose and sinuses," Sanders said. "It's a difficult problem that tends to be chronic. A lot of people initially are managed with medical treatments, such as antibiotics, along with adjunctive-type medicines, such as saline irrigations, intranasal steroid sprays, sometimes decongestants, sometimes mucus-thinning agents like Mucinex. People who do not respond to that, then surgical treatments are the treatment of choice for them."

According to WebMD, when sinuses become inflamed, they tend to produce more mucus and are unable to drain properly. The buildup can cause pain similar to headaches. Sinus headache symptoms include facial swelling, a feeling of clogged ears, a fever, and persistent pain in the cheekbones, forehead and nasal bridge.

Sometimes what feels like a sinus headache is actually a migraine or tension headache. However, according to the American Migraine Foundation, while sinus headaches and migraines do share some symptoms in common, migraines cause unique symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, noises or smells.

While most sinus infections either clear up on their own or with minimal medical treatment, such as antibiotics, there are instances where surgery is required for relief. According to WebMD, chronic sinusitis patients seeking surgery can choose between endoscopy and a balloon sinuplasty.

The latter option is a relatively new treatment, approved by the FDA in 2005, which is suitable for patients who don't need anything removed from their sinuses. The doctor inserts a thin tube into the nose with a small balloon attached to one end before guiding it to the blocked area. The balloon is then inflated, clearing the passageway and allowing the sinuses to properly drain, relieving congestion.

If you're experiencing sinus headaches or chronic sinusitis, please take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz provided by Indianapolis Sinus Center.

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