About 70-80% of the North American population has headaches, with 50% experiencing at least one headache per month.
You may be aware of your most common headache triggers – from stress to not getting enough sleep. While most headaches are not serious or life-threatening, they can affect quality of life.
In many cases, headaches can come from allergies or sinus problems. What are the underlying causes of these types of headaches?
According to Howard Levine, MD, Director of the Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center, and Tivic Health medical board member, “Patients usually say that they are experiencing facial pain around the sinuses. They may feel steady pressure around the sinuses that lasts for days. Or it can be short-lived and attributed to some type of underlying sinus problem.
“Pain can emerge when sinuses are blocked – for instance, enlarged nasal turbinates, a sinus infection, or inflammation from allergies – can block the outflow of sinuses and cause pain. Sinus blockage can also occur from nasal polyps which are common or tumors which are uncommon. In some cases, people may experience short-lived headaches due to changes in barometric pressure from shifts in weather or altitude. And if headache pain is severe, sharp, or throbbing, it is likely a migraine,” continued Dr. Levine.
Allergy headaches are typically triggered by pollen, mold spores, pet dander, cockroaches or dust mites. Other triggers may consist of food allergens and environmental smells such as smoke or perfume.
Migraine triggers may include stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, dietary factors including alcohol, caffeine, and certain additives like tyramine. Environmental factors such as bright lights, strong smells, loud noises or flickering screens can also contribute to migraines.
It’s important to pay attention to your headache and its triggers, and manage your symptoms accordingly. Here are a few natural home remedies:
- Minimize exposure to your allergen triggers.
- Drink plenty of fluids to thin any mucus causing nasal congestion and stuffiness.
- Use saline irrigation to flush the nose or saline nasal sprays to moisturize the nose.
- Inhale steam two to four times a day – with a towel over your head to contain the steam or while sitting in the bathroom with the shower running.
- Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day.
Dr. Levine also recommends using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that shrinks swollen tissue within the nasal cavity to ease congestion and allow patients to breathe more easily. The ClearUP bioelectronic sinus device is 100% drug-free and provides rapid and lasting relief, without chemical side effects.
It can be difficult to distinguish and diagnose the underlying causes of a headache. Consult your doctor if your headaches recur or worsen, and pain occurs with nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, or weakness in the arms and legs.