“Sinus headache” , the most heard and least understood term! Yes, it is! I actually feel sorry for poor ‘sinus headache’ that gets blamed for every other kind of headache people struggle with!
Before you also join the league that has been cursing sinus headache, have a look at this report and find out if it is really a culprit. Don’t worry! We are with you if it turns out to be so. This article covers some of the amazingly effective, quick and inexpensive home remedies for sinus headache.
Causes and symptoms
The term “sinus” refers to the tiny air spaces located inside the skull and behind your eyes, nose, and cheeks. They are there to help you drain out the mucus and circulate air through a network that opens out into the nose.
When these airways and also the lining of the nose get affected due to cold (or other infections), the infection spreads to the sinuses and make them swell up. Now you can probably think of the repercussions that follow this airway blockage due to these swollen openings.
The resulting pressure buildup inside these sinuses is what sinusitis (sinus infection) actually is. And this condition is responsible for the symptoms below, one of which is a sinus headache.
- Pain in the back of eyes, nose, forehead, face and sinuses
- Acute, frontal or a severe headache that intensifies with head movements like bending.
- A chronic cough and nasal congestion
- Swelling of the face and sore throat.
- Loss of smell sense, itchy and runny nose
- A sore throat, fever, fatigue, and discomfort in sleeping
- Tenderness and a sense of pressure in head
- Mucus or pus discharge and hyposmia
Home remedies for sinus headache
Got your symptoms matched with those of sinusitis? Be happy for you have diagnosed the problem and rush to the kitchen to collect the ingredients below. The stated home remedies for sinus infection have got their names glued in the list only after they have established their worth!
Here you go!
1. Steam and Neti pot
Steam and Neti pots remedy hits the list at position one not only because of the instant relief that they impart but also due to their ease of use and readily available ingredients. When you take the steam or irrigate your nose with salt water, your blocked nasal pathways gets unclogged, making it easier to breathe.
Additionally, the trick ensures that the inflamed sinuses are recovering fast so that the pressure buildup goes away and the mucous lining calms down. This in turns relieves a sinus headache.
Method to use steam for a sinus headache
- Take a saucepan and fill it with water.
- Boil it for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Take it off the stove and lean on it with your head and neck covered with a towel.
- Inhale the vapors as much as possible.
You may also add few drops of essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint oil to the boiling water and inhale the soothing vapors.
Procedure to use Neti Pot for a sinus headache
- Prepare a solution by adding a teaspoon of table salt and a pinch of baking soda to two cups of distilled or boiled water.
- Fill a Neti pot with this solution.
- Now place your head over a sink, tilted to one of the sides.
- Next, let the end of the Neti Pot be in direct contact with your nostrils.
- Pour the solution from the Neti pot into the nostrils (From higher to lower nostril) and for the time being, breathe through your mouth.
- The solution will either flow out of the other nostril or get into your throat.
- When you are done with all of the solutions, blow your nose with a cloth or tissue paper.
- Repeat the process with another nostril too.
- Redo it twice a week to get rid of a sinus headache.
The books of Ayurveda speak about the anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties of ginger. So why not make your own ginger tea and beat those unbearable sinus pains?
Recipe for ginger tea to get relief from a sinus headache
- Hunt for some fresh ginger roots.
- Slice them up and boil in water for 10 minutes or so.
- Strain it and your magic tea is ready!
- Drink it while it is still warm enough to soothe your throat.
- Do it regularly until your sinuses are ok.
Alternatively, chew raw ginger bits to let its juice do good to you.
3. Saline spray
This one’s my favorite since it is the easiest to do with the least ingredients involved. And you get quick results too as the saline moisturizes your nasal cavity and helps you with irritating nasal congestion.
- Prepare a saline solution (salt + warm water) and keep it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution in both the nostrils at least twice a day for best results.
4. Hot and cold compress
Give your sinuses alternative hold and cold treatment and get ready to watch the wonders that it does to you! You’ll experience instant relief from sinus pains including sinus headache and also from blocked nasal passages.
- Identify the most tender and painful sinus areas.
- Now apply a warm compress to it for 3 minutes, followed by an immediate cold compress for 30 seconds.
- Do it for all the sinus affected areas .
- Repeat it for 4-5 times a day (but on alternate days).
5. Essential oil
Be it any list of home remedies, essential oils do not miss finding a place. And this is what they are known for. All you need to do is choose the right combination of essential oils and the job is done.
You may go for steam inhalation, take vapors through diffuser and humidifiers or explore the soothing effect of a long hot bath, essential oils make sure you get the best of them and result in speedy recovery.
Here’s how to use essential oil for sinus headache
- For steam inhalation
- 2 drops each of Eucalyptus and Thyme oil to
- 3 drops each of Peppermint and Rosemary oil
- Add this to a cup of water and boil it.
- Take steam as directed before.
- For humidifier or vaporizer purpose
- Add about 25-30 drops of any of your favorite essential oils (preferably, Eucalyptus, lemon or basil) to the humidifier.
- Let the vapors do their job!
- For use in a diffuser
- Mix 4-6 drops of essential oils to half a cup of water and use it in a diffuser.
- For a hot bath
- Put 8-10 drops of essential oil on your bathing sponge or your bathtub full of hot water.
- Lavender, Peppermint, and Cinnamon oil work best in this case.
6. Acupressure points
As for any other ailment, acupressure works well for sinusitis too. Have a look at some of the major pressure points and how they work to relieve you from a sinus headache and other symptoms.
- In between the eyebrows
- Location: Right between your eyebrows, above the bridge of your nose (where women usually put bindis!)
- How to go about using this point : Gently press or tap this point for a minute
- Effect: It ensures that the mucus get secreted properly so that sinuses do not get inflamed.
- At the edges of both the nostrils
- Location: The pressure point is located just towards the sides of the nostrils.
- How to go about using this point : Use index fingers and hold these points at the same time. Make sure to make 90 degrees with your fingers while you gently press down these points together.
- Effect: If the respiratory illness is what causing the sinus pain, these points are way good to go for! Pressing these points regularly imparts relief from pain in cheekbones and improves circulation.
- At the ridge of the eyebrows
- Location: Identify a point at the top of your nose that connects it with the ridge of the eyebrows.
- How to go about using this point: Press these points in and upwards with your index fingers for some good 3 minutes.
- Effect: Applying pressure on these points relieves a sinus headache instantly and makes your eyes feel light.
- Under the cheeks
- Location: Move your finger starting from right below the pupil to locate the tender point under the cheeks.
- How to go about using this point: Press the identified tender points in and upwards against the cheeks.
- Effect: It leads to the release of pressure from all the sinuses, eventually helping with the recovery from the symptoms.
Note: There are a few more points that you may opt for but it is recommended to get started with acupressure therapy only under a professional’s supervision that too after consultation from your physician.
7. Exercise and Yoga
Physical exercises and yoga have always been the safest and the most effective options (when done rightly) when it comes to DIYs for ailments such as sinusitis. The old and gold books have been cherishing the health benefits that these workouts provide and so we are here with some of the best yoga practices and physical exercise tips to help your recovery from sinus pains accelerate!
- Asanas for sinuses
Certain poses, when performed properly have the potential to loosen the muscles and impart fast relief from sinus pressure. All you need to do is look up for the following yoga poses and try holding yourself in the position for a minute. Be as relaxed as possible and let your breath be smooth and steady while you perform these asanas.
- Balasana or the child’s pose.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward facing dog.
- Uttanasana or standing forward fold and
- Sasangasana or Rabbit pose as they are called.
Once you get better with these poses, you may switch to more advanced ones such as Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana, and Salamba Sirsana. But remember to take help from a professional instructor.
- Breathing exercises
I know when sinuses are blocked, even breathing becomes difficult. But this is what you need to fight and get over with. Initially, these breathing exercises might cause some discomfort but eventually, they’ll help you to get things back in form.
It is advised to go for Neti Pot remedy before trying these exercises. Here’s the list:
- Belly breathing
- Calming breathing and
- Breath of fire
Note: Do not forget to consult your physician about the exercises and to take assistance from a therapist.
8. Foods for sinus headache
Along with the home remedies and OTC medications that you are taking to get away with the sinus infection, it is must to plan your diet that goes well with the remedies. Although there are no ‘magic foods’ that cure the infection, certain foods can always help with the symptoms.
Here’s what should you eat for sinus headache
- Spicy food: Recall the incident when you had some super spicy food that caused runny nose and brought tears from your eyes. This is the trick! Spicy food opens the sinus passages so that the mucus drains out well and do not clog in.
And when there’s no blockage in the nasal airway, the chances of pressure buildup that leads to a sinus headache is minimized.
So add some spice to your plate to enjoy all the flavors of life again!
But do not exceed the recommended limit. Consult your dietician, else things may get worse
- Antioxidants : Free radicals wandering about often add to the misery by damaging the mucous lining. So include antioxidant rich vibrant fruits and vegetables such as citrus, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kiwi, pineapple, and berries.
- Fermented food products : This class of food products contains probiotics that keep a check on bad bacteria and viruses. Include coconut yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut and other fermented foods in your diet plan.
- Peppers and horseradish : They work by increasing mucus production and reducing inflammation. But use them wisely!
- Ginger and turmeric : These key ingredients of any recipe have anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties that help with sinus inflammation and pain.
9. Tea for sinus headache
The warmth of the tea clubbed with the goodness of herbs is all that is needed to get instant relief from a sinus headache and nasal congestion. Drink peppermint, ginger, holy basil and chamomile teas to get the benefits of steam inhalation as well as soothing warmth as the tea goes down a sore throat.
10. Soups for sinus headache
The same logic works here! Eating soups heat up the trapped mucus and unclogs the nasal passages. Therefore it is recommended to eat chicken noodle soup or soups rich in vibrant vegetables to ease the sinus headache and other symptoms associated with sinus infection.
FAQ on Sinus Headache
Is Sinus infection contagious?
I know you hate ‘up to some extent’, ‘it depends’ and ‘maybe’ sort of answers but this is what the fact is! Depending on the cause of sinus infection, the answer to this question can be stated.
If it is a viral infection such as cold that has ended up as sinusitis, beware! It is contagious. The virus can travel through air and affect a healthy person sitting next to or in contact with the infected person. However, a bacterial infection causing sinusitis is often considered non contagious.
In a nutshell,
‘Viral sinusitis is contagious while bacterial is not’
On the contrary, some experts argue that virus and bacteria infect only those people who already have a microenvironment set, which is apt for the microbial survival. So transfer of infection isn’t possible.
But why to take a chance when you know prevention is better than cure! Maintain proper hygiene and follow practices such as washing hands often with soap, wearing a mask and using a hanky while you cough or sneeze.
After all, your health is in your hand!
Stay positive, stay healthy!
Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda. A book By David Frawley