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Headaches and Sinus Disease


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Problems with your sinuses can lead to symptoms that can feel like you have a headache. This is commonly referred to as a “sinus headache.” The sinuses are air-filled spaces inside your forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of your nose. When the sinuses become irritated and inflamed – due to an allergic reaction or a sinus infection – they swell, create extra mucus, and the channels that normally drain them become blocked. This build-up of pressure leads to the unpleasant sensation of having a sinus headache.

Symptoms of a sinus headache include:

  • Deep, constant pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose that worsens when you move your head suddenly
  • Feeling of fullness in your ears
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling in your face


Nasal Endoscopy
Your ENT doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) with a tiny camera to visually inspect the inside of the sinuses. This test is more likely to be used in the case of chronic (ongoing) sinus disease.

Images obtained from computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help your doctor see details of your sinuses and nasal passages. These tests are more likely to be used in the case of chronic (ongoing) sinus disease.

Nasal and Sinus Cultures
When your sinus disease is long lasting (chronic) and does not respond to treatment, your ENT specialist may recommend taking a culture (tissue sample) from the nasal area or sinuses to further assess the sinus disease.

Allergy Testing
Your ENT specialist may order an allergy skin test, if he or she think that allergies may have caused your sinus disease. This test may help determine the allergen that’s causing the sinus disease.


Your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter medication to help ease your symptoms. Antibiotics can treat the infection and are often the main treatment.

Nasal Sprays
Nasal decongestant sprays can be used to treat nasal stuffiness. They should not be used longer than three days. With long-term use of nasal decongestant sprays, the nose can become dependent on them, and nasal stuffiness can worsen.

Nasal/Sinus Irrigation
Your ENT specialist may recommend a nasal/sinus irrigation for your sinus disease. 

With recent advances in technology, ENT surgeons can now perform endoscopic sinus surgery entirely through the nose, without face or mouth incisions. Alternately, your ENT specialist may recommend sinus surgery using a balloon catheter  to help manage your sinus condition. When minimally invasive surgery is not an option, the ENT surgeon may need to perform sinus surgery via an external approach.

Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked No. 28 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.

World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities , our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.

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