Monday, February 23, 2009

Sinus Headaches Are A Pain!

There's nothing like a horrible sinus headache to cause your head so much agony, sap your strength, and rob you of a whole day, except maybe a migraine.

I'm usually able to realize a sinus headache is coming, before it's raging, and do something about it.
Not so yesterday, so I suffered away from home until I was sick to my stomach with the pain.

When the barometer pressure changes, usually indicating rain, my headaches begin. I also get a headache when I've dusted and not used a mask, or when there is a bunch of pollen. Allergies-Ick !

Well, I guess someone else has noticed barometric pressure related headaches, because you can research them on Google. Mine are always on one side of my face in the sinus cavity on that side and behind that eye.

Enough complainin' about the pain, what do I do about it? The following is NOT meant to be medical advice. If you want that you'll have to go to a doctor. I'm not one, so take all my advice with a grain of salt. I'm just sharing what has helped me.

  • Get hydrated - Drink plenty of fluids, whether you feel like it or not. Water is best. I sometimes get up in the morning stuffed up and know if things don't loosen up I'm going to be in pain. I make a very hot cup of tea or coffee. After I drink it down a little I start trying to place the side or bottom of the warm cup on the spot were it hurts. I also like to inhale the warm steam from my cup. Don't scald yourself ! I sometimes alternate that with ice cold water. Cold orange juice also is good in the morning. If I'm away from home and feeling sick to my stomach I'll get an icy cold Sprite from the Sonic, or a lemon water.
  • Use the healing properties of hot and cold water - It's more effective if you've taken in plenty of fluids before doing any of the following: Use a very hot washcloth on your face where it hurts. Try it on the back of your neck on the same side. Rewet the cloth as needed to keep it good and hot. Then splash ice cold water on your face or use a cloth dipped in ice water on your face. Alternate back and forth with the heat and cold. If you're already in a lot of pain skip the cloth treatment and get in the shower. Use the warmest water you can stand on your face, head and back of your neck. If you have a handheld shower head, use a powerful massaging setting and get it closer. Be careful, not too near your eyes. You can follow the heat with cold, but you really want a handheld for that so you can direct it only onto your face. Brrrr!
  • Other treatments - Heating pad. Gel face mask that is kept in the fridge. Inhaling steam with menthol or an essential oil in some hot water, possibly making a steam tent out of a towel. Humidifier. Saline drops in the nose. Neti pot. Eating something very spicy. Chewing very minty gum or mints. Exercise if you feel like it. Massage your face and neck where the pressure is. Sometimes I ask my hunny to put me in a headlock. No, really! I lay my head on his chest and he uses his forearm across my temple and applies a good headlock there instead of my neck. Feels wonderful and is more cost effective than buying me a new head, which is what I ask him to do when he asks if I need anything.
  • Medicine - I can often use some of the above treatments and get relief with no medication at all. Sometimes I know I'm going to need to take a couple of regular ibuprofen. If I'm in enough pain I'll take a prescription dose and go to bed. I also take a nasal decongestant as needed. There's only one that really works for me. Once again, I'm no doctor, and overuse of ibuprofen can cause liver damage among other things, so see a doctor rather than medicating what could be a serious problem.

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