Pounding headache?

Your morning headache could be a symptom of sinusitis. Don't ignore it

girl with headacheMost of my patients off late complain of getting up in the morning with a dull headache. This is a typical symptom of sinusitis, which is caused mainly due to environmental pollution and lifestyle changes.

Sinusitis is the inflammation of the lining of the sinuses—the air spaces present in our skull. There are four pairs of sinuses: one pair just above the eyebrows, two pairs around the eyes, and one pair in the cheeks.

Inflammation of the sinuses can occur due to various reasons like infections, allergens like dust particles, dry environment [like when using air conditioners], smoking and consumption of alcohol.

Some common allergens that cause sinusitis include pollens, mould spores, house dust, mite excreta, epidermis and saliva of furred pets and cockroach bodies.

Symptoms of sinusitis include cold with a thick discharge from the nose, severe headache especially early in the morning, tiredness and body ache.

Early morning headache is typical of sinusitis and this differentiates it from other forms of headache, which persist through the day. Puffy eyes and tenderness are other signs of sinusitis.

Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. Acute attacks resolve in a week to ten days but chronic cases persist. In chronic sinusitis symptoms may not be intense always but may get exacerbated due to triggers such as seasonal changes or certain allergens.

Often, sinusitis also worsens asthma. And when it is identified and corrected, the asthma also improves significantly. Those suffering from sinusitis may experience difficulty in breathing as a result of nasal congestion.

High risk factors for developing sinusitis include infections, foreign particles, medical interventions involving the nasal passage or dental procedures, exposure to respiratory tract irritants, allergic rhinitis and nasal polyps [nasal tumour].

Sinusitis is diagnosed using physical examination and computed tomographic scanning, which helps understand the degree of sinusitis.

Treatments options include antibiotic and pharmacologic therapy for acute sinusitis. In case of chronic sinusitis, the triggering factor has to be identified and treated. In case of people who still experience recurrent infections, surgical intervention may be considered. One surgery that is widely used to treat sinusitis nowadays is Functional endoscopic sinus surgery [FESS]. This surgery has largely revolutionised the way sinusitis is treated, as it is minimally invasive.

Sinusitis can be prevented by identifying and avoiding the factors that trigger the disease and consuming a diet rich in vitamin C.

Try this

  • Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Boil them till the water reduces to half. Consume the water twice a day to find relief.
  • Inhale garlic or eucalyptus oil.
  • Consume one teaspoon of ginger juice twice a day.
Ravikiran Vernekar
Dr Ravikiran M Vernekar is a full-time consultant in the department of ENT and Head & Neck surgery at Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. He has a high success rate in treating patients with headache, especially sinus headache and allergic conditions of nose.


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