03 August 2014

Tips to get rid of a sinus headache

I get these headaches. Had them since I was a child. They hurt just behind my eyes, or my forehead, and they suck the life out of me.


I don't know what it is- when I get this particular kind of headache, I become nauseous and useless. Technically these particular symptoms describe a sinus headache. I always thought that was odd because typically I do not experience any noticeable sinus congestion along with the headache. The term is misleading!

I had a coworker once who also got them, and she was convinced it was because of barometric pressure. She said that when it would finally rain, the headache would go away.
Oddly enough, since I started paying attention to it, it started to make sense, but there's not much we can do to control that.

Since I'm not the only one who gets them, I figured I'd share a few things that help.

Depending on what is available, and the severity of the headache, I use any combination of these. Yes, they work.

1. Hydrate. Drink some water. This doesn't usually take the headache away, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Eating something small can help as well- sometimes hunger can make the headaches worse.

2. Aleve. Plain old Aleve. I used to take ibprofen, but it would upset my stomach. A stomach ache on top of a hellish headache? Not ideal. Aleve relieves the pain a little quicker, too.

3. Sudafed. Or, the generic brand the drugstore sells works just as well. But make sure it's the kind that comes without a pain reliever, and it's the good stuff- pseudoephedrine- you have to swipe your ID and sign for at the pharmacy. The other stuff- phenylephrine- just doesn't cut it. Read your labels.

Note about the drugs: I usually take these only when I do not have the option to try the others- for instance when I'm at work.

Generally I'll start by taking just 1 Aleve, and see if that works. If not, I take the second one.
If the headache is still there after a while, I'll take a Sudafed. I try not to take too much of the Sudafed because sometimes they make me jittery and shaky.

Also, check for drug interactions before taking this or any other combo! It can be very easy to OD on over the counter medications if you do not pay attention to what you're taking. Moving on:


4. Acupressure. I swear this works. Place pressure on the web between the thumb and pointer finger. Like you're pinching the area.


It's easy to do to yourself. I've also tried it on coworkers a few times after they've been unable to relieve a headache. They laughed, but came back to me later telling me their headache was gone. Boo ya.

5. Vick's vapor rub. Rubbed under the nose, on the forehead, and under the eyes. The combination works best when a warm heating pad is placed on the face.

6. Heating pad. More specifically and preferably, a rice heating pad. The warm rice sits on the eyes/forehead/cheek region. It stays where it's put, and it conforms to the shape of the face. Ahh.

7. A neti pot. Sometimes this will help wash out the sinuses and prompt them to clear, even if you don't have obvious sinus congestion.

8. Similarly, a hot shower. Let the hot water hit your face. Can help relieve some of the pressure.

If these don't take my headache away, it's usually at least to a manageable level. At that point it's just time to suck it up and wait for it to rain. 

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