Sinus Headaches

Free yourself from the constant pressure

You may mistake a sinus headache for a minor inconvenience until its vise-like python hold wraps around your sinuses, constricting until you feel your head might pop from the pressure. You feel the throbbing buildup in your cheeks and behind your eyes. You know from experience, this headache is going to put you out of commission in no time.

What is a sinus headache?

Sinuses, air-filled pockets in your head, are part of your nasal airways and essential for your breathing system. They're located in your forehead, cheeks, and between your eyes, with four sets on each side of your nose. Each of your sinuses has an opening into the nose and they’re meant to work in harmony to keep you breathing well.

Sinus headaches occur when these openings are too small, trapping mucus and inflaming the lining in the sinuses. This is called sinusitis, a condition that can result from sinus infections.

What causes sinus headaches?

Sinus headaches start when there is a blockage in the narrow passages that lead to the sinuses. This keeps the sinuses from draining properly and soon there is a buildup of mucus. When this happens the lining of both the sinuses and nose can become, inflamed, swollen and tender…resulting in a sinus headache.

They can be a symptom of an acute sinus infection, or they can occur more frequently as the result of an anatomical or inflammatory issue, or both.

How do I know if my headache is a sinus headache?

A sinus headache is no ordinary ache. It's a deep, dull pain in your nose, cheeks, and eyebrows, creating a pressure that's hard to bear. It's like a heavy burden on your face, sometimes even making it difficult to keep your eyes open.

You can identify it from a constant dull pain that increases when you lean forward or touch your face. The pain may even extend to your cheeks and teeth, making them sensitive. You might also have nasal congestion, postnasal drip, and a reduced sense of smell.

Are sinus headaches a sign of something dangerous?

While sinus headaches aren't immediately dangerous, they can indicate larger issues with your nasal airways and breathing.

Healthy sinuses filter toxins, acting as frontline defenders against pathogens. Trouble usually arises from an anatomical issue blocking sinus drainage or obstructing breathing. A structural problem with the bones, cartilage, or tissues in your nose and sinuses could cause a sinus headache. Irritation can also cause inflammation, contributing to sinus pressure.

Don't ignore sinus headaches; if caused by anatomical or inflammatory issues, they'll persist and could lead to conditions like chronic sinusitis.

How Are Sinus Headaches Treated?

First you’ll need a doctor to confirm your symptoms stem from sinus issues. If no inflammation is found in the nose or sinuses, or your pain is in the top or back of the head, you might have a migraine headache instead.

Well-functioning noses and sinuses require open, clear passageways and calm lining. Many people with sinus headaches or related symptoms have compromised anatomy and irritated lining. To help the lining, the anatomy must first be opened.

ADVENT has pioneered simple in-office treatment options to easily improve sinus health and nasal breathing. These simple procedures generally last about 20 minutes and provide root-cause solutions for long-term relief.

Don't Ignore Chronic Sinus Headaches

IOBS Work Time: 6.5% to >1% reduction in work loss due to sinusitis
Mouth Breathers: 61% of adults are mouthbreathers
92% of ADVENT patients left a 4- or 5-star review on Google
Net Promoter: ADVENT has +84 NPS score
How it works

3 steps to finding sinus headache relief

  1. Calendar and scheduling icon with checkmark on date

    1: Get Your Breathing Triangle Evaluation

    First, we listen. At your new patient appointment, you’ll discuss your symptoms and goals with a Sleep & Sinus Specialist. You’ll also get a thorough Breathing Triangle Evaluation to help identify any underlying issues related to your sinus headaches.

  2. Icon for Get your breathing triangle healthy

    2: Uncover the Root Cause

    Depending on your symptoms you may get an in-office CT scan or home sleep study to better understand the source of your sinus headaches.

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    3: Treat Your Sinus Headaches with Simple Solutions

    We offer several simple in-office treatment options to ensure you have a healthy Breathing Triangle. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be a candidate for: Balloon Sinuplasty, Turbinate Reduction, Nasal Cryotherapy, Polypectomy, Septoplasty, or Allergy Drop Immunotherapy

Sinus Headache FAQs

Everything you need to know about:
Sinus Headaches
What causes sinus headaches?

Sinus headaches happen when there’s something blocking the nasal and sinus passageways, causing inflammation in the lining of the sinuses and nose, or both. Sinus headaches can be a symptom of an acute sinus infection, or they can occur more frequently as the result of an anatomical or inflammatory issue, or both.

Potential root causes of sinus headaches can include:

  • Sinusitis: Sinus headaches are often caused by sinusitis, which is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses.
  • Chronic Sinusitis: A long-term sinus condition often associated with sinus headaches.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions often cause sinus congestion, which can cause sinus headaches.
  • Rhinitis: This is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa, and it can cause symptoms similar to a sinus headache.
  • Nasal Polyps: These are non-cancerous growths in the nose or sinuses that can block the sinuses, leading to headaches.
  • Deviated Septum: A condition where the nasal septum is significantly displaced, potentially causing sinus blockage and headache.
  • Common Cold/Flu: Viral infections can cause inflammation and congestion in the sinuses, leading to a sinus headache.
  • Barometric Pressure: Changes in weather or altitude can cause pressure changes leading to sinus headaches.
  • Postnasal Drip: This condition can cause irritation and inflammation in the sinuses, leading to a sinus headache.
  • Sleep Apnea: A disorder of breathing during sleep, which may lead to an increase in sinus pressure and headaches.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to tension and ultimately sinus headaches.
What are the health risks associated with untreated sinus headaches?

It depends on the root cause of the sinus headache. If the cause of the sinus headache is an acute sinus infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and the headache should subside when the infection clears. 

If the cause of the sinus headache is trouble with the anatomy of the nose or sinuses, a symptom of inflammation of the lining, or both, the health risks associated with not getting treatment for the issue would be more frequent sinus headaches. Depending on the root cause of the sinus headache, you could be on a path to developing chronic sinusitis if left untreated. 

Do allergies cause sinus headaches?

Yes, allergens can enter through the nasal passageway and trigger inflammation in the lining of the nose and sinuses. This can cause runny nose, postnasal drip, congestion, sneezing, and the pressure buildup in the sinuses that causes sinus headaches.

What treatments are available for sinus headaches?

If the root cause of the sinus headache is an anatomy or inflammation issue (or both), an provider can examine, diagnose, and recommend a course of treatment. Simple solutions to sinus headaches can includeBalloon Sinuplasty, Turbinate Reduction, Nasal Cryotherapy, Polypectomy, Septoplasty, or Allergy Drop Immunotherapy.

If the root cause of the sinus headache is a sinus infection, over-the-counter pain medication may help soothe the discomfort, and antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to help clear the infection.

How does ADVENT's approach to sinus headache treatment differ from other ENT clinics and doctors?

At ADVENT, our medical practice only focuses on areas related to your Breathing Triangle: the two sides of your nose and throat. We are the only ENT practice that has this exclusive focus. This is also why every ADVENT clinic has it’s own CT Scanner, so we can get a digital blueprint of your sinuses to truly understand where your issue lies. The first step in diagnosing and treating any sinus headache issue is to ensure your Breathing Triangle is healthy. Most often, a simple 20 minute in-office procedure like Balloon Sinuplasty is all that is needed for your sinuses to regain their healthy status.

"Headaches can be multifactorial but can be caused by sinus issues. We have patients trial medications and get imaging on how the sinuses appear. If there is disease in the sinuses, there is a greater chance that opening up the sinuses will improve those headaches. We use a balloon to dilate the drainage pathway to that sinus. This helps the sinus to drain more effectively and efficiently."

Megan Berendes, PA-C

Physician Assistant

"Allergies can lead to inflammation throughout your nasal and sinus cavities which in turn can cause pain and pressure in your forehead, behind the eyes, or around your cheeks."

"Allergy symptoms occur when the body produces an immune response to a particular allergen. Oftentimes these allergens enter the body through the nose, inciting an immune response, the release of histamine, and the resulting allergy symptoms- nasal congestion, runny nose, and more. Because the sinuses are directly connected to the nasal airway, allergens can also pass into the sinuses, elicit an immune response, and produce what is perceived as a sinus headache."

Jacob Daniels, PA-C

Physician Assistant
Sinus Headaches

Real patient reviews:

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It made me feel better knowing they found a problem, corrected it and now I breath better. I no longer snore and have no sinus headaches.
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They honestly make you feel like a valuable person with legitimate concerns and not just a number! I recommend them to help you!
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They were efficient and respectful, answered every question I had, and helped me through every process. It was the best medical experience I’ve had in decades.
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Today was my first week follow up after my procedure and let me tell you I'm so glad I did it. Only the first week and finally feel the difference. Staff is very friendly, and they definitely make sure to find the root of any issue you may have to help you!
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I'm so grateful I could cry. I'm one year post sinus surgery and normally a rainy April would make me miserable. I've barely had any headache days despite the miserable weather.
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I had balloon sinuplasty...The procedures were minimally invasive and with minimal pain. I have to say a dentists' injections have caused me more pain than these ADVENT procedures. Immediately after surgery, I was able to breath better and this has continued during the healing process… Amazing!
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I am so glad that my wife handed me the number to call. I can breathe from my nose for the first time in 25 years and the staff is amazing!
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This place has literally changed my life. I have been a lifelong sufferer of sinus problems. Through the years, I have tried multiple over the counter remedies, seen several ENT specialists, and had a majorly invasive sinus surgery. None of it has ever really helped, and the surgery made it worse. I went to ADVENT...and I'm breathing more clearly than I ever thought possible. They truly delivered significant results. I am and will forever be grateful for the major improvement in the quality of my life.
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"I went to ENT's for years and they did very little to help my sinus issues. They just prescribed nasal sprays for years, one after another. Advent was great. All appointments were very detailed and informative. They spend a lot of time looking into my sinus problems. My breathing is so much better but not perfect after my procedure. I will take the improvement they gave me any day over the ENT doctors I saw before."


  1. Swain, S. Middle turbinate concha bullosa and its relationship with chronic sinusitis: a review, Int J of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, (2021).
  2. Patel, ZM, Kennedy, DW, Setzen, M, Poetker, DM, DelGaudio, JM. “ Sinus headache”: rhinogenic headache or migraine? An evidence-based guide to diagnosis and treatment. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol, 2013; 3: 221– 230.
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Sinus Headaches
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