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Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs

Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs

If you’ve ever had a sinus headache, you know what a real pain it is (literally and figuratively speaking). There are many over-the-counter medications you can take to help relieve a sinus headache, but you may want to think twice before you resort to those all the time. Why? Because even though these options may cover up the symptoms of your sinus headache temporarily, they’re not the best for treating it long-term and don’t address the real issue at hand.

What a Sinus Headache Feels Like

Sinus Headache

    A sinus headache will feel as though you have a tight clamp on each side of your head, and you’ll feel this due to pressure caused by a build-up of fluids. You’ll also usually feel your nasal passages clogged and likely have problems with mucus in your throat. You may find yourself constantly coughing or trying to clear your throat with corresponding tension headaches when suffering (whether daily or occasionally).

    It’s not exactly what you’re suffering from? Then you need to check if you have one of the following headaches instead and learn about how to deal with it:

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    Tension Headache: Understanding Of The Most Common Headache

    Cluster Headaches: How To Deal With The Worst Headache

    How To Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine

    Causes of Sinus Headaches

    Research shows that sinus headaches are the result of overall body inflammation – not actually from allergies alone. Other possible causes of sinus headaches include a respiratory infection, congestion due to mucus build up in the body or an illness such as the flu. Allergies can also trigger sinus headaches or exacerbate existing ones.

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    Normal sinus pathways allow mucus to drain and air to circulate through the lungs and nasal passages, but when inflammation occurs in the body, these pathways and processes don’t work as they normally would. This can lead to a host of negative issues because blocked nasal passages are the perfect breeding ground for harmful viruses and bacteria that can affect you long-term.

    Colds are a common culprit for triggering sinus headaches, but those who swim frequently, suffer from asthma or hay fever, and those with nasal polyps or facial tumors may also be more susceptible than other people.

    Natural Options for Relieving a Sinus Headache

    Sinus Headache

      First, you’ll want to check with your doctor to make sure you have a sinus headache and not something else. Once he or she diagnoses you, here are natural remedies you can do at home to relieve inflammation and even the possible cause(s) of your sinus headaches:

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      1. Remove all possible allergenic foods

      Many people are allergic to certain foods they are eating which is causing the inflammation and mucus build-up. Common allergens are gluten (wheat, barley, rye), just wheat, dairy, soy, and although it’s not an allergy, excessive refined sugar intake can also lead to inflammation and mucus build-up. Consider removing these from your diet to see which ones may be causing issues for you, and then reintroduce each one, one at a time to see if the food is causing mucus build-up for you or overall inflammation. Check labels on all foods you buy, and consider an elimination diet which may also be effective.

      2. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive caffeine and sugar.

      Excessive caffeine and sugar intake can trigger inflammation as well as headaches due to the way they affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels when they leave the bloodstream. Be sure to drink plenty of water which is your best option for getting your lymph fluids flowing. Warm (low-sodium) broths may also be helpful as well.

      3. Use a humidifier to help you breathe more easily.

      Place a humidifier in your room each night and let it run while you sleep. This can help you wake up a little clearer in the morning because it helps get mucus moving through the body so you can breathe more easily.

      4. Use cold packs on your head to relieve pain.

      Ice packs can help dispel the pain from your head by triggering a unique process in the bloodstream and nerve pathways to help relieve pain. You can make cold packs from ice yourself with ice cubes and cloth or plastic baggies. Or, you can buy ice packs at your local drugstore. Place the ice pack on your head ensuring it covers the sides of your head and nose for at least 30 seconds. Consider taking a hot bath each night as you do so for greater effects.

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      5. Rub peppermint oil on the sides of your head.

      Rubbing peppermint oil on your the sides of your head can help relieve pain quickly and the menthol will also help you breathe more easily. Be sure to rub it in for a few minutes, gently massaging the sides of your head as you do so.

      6. Drink some warm lemon ginger tea.

      Make your own warm cup of tea with fresh ginger root and lemon slices. Just let them steep in boiling water for at least 5 minutes, then strain and drink the tea a few times a day. (You can also just make this tea in a French press.) Lemon and ginger both help relieve inflammation, pain, and can clear mucus from the body.

      7. Use over-the-counter sprays as the last option or as a complimentary treatment.

      If you need additional care when you’re trying to survive your sinus headache, use saline sprays as a last option or complimentary treatment. Just be mindful that these don’t treat the actual cause of your sinus headache even though they do serve as helpful aids.

      Everyone suffers from sinus headaches for various reasons, so do your best to address the real cause of your sinus headache, and speak with a trusted naturopath or medical professional who is willing to help you through the process.

      To learn more about natural options to relieve general headaches, check out these options that can help you do so without medication.

      Featured photo credit: Flickr / Gonzalo Malpartida via flic.kr

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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