Sinus Headache Triggers and Their Effects on the Body
Although their symptoms are often confused, sinus headaches differ from migraines in that they are caused by a nasal obstruction that begins with a viral infection or allergy. True sinus headaches are typically accompanied by a range of cold and flu symptoms, including discolored mucous, a sore throat, and a cough.
But what some people don’t realize is that sinus headaches have certain triggers that can bring them on when you least expect them. Learn more about how allergies, seasonal changes, pressure changes, and other triggers affect the body and can cause painful sinus headaches.
Allergies and Sinus Headaches
Some sinus headaches are associated with allergies, and these ones are generally accompanied by symptoms like nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. Allergies and sinus problems are a common cause of headaches. Hay fever, also known as rhinitis, is believed to be caused by a sinus condition inside and around the nasal passages. Chronic rhinosinusitis may lead to headaches because of the consistent blockage of the nasal passages.
When the body experiences allergies, it is projecting a natural response to a substance that is irritating it. When the body develops antogens against a particular substance, it has an allergic reaction, and repeated exposure may increase the reaction’s severity. There are many different types of allergies, so it’s important to get tested by a physician to determine the cause.
Pressure Changes and Sinus Headaches
Changes in atmospheric pressure can trigger sinus headaches, especially when flying in an airplane or traveling somewhere with high elevation. Barometric pressure equals the weight of the atmospheric pressure that presses on a particular place. This changes constantly as the weather shifts, which can be painful for chronic sinus headache sufferers.
When the body experiences changes in atmospheric pressure, it feels pressure different in joints and muscles. Some body parts, like skin, adjust easily, but other parts, including ears, may take some time to adjust. Both headaches and joint pain are more common when the pressure is high, and that popping sensation that is felt in the ears is the body trying to equalize that pressure.
Seasonal Changes and Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches have a seasonal component to them, and headaches are often more common when the temperature cools off. When the body experiences temperature and humidity changes, it can snap into protective mode to defend itself against environmental stressors. This can cause headaches and make sinus headaches worse. Storms, very dry conditions, and dusty environments may have an impact as well.
This phenomenon is due, in part, to barometric pressure changes, but also because of internal circadian rhythm. When the clocks turn back in the fall, this change of sleep pattern is known to make certain types of headaches worse. Even just an hour of change can make a big difference inside the body.
Preventing Triggers and Treating Symptoms
Obviously, the best measures to take to prevent the onset of sinus headaches is to avoid these triggers and to live a healthy lifestyle. But it’s not always possible to avoid these types of conditions and other triggers, such as chemical toxins in the environment. To make matters worse, in some people, certain foods are also believed to trigger sinus headaches. These include foods and drinks with high amounts of caffeine, MSG, and aspartame.
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