Persistent Sinus Headaches – What Could Cause This

sinus headache

Sinus headaches are one of the most common and annoying types of headaches. They come in many different forms, but they all generally have the same cause: inflammation or infection of your sinuses. Sinus infections occurs when your nasal passages become blocked with mucous. The blockage prevents proper drainage from the sinuses and causes a build-up of bacteria that makes you feel like you’re constantly congested. As the bacteria multiply in the tiny spaces between cells, it irritates nearby tissues and inflames them. This irritation produces pain and pressure within your head.

The most common symptoms of a sinus infection include a stuffy nose, facial pain, and congestion. These symptoms may be accompanied by fever, fatigue, and cough. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than 4 days, seek medical attention immediately, as sinus infections can lead to serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, and meningitis. Here are the causes of persistent sinus headaches:

Viral infection

Viruses are responsible for about 90 percent of colds and flu cases. Rhinovirus (the “common cold”) is often associated with sinus infections. However, this virus isn’t typically what causes the classic cold symptoms (fever, sore throat, runny nose) that people associate with the virus. Instead, rhinovirus usually manifests through coughing, sneezing, and general malaise. It’s also possible for the virus to spread directly into the frontal lobes of the brain, causing severe headaches.

This type of viral infection commonly lasts 3-5 days, during which time you will likely feel worse before feeling better. Most patients recover over the course of 2 weeks. For some people, however, the initial symptoms persist longer than 5 days.


Allergic reactions will always affect your body differently depending on who you are, where you live, and how much pollen or other allergens are around. For example, if you live in an area with lots of ragweed plants, you could develop an allergic reaction whenever you breathe in a breath of air. At first, your respiratory system will try to fight off the allergen, but over time, it will wear out, and so will your immune system. Unfortunately, when it comes to allergies, the effects can linger long after the initial symptoms disappear. That’s why it’s best to get treatment soon after the allergic reaction begins.

Fungal infection

Fungi don’t belong inside our bodies, yet we are exposed to fungi daily. Some of these exposures are harmless and don’t pose a problem at all. Others, however, can trigger fungal infections inside your sinuses. Fungi are a part of our environment just waiting to take advantage of the opportunity presented by a sick person, which is exactly what happens when your sinuses start to swell up. Once your sinuses swell up, it becomes harder and harder for your body to clear the debris out of your sinuses. Eventually, the buildup gets too big, and your body sends white blood cells out to clean everything up. While cleaning things out, the fungus grows and multiplies inside your sinuses. When your white blood cells finish their job, you begin experiencing excruciating sinus pressure and swelling.


The most obvious way that trauma can cause sinus headaches is through injury. You may have a concussion if you injure yourself (or someone else) while playing sports or engaging in other activities. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury when the brain is hit forcefully against the skull. Most people recover quite quickly from a mild concussion, but those with more serious injuries may need to see a doctor immediately. As far as sinus headaches go, a concussion would qualify as a traumatic event because the force involved was enough to dislodge bone fragments within the sinuses. With a sinus fracture, the bones of the sinuses become displaced and compressed, which can lead to acute sinusitis. These types of fractures usually result from motor vehicle accidents or falls.


When something irritates your nose, sometimes the irritation causes small amounts of fluid to leak into your sinuses. Once this happens, the fluids start to build up inside your sinuses until you eventually start getting symptoms like runny noses and congestion. While having a little bit of mucous in your sinuses isn’t necessarily bad, once your sinuses start filling up with excess fluid, it becomes difficult for them to drain properly. As a result, the inflammation continues, and the swelling spreads throughout your face and neck. When that happens, your jaw muscle tightens up because it doesn’t want to allow anything extra to enter your mouth. The muscles in your cheek also tighten up to prevent any additional swelling from entering your eyes.

Seasonal allergies

If you have seasonal allergies, then there’s a good chance that you know how they feel. Your nose starts to itch and run, making it hard to smell anything or eat without gagging. You might even have trouble sleeping because of the constant itching. Luckily, most cases of seasonal allergies aren’t severe enough to warrant medical attention. However, some people do experience allergic rhinitis and chronic rhinosinusitis. When you have seasonal allergies, the nasal passages become irritated because your immune system reacts to the surrounding pollen. Over time, pollen and dust particles make their way into your lungs. In turn, your immune system tries to keep them out, but once again, it wears down over time. Eventually, your immune system stops fighting so much, and your body gives up on trying to expel the allergens. At this point, your sinuses are filled with thick mucous, and the inflammation has reached a critical mass. The situation could worsen without proper treatment and develop into a full-fledged case of chronic rhinosinusitis or an infection.


Many factors can contribute to your sinus headaches, including respiratory infections, allergies, stress, trauma, and a host of others. You don’t need us to tell you that you should take better care of your health; however, it will help if you come up with a plan for treating your sinus problems. The best way to alleviate your sinus pain is by seeing a specialist who specializes in sinus disease and will be able to identify the root cause of your problem and treat it accordingly.

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