Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 23, 2014

Sinuses can be a pain in the head, not neck

Apr 01, 2013

HOUSTON, Texas — That troublesome headache might not be a migraine or brought on by tension. It could be caused by sinus trouble, said doctors at Baylor College of Medicine.

“The sinuses work to humidify and cleanse the air, lighten the weight of the skull, and provide resonance to the voice. Sometimes, the sinuses fail to function correctly, leading to sinus pain caused by an infection or nasal congestion,” said Dr. Mas Takashima, assistant professor of otolaryngology at BCM and director of the Baylor Sinus Center.

Sinus headaches usually occur along with congestion. Many things can cause sinus pressure and pain, such as sinus infections, nasal allergies, nasal polyps, septal deviations as well as enlarged vascular structures in the nose called turbinates.

“Sinus pain can also be exacerbated by the weather or even plane travel as the pressure changes in the air around you,” said Takashima.

Therapy is based on cleansing and decongesting the nose. This can be accomplished with something as simple as nasal irrigation using salt water. Steam, as found in a hot shower, may also provide decongestion and relief. If the problem is caused by infection then antibiotics are used. If it is allergy-related, allergy medications may be prescribed. Occasionally surgery is required to keep the passages open.

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