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Sinus Headache

Sinus Headache Overview

A sinus headache is the result of a build-up of pressure within the sinuses of the skull. The sinuses are cavities or pockets within the bones of the skull. In addition to contributing to the strength and stability of the skull, the sinuses help to humidify and filter air. The sinuses are named according to their location in the skull bones:

  • The frontal sinuses are located over the forehead, above the eyes on both sides.
  • The maxillary sinuses are located over the cheek area, in the bone known as the maxilla located under the eyes on both sides of the face.
  • The ethmoid sinuses are located in the bone that divides the eyes and nose.
  • The sphenoid sinuses are located in the sphenoid bone at the center of the skull, behind the eyes.

The sinuses are lined by mucous membranes that secrete fluid and are connected to the nasal cavity by small channels or ducts. The sinuses are sometimes collectively referred to as the paranasal sinuses because of their proximity to the nose.

Inflammation due to any cause (most likely due to irritation or infection) can cause a buildup of fluid and increased pressure within the sinuses, giving rise to the typical symptoms of a sinus headache.

Picture of the Sinuses
Picture of the Sinuses
Picture of the Sinuses
Picture of the Sinuses
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2014

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