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
- 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.
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