December 20, 2012

15 Ways to Combat a Sinus Headache.

Sinus headaches can be painful.

They’re caused by swollen and inflamed sinus membranes, which create pressure around eyes and cheeks. My heartbeat pulses in my teeth and gums and I can’t see straight if I’m hit by an especially wicked one. Even a slight sinus headache can be annoying.

Recently, I had “a wicked one” and posted this to my facebook wall:

Sinus headaches suck. I’ve tried the neti pot. DIY accupressure. Fresh air.

Thanks for listening.

Not only did my friends respond, I received a blizzard of “cures” and wanted to share them with you here.

  1. “Ibuprofen.” I don’t like to take medicine unless absolutely necessary. In this case, it made sense since a) ibuprofen is supposed to reduce inflammation and b) I had been suffering too long. Of course I could have eaten a pineapple or found another natural anti-inflammatory something-or-other, but I didn’t really feel like venturing out to the store. My husband’s medicine cabinet is equipped with a Costco size bottle of the stuff (we’re a family of three, so I doubt we’ll use it all—feel free to call if you’d like a few tablets). *Note: It didn’t really help.
  2. “Try a glass of rich, red Cabernet, a little Nat King Cole, and dream about all the things that make you happy. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll send Deepak Chopra over.” I didn’t have any Cabernet, so I requested Deepak. He never showed up. Thanks for the suggestion anyway, Francesca. P.S. was Deepak busy that day?
  3. “Echinacea and goldenseal are what I always reach for first, and very often I don’t need anything else. If it’s a mold issue, I might need astragulus, too.” I had none of that in the house, but it’s on my list for next time.
  4. “I do a bowl of steaming hot water and a towel over my head. Over and over and over. Facial steam. Helps tons.” I tried this. Over and over. Probably offered a bit of relief.
  5. “Epsom salt bath… neck massage.” Someone else suggested I add eucalyptus oil to the salt bath. I didn’t make time for the bath and massaging my neck was a bit challenging since both hands were at work on the computer keyboard.
  6. Ginger and chamomile.” Didn’t have it at the time.
  7. “If you have Vicks, put it under and on the bridge of your nose. On the bottoms of your feet will help you sleep. Nobody ever believes that, until they try it.” Not a big fan of Vicks, but had I gotten desperate enough, I might have gone there.
  8. Sriracha…eaten, not in the Neti Pot.
  9. Ginger tea. The stronger the headache, the more ginger (freshly grated). A few drops of feverfew tincture in netti pot. And, masssage therapist trained in myofascial release!” Massage, please!
  10. Spicy food helps, at least temporarily. I used to make jalapeño soup when I was badly stuffed up.
  11. Fresh dug hammered horseradish.” That wasn’t going to happen.
  12. The only thing that works for me is the heating pad on my face.”
  13. “Warm moist towel.”
  14. Let hot water in the shower beat on your face….really…also, a few times a day, breathe steam with a towel over your head…follow with 1000 mg of vitamin C and a zinc gluconate tablet.”
  15. My own find: organic apple cider vinegar. I read about how it can stop the histamine response and that it’s better to take at the first signs of a headache. Thankfully, my friend had some on hand and I took a couple shots. It was—how shall I put this?—f*cking nasty.

My sinus headache finally went away one day. But, out of all the remedies I tried, I’m not sure which one worked. Quite possibly, it was simply the passage of time that made it disappear.

Do you have any sinus headache remedies not listed here? Please leave them in the comments section below so I’m prepared for the next one that hits.

* Note: I am not a physician, nor do I play one on TV. The 15 suggestions above are merely that—suggestions.

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