Skip to main content
Read about

Sinus Headache

Tooltip Icon.
Last updated January 30, 2024

Personalized sinus headache treatment

Get virtual care from a licensed clinician today

Get treated today

Sinus headache quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your ache.

Take sinus headache quiz

What is a sinus headache?

Sinus headache, also called sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is caused by either a bacterial or a viral infection of the sinuses (open spaces) behind the eyes and nose. When compared to a normal headache, this pain is generally around the eyes, sinuses, and upper cheeks.

Sinus headaches are often mistaken for tension headaches but sinus headaches are usually triggered by allergies. A self-diagnosed "sinus headache" very often turns out to be a migraine headache with a few sinus symptoms. This requires very different treatment from an actual sinus headache, and is an important reason to see a medical provider about any sort of ongoing headaches.


  • Headache
  • Headache that worsens when head moves
  • Facial fullness or pressure
  • Mucus dripping in the back of the throat
  • Pain or pressure over the sinus areas of the face.
  • Fever
  • Thick nasal discharge, which may be clear, white, greenish or yellowish
  • Some loss of sense of smell
  • Bad breath


You should see a doctor if you have a sinus headache, especially if the pain is intense, not getting better, or you have a fever. A doctor will diagnose you through a patient history, physical examination, and possible imaging tests to look for changes in the sinuses.

If your sinus headache is caused by a bacterial infection (sinusitis), you will be given a prescription for an antibiotic. If it’s caused by a viral infection, the symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and alternating hot and cold compresses.

Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
Sinus headaches and sinus infection treatment - Online visit
Get virtual care from a licensed clinician—no appointment needed
Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
  • $29 one-time assessment
  • No video call or appointment necessary
  • Personalized treatment plan prescribed for your condition

Ready to treat your sinus headache?

We show you only the best treatments for your condition and symptoms—all vetted by our medical team. And when you’re not sure what’s wrong, Buoy can guide you in the right direction.See all treatment options
Illustration of two people discussing treatment.
Share your story
Once your story receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.
The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
Read full bio

Was this article helpful?

3 people found this helpful
Tooltip Icon.