My Favorite Sinus Headache Remedies

Has anyone else noticed that it is allergy season?? It's been kind of obvious, hasn't it?? I've heard that the authorities in my neck of the woods are saying that the pollen and other allergens are at the highest levels that they have been in 10 years. I know that I have definitely realized there is something in the air…!

Do you suffer from headaches? Check out my favorite sinus headache remedies -- they really do help!The way I manifest allergies is by getting sinus congestion. It is not always noticeable as a runny nose or pressure, though. For me, congestion often takes the form of a sinus headache, where the back of my head, right where it meets my neck, is throbbing to beat the band, and I wish I could gouge out one or both of my eyes…

Over the years I have tried many sinus headache remedies. The list below includes my favorites.  And I haven't really settled on just one, because it depends a lot on circumstances which one I will use. All of them are cheap and easy, which you oughta know by now is the way I roll. :-) That means I can use them singly or in combination and not be frustrated from spending a lot of money or taking a lot of time or effort to get relief.

Standard caveat: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. These are the things I do to relieve my headaches.  You are an adult and can decide for yourself if you want to try these things or not.

 

Tried and True Sinus Headache Remedies

(The first few include over-the-counter medicines; if you prefer alternative remedies, you can skip further down.)

1) Two acetaminophen (Tylenol or equivalent) and a 1/2-cup of coffee. My friend works as a pharmacist at a hospital, and she says they often send a cup of coffee up to the patient when administering certain medications, because caffeine helps medicine get absorbed quicker and more thoroughly. I know that it makes a difference for me. Plus it helps me feel more alert, offsetting the grogginess from the headache. I don't like to take Excedrin, which is acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine, because for me the dosage of caffeine in Excedrin is way too high. It leaves me feeling jittery, which sometimes feels just as bad as the headache did in the first place.

2) Depending on how quickly I need relief, I may add a generic Sudafed (active ingredient: pseudoephedrine) to the above. I don't like to buy medicines that combine a bunch of different drugs; I like to buy the single ingredients and take them as needed. I don't always need the pseudoephedrine, so I only take it occasionally. I definitely don't take it if it is close to bedtime, because it will keep me up.

3) If the acetaminophen doesn't work and I need to be getting somewhere and being productive, then about an hour later I will take three ibuprofen. Unfortunately, over the years my body has become used to ibuprofen, so one or two will not have an effect on me. Sad but true… I never go over four tablets, though, because my understanding is that that is the amount that is in prescription ibuprofen.

4) Sometimes, either in combination with the drugs or without, I will make a steam treatment. This means just boiling some water in a pan, then adding several sprinkles of cayenne pepper, a couple squirts of apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil (if I have it). Then I put the pan of steaming water on the kitchen table and sit on a chair with a towel laying over my head. I drape the towel so that it goes around the pan, enclosing my face and head in a tent from which the steam does not escape. I tell you what, breathing that steam in will definitely get your nose running! And if you are able to breathe in deeply enough, through the nose, it should also help break up the congestion that is further back in your head. If you start to feel a river running down the back of your throat, you are making progress. Obviously it gets really hot under there, and I need to take a break often, taking my head out of the tent for a minute and then going back under again, until the steam is gone. This will often give me relief from the headache for awhile.

5) This one is gonna sound a little strange, but it has often worked for me. Sprinkle a little powdered cayenne pepper onto a plate. Then grab a q-tip and wet the end. Then roll the wet end of the q-tip into the cayenne pepper so that the cayenne pepper adheres to the q-tip end. You can experiment with how much cayenne pepper works for you; start small and work up. Here's the weird part: put the cayenne q-tip up into your nose, as far as you can get it comfortably, and wipe that cayenne pepper onto the inside surface of your nose. You also want to snort a little bit to get the cayenne up into your sinuses. Do one or both sides of your nose, depending on the severity of the headache and whether it is on both sides or just one. This one is noticeable, y'all. You will get a burn in your nose like nothin' else – but it will help clear the deep sinuses in a hurry! The burn does not last long, and in the meantime there is an ingredient in the cayenne pepper that also helps with pain relief, so you're getting a double whammy. Yup!

6) Another old standby is a VERY hot water bottle, placed right at the back of the neck where it hurts the most. I usually combine this with a foot massage from one of the kids, because the sensation of the foot massage distracts me from the pain in my head. It's good as a time-killer when I'm waiting for meds to kick in…

One time I asked the doctor for a prescription, because I had a suspicion (and still do) that these were migraine headaches, and I had heard from friends about migraine headache meds that were effective for them. Imagine my horror when I took the prescription to get filled and they wanted over $100 for 10 measly pills!! Needless to say I did not walk out of the store with that medicine. The above sinus headache remedies help me most of the time, and I refuse to become dependent on expensive prescriptions at this phase of my life.

Do you suffer from headaches?  What remedies have you found that work the best?

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4 thoughts on “My Favorite Sinus Headache Remedies”

  1. We will be trying that cayenne pepper trick at my house! Not sure if I’ll be able to convince my son (who gets the most headaches) to try it, but I definitely will. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We use most of those remedies. Tried and true for us are ibuprofen, drinking an Allergy Bomb: 3 drops each of lemon/lavender/peppermint oils mixed with a little warm water, swish in the shot glass and chug. Definitely helps, within seconds! If you’re in a pinch, put a couple drops of peppermint oil in your hands, rub them together and close your hands over your nose and mouth and BREATHE. Usually, within 2 minutes, the pressure eases up a lot! When I have a headache, I can’t tolerate heat or it will make my sinus headache that much worse and possibly trigger a migraine so I have to get a bag of ice and lay with it on the back of my neck, where it means the base of my brain. If it gets chronic enough, I’ll pull out my neti-pot and use it. The idea of it always freaked me out but I’ve avoided many sinus infections (I used to have them chronically) by doing a combination of these things. Thankful for the tips and support so we can minimize our suffering! :-)

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