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Sinus Headaches a Pain for Many

For people with spring and summer allergies, 'tis the season for the sniffles and sneezes, and for many, sinus headaches.

Dr. Emily Senay spoke with the Early Show May 23 about some of the causes of and cures for chronic headache pain, including sinus headaches.

"People always ask me, what are the sinuses for?" Senay says. The sinuses are mucous membrane-lined cavities within the bones surrounding the nose.

Although no one is exactly sure why people have sinuses, Senay says it is believed they serve a dual role. While the absence of bone makes the head less heavy, sinuses also help the voice resonate.

The causes of most sinus headaches are either allergies or infection, Senay says. If you suffer from chronic headaches, it is a good idea to see a doctor and rule out the possibility that the pain is migraines. "You have to be really careful that you get the right diagnosis so you get the right treatment," she says.

There are many treatments for sinus headaches and the other symptoms that accompany allergies and sinus infections, including over-the-counter medications. Senay says people should not take decongestants for more than three days, however.

On the May 24 Early Show, Senay will talk about migraines.

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