sinus-headacheAre you the type of person that gets severe reoccurring headaches? Are your headaches typically located in the cheeks, forehead, or between the eyes? Do you know if they are related to sinus problems? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. This is one of the biggest problems my patients report when they come to see me. And they are always happy to hear there is an answer to controlling their headache problem.

First you must understand what a sinus headache is. The pain is a reaction caused by the build-up of mucus that puts pressure on the sinuses triggering your headache. The mucus builds up for one of two reasons. First, buildup occurs because an allergic reaction causes the nasal cavities to swell thereby blocking the sinuses or secondly, an immune reaction causes polyps to form that then restrict mucus flow. You should also know that for some people sinus headaches can be triggered by barometric pressure changes.

The immune reaction is caused by contact with environmental allergens; dust, weed, grass and trees pollen are the most common. These are also known as immediate allergies because of the type of test that is used to identify them – an IgE test. The body responds to contact with these allergens, causing elevated IgE antibodies. A blood or skin test will show the immediate reaction to the antigen. These allergies can be controlled by antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids thereby eliminating the source of your headache.

There is an environmental allergen that does NOT show up in the immediate test, and is not treatable the same way IgE allergens are. That allergen is mold. It is a delayed reaction allergen that is tested for by looking for the IgG antibody. It takes up to 3 days for the IgG test to render results, thus delayed. Since normal allergy treatments do not work for this antigen, you need to use another method for getting ahead of your headaches.

The single most effective and quickest method to stop mold allergy symptoms is to remove the antigen by washing out the nose with saline and an antifungal product several times per day. I recommend NOT using a “Nettie Pot” as it can force the water through the Eustachian tube into the inner ear. You should try a squeeze bottle type irrigator like NasoPure or a powered wash system such as Grossan Hydro Pulse. By removing the antigen, your body will have a chance to heal itself and eliminate the swelling that is causing your headaches.

Sometimes cleansing your body of mold is simply not enough. If you are living in an environment where there are a lot of environmental allergens, lowering your air load is key to regaining your health. Running high quality HEPA filters is a good first step to take. When mold is present you may need some specialized cleaners to clean the air. Remember if you are washing your nose out a few minutes a day, but breathing in the problem 24-hours a day you will never get ahead of it.

If you will take steps to gain control over the antigen that is causing your headaches, you can gain long term control over the problem. To learn more about allergies and how to deal with them visit our website at