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Sinus Headache Relief: Natural Cures

Last Modified on Nov 20, 2015

Get Rid of a Sinus Pressure Headache Naturally

Sinus blockages can result in incredibly painful sinus headaches and traditional meds may provide only temporary sinus headache relief. However, holistic treatments can get to the true cause of your sinus headache, bring pain relief, and cure the cycle of sinus infections and headaches.

Many times, what you think of or even what your doctor diagnoses as a sinus headache is in fact a migraine or tension headache.1 So what is a sinus headache? The symptoms that particularly characterize sinus headaches include significant pain in the front of the head, the cheeks, and at the bridge of the nose. This pain will worsen if you bend down or move your head quickly. A stuffy nose and yellow-green or even red mucus discharge may also be present. Additionally, a sinus headache will most likely occur around the time of a cold, the flu, or another infection that will have caused the mucus blockage in the sinus cavities (and it is this that typically indicates a sinus headache diagnosis rather than migraine.)

Find a Folk Cure for Sinus Headaches

You have many options in home remedies for sinus headache symptoms. To start, use a humidifier and/or steam treatments to moisturize your nasal passages. Saline nasal sprays may help improve sinus drainage. Warm compresses over the sinuses can relieve pain and pressure. Apple cider vinegar, natural pain relievers, and aromatherapy such as with peppermint oil may help open up the sinuses, kill off an infection, or simply relieve sinus headache pain. Oner herbal remedy you may want to consider is feverfew, a plant that has some documented support as to its effectiveness for headache in general and sinus headaches particularly.2

1 Cady RK, Schreiber CP. Sinus headache or migraine? Considerations in making a differential diagnosis. Neurology. 2002;58(9 Suppl 6):S10-S14.
2 Guo R, Canter PH, Ernst E. Herbal medicines for the treatment of rhinosinusitis: a systematic review. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Oct;135(4):496-506. Review.

Also check out these related sections of Earth Clinic's Folk Medicine library:
Sinus Infection Cures and Natural Remedies
Sinus Congestion Remedies
The Connection Between Sinus Infections and Ice Cream!
Cures for Chronic Sinusitis

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Most Popular Sinus Headache Remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar6
Tomato Tea3

User Reviews

Air Conditioners and Sinus Headache
  User Ratings

Posted by Michelle (Nc, Us) on 07/12/2011

You are likely actually suffering from migraines if you get a what feels like a "sinus headache" from A/C blowing on you.

There are estimates that many "sinus headaches" are actually migraines. This was the case with me. I had years of sinus infections, but after my migraines began and I started treating them (with prescription triptan class migraine meds), I began paying more attention to possible migraine triggers and realized that the "sinus headaches" I got whenever A/C was blowing on my head/face were actually migraines. I had only slight improvement when trying methods to help sinus congestion/irritation, but these headaches did respond very well to migraine meds.

I still have sinus issues and agree that A/C will irritate sinuses by drying them out, so repeated exposure to A/C blowing on you would most likely lead to sinus problems, but if you get a "sinus headache" directly after A/C is blowing on you, then you may want to look into a migraine treatment.

I was skeptical at first because they really feel like sinus headaches to me, but the response to migraine meds (not sinus treatments) for these specific headaches convinced me that they were migraines instead.

Apple Cider Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Lisa (Sydney) on 09/18/2014

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  I have suffered from ear aches since I was a child. I have seen ear specialists doctors and basically no one cared or even said anything was wrong. I self-diagnosed myself with sinusitis as an adult but when I asked doctors what I can do for the ear pain they basically recommend Zyrtec and nasal sprays. These help sneezing but never my ear ache. The only thing that gave me temporally relief from the ear pain was ear candling. However that is expensive and usually only helps for about one hour. I started researching cures for sinus and came across ACV (Apple cider Vinger) OMG I cannot tell you how much this has helped with the ear ache I have been taking it with warm water twice a day for 3 days now (two caps full) I am allergic to honey so I can only have it on its own and wow I can actually feel the ache leaving me. If you have a sinus ache try this treatment. I am not sure how good it is for arthritis weight loss and skin etc. but for sinus ache and especially the ear it is amazing.

Replied by Anna S
Woodridge, Il

[YEA]   Thank you for the post, I just used the apple cider vinegar and I can feel an immediate difference. I have drainage problems for almost 2 years. My ear, nose & throat are not affected. I almost feel like normal after this and I just used it a few minutes ago. I do have a bad back and wonder if this was the problem.

Posted by Amy (Atlanta, Ga) on 10/28/2011

[YEA]  Thank you all so much. I have been dealing with a splitting sinus headache all day. I haven't been "sick", but my sinuses have been blocked all day. I tried apple cider vinegar, honey and water and now within 10 min my nose is already remarkably better and my head is 50 percent better. So happy to have found this site!!

Posted by Kate (Morro Bay, Ca) on 04/22/2011

I've had a sinus headache for four days, so far. I was so desperate I'd try just about anything for relief. Nothing was working. I was really skeptical about this one, but what the heck. Why does something so nasty tasting have to work? Why couldn't ice cream work instead? I gagged it down with honey mixed in to make it less awful. My only disappointment is that it's not a cure, so I'll probably have to do it again. But, damn... Apparently it works!

Posted by P. (Atlanta, Ga, Usa) on 04/07/2011

It works! Thank you so much for posting this solution here. I was in such pain all day from a horrible sinus headache. I could not breathe out of either nostril. I tried everything I could think of to alleviate the congestion so that I could breathe and sleep. I read about the cure here and took 8 oz water plus 2 tbspn of ACV and within an hour, I could breathe. Plus it took away the feeling of nausea. I would highly recommend this to anyone who suffers from these types of headaches.

Posted by Arlene (Meredosia, Il.) on 01/05/2010

[YEA]  I just realized after two weeks of acv, not only all of my sinus problems are gone, but the muscle aches that accompanied it. I didn't realize that that was what was causing the pain all over my body until someone mentioned it on this site. My husband and I have been miserable with the sinus headaches, congestion etc., but we attributed the aches and pains to arthritis. We are in our 70's so it was logical. It wasn't arthritis at all it was the sinus infection. I feel 100% better.

Posted by VancouverBoy (Vancouver, BC) on 04/19/2009

[YEA]  Sinus Headache and Apple Cider Vinegar:

I am in the movie industry. The other night we were shooting on a closed airtight stage, about a 9000 sqft stage. Inside the stage we had created a small forest Real Trees plants moss, dirt. We then added smoke (mineral oil smoke) constantly into the air to create a foggy look. I spent appx 10 hours on the stage. Taking 5-10 breaks every hour or so. Anyway. after shooting for one day my sinuses were shot. I had a sinus headache, behind my left eye, then jumped to my right, I tried the accupressure point system, I sat in a steam room, I did the neti pot deal. but the headache would not go away. It just left for the moments of the remedies treid. This went on for the entire weekend. I was suffering until I found this website. I hate using prescribed man made medicines. I mixed about 4 tablespoons of ACV in with 8oz of warm water. Drank it straight down, then put a teaspoon of the ACV under my tongue and held it there for as long as possible (about 10 minutes). My stomach immediately got a little upset, then calmed down. I am actually hearing the sounds of drainage in my head. Slowly it seems to be clearing. I hope it works for you guys.

Posted by Kathy (Edgewater, FL) on 07/26/2008

[YEA]  I have had a sinus headache for 2 days. i have taken sinus medicine over the cunter and lots of aspirin. nothing has worked. i found this web site, i took 2 tbls acv in 8 oz of water, put the pot on the stove, heated the water till it boiled and took it off and breathd it in with a towel around the pot for 15 minutes. my headace is gone now. i also drank 2 tbls in 8 oz water with zylitol sugar and lemon, it was not bad. hope the pain stays away. i am worn out from dealing with it.

Posted by Jeff (Antigo, WI)

[YEA]  I was skeptical to try this (apple cider vinegar). But I did after the first signs of a sinus headache and pressure. That was last nite and this morning the headache was gone and my sinuses are draining very easily now. i would recomend this to anyone with a sinus cold.

Replied by Pam
Austin, Tx

how much AVC did you take and do you take it alone or with a 8 oz glass of water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Nasal Rinse
  User Ratings

Posted by Claudia (Great Barrington, Ma) on 04/24/2015

[YEA]  This week I had intense sinus pressure/headache from tree pollen. I tried drinking apple cider vinegar, but it made my headache worse almost immediately. I then read posts on EC in the sinus infection section about putting a teaspoon of ACV in a neti pot filled with warm, distilled water and rinsing the sinuses. I did this and felt so much better 10 minutes later! I hope everyone tries this. I have used a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in a neti pot before and gotten good results, but I think I prefer the ACV. It was milder and had an immediate effect!

Replied by Andrew

Rubbing a 50% solution of DMSO and water to the temples and face over the sinus passages I have found gives relief in 5 minutes for the sinus headache, keep reapplying every 10 minutes until relief comes for more severe headaches. Nettle Tea and Turmeric work well against the pollen allergy. I mix 1 teaspoon of Turmeric in a little milk and add 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper for better absortion and drink 3 to 4 cups of Nettle Tea a day.

Bee Pollen
  User Ratings

Posted by Ruth (San Francisco Bay Area, California) on 05/24/2014

[YEA]  I tried Bee Pollen at the Wednesday Farmer's Market. I liked it, so I went back today to buy it. I came home and once again I started to feel a really bad sinus headache coming on. In fact, I felt it coming on last night, filling my sinus cavities with pain.

I went upstairs after today's farmer's market to lie down due to the pain of a Sinus Headache and I asked my husband to bring up the bee pollen and a spoon. So he did, now I feel pretty good. The relief is almost instant.

CAUTION: on the allergy page, people put a caution saying that you have to work yourself up to having more of this stuff. Worth it to read the Allergy page here at Earth Clinic for the bee pollen caution.

  User Ratings

Posted by Kay (Destin, Fl) on 05/17/2013

[YEA]  Instead of snorting cayenne; I use the age old Mexican remedy of coating the tip of your tongue in cayenne/red pepper for a few minutes. Instantly my mouth starts drooling/draining, so I do it over the sink (or keep tissues ready); with a minute or so my sinuses are running as well, and soon the headache subsides. Since I get sinus pressure/headaches often, I collect the little packets of "crushed red peppers" from the Pizza Parlor, to keep in my purse, desk, car, medicine cabinet, briefcase; they make this remedy "portable" and very handy, just stick your tongue in the lettle packet then wait for relief!

Posted by Pat (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire U.K.) on 04/07/2009

[YEA]  Cayenne Pepper cured my Sinus Headache. Like everybody else I was looking for a simple safe remedy to cure by Sinus headache. I found this site and decided to give the cayenne pepper a try. IT HURT! Do follow what the others on here have said and use only the very smallest amount to sniff up. My Nose felt like it was on fire but within 10 minutes the headache had gone. Thank you so much all who post on this site, it is such a help. Headache gone and I can breathe easily now, sad to say I am at present left with the dreaded drip effect so am now looking on here for something that will rid me of that.

Replied by Merryweather
Stuttgart, Germany

Hi Pat in Nottinghamshire, fellow Brit here (I grew up near Nottm in fact). I have also suffered from recurring sinusitis, until recently, when I last got a cold it didn't affect my sinuses half so badly. I put this down to a number of possibilities which you might like to try: virgin coconut oil - either a couple of teaspoons a day, straight off the spoon, if you can hack it, or in your tea or coffee, which could help because, according to one source I read, most sinus infections are in fact fungal in origin. VCO is anti-fungal so that maybe helped. I have also been taking probiotics regularly, which may have also helped for all I know! The other thing that may have helped is that I have been taking unpasteurized ___ apple cider vinegar. I take it with raw honey, two to three times a day before food, about 30-50ml. Anyway, you might like to try the VCO first - I even actually "snorted" it once in my desperation, which actually did help!

Good luck!
merryweather in Germany

Fresh Ginger Root
  User Ratings

Posted by Jeri (Charleston, Wv) on 10/22/2015

[YEA]  Regarding Ginger Root- I have found it to be excellent in opening sinuses. I drink a cup in the morning and evening. Cut thumb size piece of fresh ginger root into slices, in small tea cup, add water, microwave until just boiling. Let sit for a while; the longer the stronger the tea. Add small tsp. honey. Delicious, peppery. Lowers blood pressure also.

Have read that too much can thin the blood so be careful is on prescription blood thinners. Also have read warnings regarding gallbladder problems, if you suffer this already.

Posted by Mrs. E (Santa Rosa, Ca) on 10/17/2009

[YEA]  Ginger for a Sinus Headache: I don't have fresh ginger root, I have ginger in a tube. I figured, I'll try it with the ginger that I have. I put in about 1 very large tablespoon or more of ginger into a 6 or 8 oz glass, then boiled up 1 cup of water. I added some organic honey. I wasn't expecting this to work, but it worked almost immediately!

I would say it's not quite what you would get from Ibuprofen, or sudafed, but very very close, and it will take the pain away, and it's natural! I am sick of taking ibuprofen for my sinus headaches. They WORK, but, if this method works for me I would rather go this route. I have had sinus headaches for years. The pain is unbearable. It's been 20 mins since I tried it. I will keep this window open and continue to monitor if it's working or not. Ok it has been an hour. I definitely DO feel better. I would say it's worth it to do.