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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
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Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Headaches and Facial Pain

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Overview

Headaches and facial pain can occur for many different reasons and, in many cases, sinus problems are actually not the cause. Sometimes patients mistake migraine headaches for sinus-related pain because nasal congestion and facial pressure can be a secondary symptom of migraines. Patients with migraines suffer from severe headaches/facial pain, in addition to nausea or sensitivity to light and/or sound. These symptoms can often help differentiate migraines from true sinus problems.

Other sources of facial pain include dental problems or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), where the joint of the jaw is inflamed and causes pain that usually begins around the ear and radiates to the face.

To know for sure what is causing your facial pain, a specialist is recommended. Our physicians can help you determine the root cause of your pain.

3Common Symptoms

  • Pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck
  • Sensation of tightness or pressure across your forehead
  • Pounding, throbbing pain in the face, especially sinuses

Diagnosis and Treatment

A nasal endoscopic examination looking for evidence of chronic inflammation or a sinus CT scan may be ordered to fully diagnose sinus-related facial pain/headaches. Sinus problems that cause facial pain and headaches vary from chronic rhinosinusitis to nasal polyps or tumors.

Treatment is targeted to the underlying disorder that is causing the facial pain or headaches. If it is sinus disease, your doctor will talk to you about medications or surgery that may be indicated. If your facial pain or headaches appear to be related to migraines or dental/TMJ problems, you may be referred to a neurologist or dentist.

Meet Our Team

Our Sinus Center is comprised of surgeons and supportive staff specially trained to care for your sinuses and related nasal disorders.


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