How to Relieve a Sinus Headache Due to Sinus Pressure



How to Relieve a Sinus Headache Due to Sinus Pressure

 Ughh- your head hurts. Is it because your dog ate your herb garden (or tonight’s dinner left on the counter)?  Maybe you are listening to way too much news (that does it for me- my head is ready to eject off my shoulders!). Or too many chores to do or bills to pay. I’m getting my own headache just thinking about it.  

Or – maybe your headache isn’t because of any of those kinds of things. Maybe you have that headache because your sinuses are bothering you and creating that horrible pressure behind your eyes. If so, maybe you have a sinus headache. You might not want to run to a doctor just yet and you don’t want to start with over the counter remedies- expensive, might not work and might cause other issues. So what can you do? Well, by the time you finish this article, you will hopefully have some good ideas about what to do to give yourself some sinus headache relief.


 Some Basics About Your Sinuses

First, in order for you to try to address your sinus headache, you need some basic understanding of your sinuses.

The sinuses are a system of hollow cavities in your skull. Scientists have been debating the true function of the sinuses for years. Some believe they play a role in humidifying and filtering the air we breathe. They may also serve to lighten the bones of the skull and help enhance the voice. My wife reminds me often that my head is pretty empty- maybe I have really huge sinuses!  There are four main sinus areas: 


 Frontal Sinuses – This sinus group is located above the eyes.

Ethmoid sinuses – This sinus is located between the eyes and above the nose.

Maxillary sinuses – These sinuses rest in the front part of the cheekbones.

Sphenoid sinuses – This set of sinuses rest around the upper nasal bone and behind the eyes.

Why You Might Have a Sinus Headache?

Healthy sinuses are basically empty cavities with just a thin layer of mucus. Sinuses that become inflamed (from a cold, flu, or allergies, for example) produce mucus. This leads to congestion, which in turn causes facial pressure and pain. You might experience sinus pain in one or all four of the sinus locations. Many people suffering from congested sinuses sinusitis often have pain all over their face, regardless of which sinus is affected.

If your sinuses are causing you to have a headache, you are not alone. More than 35 million people in the United States suffer from pain resulting from sinus problems.  Few people find significant relief from the medications prescribed by family care physicians- sometimes surgery is required.  But normally the pressure you feel around your eyes, cheeks or forehead can be addressed in other ways. Of course, if matters get really bad, you need to see a doctor. In the meantime though, you might be able to obtain relief on your own. Here are some ways to do it.

Natural Approaches to Relief from Sinus Pain

Some natural approaches like steam, hot and cold compresses, eating spicy foods and even humming!  Check out those approaches in more detail at  This article also suggest some great approaches to sinus headache relief:

Massage for Sinus Headache Relief

In addition to the suggested natural remedies for relief from sinus headache pressures, I’d like to offer yet another approach to try:  self-massage.  Although not a lot of research has been done on sinus massage as a way to provide relief from headaches due to sinus pressure, there are two approaches for you to consider for sinus headache relief through self-massage. One is lymphatic self-drainage massage  and the other is pressure point massage.


  • For the first method, lymphatic self-drainage massage, we suggest you take a look at this site: and this video: both of which explain in detail how to use this method to relief sinus headaches and sinus headache pressure.
  • For the second approach, pressure point massage, there are those who believe that massaging the sinus areas is thought to help to relieve pressure in the sinuses, and therefore provide sinus pressure headache relief, by helping mucus to drain out of the sinus and reduce pressure caused by congestion. Gentle pressure from massage may also help by increasing blood circulation to the area.

There are two ways to accomplish the pressure point type of massage. One is a more general approach to your whole face and forehead. Here is how it works (courtesy of

Begin the massage on the forehead and cheeks with gentle circles using the index fingers on the forehead and thumbs on the cheeks. The motion continues as the hands work upward.

Locate the v-shaped notch between the eyebrows and use both thumbs to apply firm pressure for 10 full seconds. Release the pressure and repeat three times. Move the thumbs outward approximately 1 centimeter and reapply the pressure in this area in three repetitions.

Using the middle fingers, locate the bony indentation on each side of the nose. Apply gentle pressure here for ten seconds.

Use to fingers to apply gentle pressure to the top of the nose between the eyebrows. Immediately following this, move the same two fingers to the underside of the cheekbone for a count of ten.

Create small circles of movement along the jawbone from the ears to the center of the chin. Relax the facial muscles with deep stretches, or yawing. Repeat this 10 times.

For more details on this more general approach, we suggest you take a look at this video:


The second pressure point approach is more targeted to the specific areas that are causing discomfort. Here is what you should try:

Using the thumb or index fingers, the massage technique includes rubbing in a circular motion in each of the sinus areas (courtesy of

Frontal sinuses – Good massage pressure points extend from a point between the eyebrows into the middle of the brow. Place both index fingers in the center of the eyebrows and rub in a circular motion while moving away from the center, slightly upward and toward the temples. Repeat as necessary.

Ethmoid sinuses – The bridge of the nose is good the massage pressure area for these sinuses. Using the index fingers, apply gentle pressure against the sides of the bridge of the nose. Small circles should be made as the fingers work toward the top of the nose. Repeat as necessary.

Maxillary sinuses – Apply downward pressure on each cheek with the index fingers just outside the nostrils. Small circles should be made while moving the fingers along the cheek bones toward the ears. Repeat as necessary.

Sphenoid sinuses – Pressure points for massaging this sinus group are on the sides of the head in front of the ears and behind the earlobes. Start behind the earlobes with the index fingers and apply gentle pressure in an up and down motion on each side of the head. Repeat as necessary.


Check out this video for a good guide for this more specific approach:


Try these various methods several times a day and hopefully you will find some relief until the condition resolves. No sinus massage will cure or even provide permanent relief from congestion. But a self-massage of your sinuses should at least provide some temporary relief to get you over the hump! And of course, if you still are having problems, maybe it is time to call in the cavalry and consult a physician.


If (when) your fingers and thumbs get tired, there is still yet another way to find relief through self-massage- try the Gelliflex® Abacus®. It works for your hands, arms and elbows - but it also works for your head! Just array the soft balls on the frame so that they can target the various sinus pressure points, press the balls onto those pressure points and feel the relief flow! Adding balls adds weight to the Abacus- then all you have to do is load it up, lie back, place the balls on the sinus areas and let the weight push on the pressure points and do all the work! Check out the Abacus at