Relieving sinus pain can often seem like an impossible task. Allergies, colds, and flu bugs are frequently the cause of sinus pressure known as sinusitis – inflammation that occurs as a result of an infection. Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. In acute sinusitis, symptoms develop rapidly and last for about a month or two. In chronic sinusitis, the condition persists for at least three months and it can linger for far longer.
The sinuses of the head are eight small hollow cavities within the bones of the face. According to the UCLA Health System, within these sinuses lie mucus membranes which are susceptible to inflammation. When these membranes become infected or otherwise irritated, it causes sinus pressure, tenderness, congestion, and a runny nose. To relieve sinus pain, treatments are aimed at curing any infections that may be present, reducing sinus inflammation, and relieving congestion.
Increasing exposure to warm and humid air can help to relieve sinus pain. This is because dryness further irritates the sinuses and thickens mucus. A number of steps can be taken to help remedy this. Applying a warm damp cloth to the face a few times a day and taking a hot shower and breathing in the steamy air can help to relieve sinus pain. Using a humidifier at night to increase the moisture in the air can also be effective at relieving sinus pressure. Staying well hydrated can also help to prevent further irritation.
One natural cure to relieve sinus pain is to use a Neti pot to cleanse the nasal cavity. A Neti pot is a small pot which is used to rinse the nasal passages, clean them out, and keep them moisturized. A solution of salt and warm water is combined, then run into one nostril, through the nasal cavity, and out the other nostril. Daily use of a Neti pot can be effective at relieving sinus pressure by moisturizing the interior of the nose and preventing mucus from thickening.
Nasal spray decongestants can be effective at providing temporary sinus pain relief. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, extended use of nasal sprays can actually be counterproductive. Use of nasal sprays for more than a few days may exacerbate sinus pressure and congestion actually making the condition worse and more persistent. Over-the-counter antihistamines can also be counterproductive to relieving sinus pressure as they can cause dryness in the mouth and nose, allowing mucus to thicken.
In cases of extended or particularly severe sinus infections, antibiotics are often prescribed to relieve sinus pain and any accompanying symptoms like fever, headache, and swelling. According to the UK National Health Service, about one-third of sinusitis cases need to be treated with antibiotics.
Sinus pain relief can be accomplished by keeping the airways moisturized, using a Neti pot, keeping use of decongestants to a minimum, and taking antibiotics in cases of severe sinusitis. Any questions or concerns about sinus pain relief should be directed to a physician.
Sinusitis. National Health Service.
Sinusitis. National Institutes of Health
Sinusitis. UCLA Health System.