Your sinuses aren’t something you think much about—until they start causing pain or building up with pressure.
Common sinus pain issues can feel like a throbbing headache caused by constant facial pressure. Sinus pressure occurs when bacteria and inflammation cause the sinuses to swell and fill with thick mucus or fluid.1 Effectively treating and understanding the causes of sinus pain and pressure can also help avoid future episodes.
What Causes Sinus Pain and Pressure?
The sinuses produce mucus that flows freely to the upper part of the nose. Sinus pain occurs when the sinuses become inflamed with thick mucus that cannot drain properly. When this happens, it is easy for germs and bacteria to grow, causing your sinuses to swell. This leads to facial discomfort, pressure, and sinus pain.1
Sinus pain is usually due to irritation or the blockage of the sinus that develops into inflammation. This can occur with: 2
- Common cold: Increased mucus can allow blockages in the sinus.
- Allergic Rhinitis: Allergens—like pollen or dust mites—can cause swelling in the nasal passageways due to sneezing and a runny nose
- Nasal polyps: a form of tissue growth that can block the nasal passageways and cause inflammation
- Deviated nasal septum: a crooked septum where the sinus passageways are blocked or restricted
Symptoms of Sinus Pain and Pressure
Sinus pain and pressure can range from mildly uncomfortable pressure to painful headaches. Often, sinus discomfort will start out by resembling the symptoms of a common cold. This can linger into more intense sinus pain symptoms such as:4, 7
- Headaches behind the eyes or around the nose
- Pain behind the cheeks
- Pressure behind or around the nose
- Feeling stuffed
- Runny nose (nasal drip may cause sore throat)
- Nasal inflammation clogging the nose
- Migraines caused by sinus headaches
Consult your local healthcare practitioner if you are unsure about your sinus pain symptoms. Differentiating the symptoms is key to treating the respiratory illnesses effectively.
Reducing Risk of Sinus Pain and Pressure
There is no sure-fire way to avoid sinus issues. However, if you know what causes your sinus pain, you can avoid or reduce its risk by making small changes in your daily routine. For example, if your sinuses flare up in the summer when allergens are most aggressive, consider spending more time indoors and avoid freshly cut grass.
Other routines that can assist in reducing risk of sinus pain include:5, 6
- Cleaning your nasal passageways daily with nasal irrigation
- Using a humidifier in drier environments to ensure your nasal passageways do not feel dry or irritated
- Blowing your nose gently, one nostril at a time. Forceful blowing of the nose can lead to inflamed and irritated passageways
- Washing hands to prevent the spread of germs before touching your face
If you are still unsure on how you can prevent sinus pain and pressure, consult your local Healthcare Practitioner for further advice.
How to Relieve Sinus Pain and Pressure
If your sinus pain is causing you frustration, you will want to find relief as quickly as possible while you recover. Below are several sinus treatments that may help you feel more at ease:5, 6, 7
- Nasal irrigation: If you can still breathe out of your nose, try flushing the mucus with saline water to rid your nasal passage of bacteria. Using saline drops can also keep your nostrils moist and prevent mucus from sticking.
- Nasal Spray: Try a nasal spray that uses saltwater to moisten the nasal passageways and thin mucus.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) Decongestant: breathing can be a challenge when you are feeling congested. Try TYLENOL® Sinus Pressure and Pain to help alleviate some of your toughest sinus symptoms such as sinus pain, nasal congestion, and headaches.
- Rest: rest is crucial to your body’s healing process
- Hydrate: Water will help flush out toxins from your body and thin your mucus. Avoid alcohol or caffeine, which cause dehydration.
If your symptoms persist or you are still unsure on how to relieve your sinus pain and pressure, consult your doctor for treatments and medications.