The sinuses are 4 pairs of hollow, air-filled spaces in the skull that connect to the nasal passageways. Sinus pressure is usually felt when one gets affected by a sinus infection or sinusitis. This article provides information on the causes, symptoms, and the remedies for this condition.
Maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoid sinuses, and sphenoid sinuses are four pairs of air-filled cavities within the skull that are lined by a thin layer of mucus. These are responsible for producing mucus, that cleans and moistens the nose and throat. Mucus is a watery substance that is packed with chemical elements such as mucins, salts, water, and germ-fighting enzymes. It protects the respiratory system from pathogens and dust particles. Each sinus opens into the nose that allows free exchange of mucus and air.
What is Sinus Pressure?
The pressure is felt in the event of inflammation of the sinus cavities due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. Pollutants and pathogens can irritate the mucous membranes, which in turn produce excessive mucus to wash away the irritants. This excess mucus gets trapped in the cavities, and leads to blockage of the openings. Pressure begins to build up in the cavities, as a result of the blockage. Mucus gets trapped inside, thereby causing infection and inflammation of the sinuses. The inflammation coupled with the congestion gives rise to the sensation of pressure and the pain.
Here are some of the contributing factors behind the development of sinus pressure:
- Sinusitis due to the overgrowth of pathogens
- Allergic reactions to dust, pollen, or certain chemicals
- Common cold and flu
- Consumption of mucus-producing foods
Symptoms of this condition are similar to that of common cold, except that the former persists for a longer duration, and cannot be treated effectively with common cold treatments. Some of the symptoms are as follows:
- Nasal congestion
- Post-nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Weakness or fatigue
- Sinus infection
- Stuffy and runny nose
- Cold and cough
- Rhinitis or hay fever
- Reduced sense of smell
- Difficulty in breathing
- Fullness in the ears
This pressure can be painful, however, it can be relieved completely. The following remedies can be followed before starting the medications:
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer
- Take a long and hot shower
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use a warm compress on your face
- Flush out your sinuses with salt water (using saline sprays or a neti pot)
- Sleep with your head elevated
The treatment involves the use of antibiotics for a period of 2 to 3 weeks to deal with bacterial infection. Antihistamines or decongestants may also be recommended for a short period to ease the discomfort or pressure. Other drugs used to treat this problem include pain relievers and vasoconstrictors that decrease nasal congestion. However, if the pain continues, even after taking the recommended dosage of the aforementioned drugs, then corticosteroids may be prescribed to decrease the inflammation. Generally, an effective antibiotic needs to be continued for 10 – 14 days. However, in some cases, one might need to take the drug for 2 – 3 weeks to recover completely.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.