Sinus pressure is common, but nonetheless uncomfortable. Allergies and infections such as the cold or flu cause the passages in your nose to become blocked. This leads to inflammation and often throbbing pain in the front of your head and face. Luckily, there's a lot you can do to ease these symptoms, allowing you to breathe easier and with less ache.
Dryness in your sinus passages can cause and worsen sinus pressure. Humidifiers and vaporizers help resolve this by adding moisture to the air you breathe in, creating a more humid environment in your nose and sinuses. This can be especially helpful during winter months or if you live in a dry climate. Humidifiers typically release cool mist into the air, while vaporizers create steam from boiling water. Follow product instructions to avoid adding too much moisture to the air.
Mist and steam aren't the only sources of moisture that matter for relieving sinus pressure. Drinking plenty of fluids allows your body to better lubricate the linings of your passages too. Water is your best bet, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, hydration can come in forms other than drinking water, such as broth-based soups, ice cubes and herbal tea. For particularly soothing options with the added perks of steam, have chicken or vegetable soup or sip herbal tea with honey
To reap the benefits of a vaporizer or humidifier without extra equipment, savor a hot shower. Take slow, deep breaths in the shower, then linger in the bathroom afterward to continue steaming a bit longer. You can also lean your face over a bowl of hot water to relieve sinus pressure, advises the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Adding drops of eucalyptus oil to the water can help speed healing. Aim for 10 minutes of steaming continually, two to four times per day. Make sure any water you use to steam is not too hot to prevent skin irritation or burning.
Over-the-counter medications known as decongestants and expectorants can help relieve sinus pressure. Decongestants work by drying the mucus that gathers in the back of your throat, while expectorants loosen the mucus, clearing the pathway for breathing and making throat clearing more efficient. Some decongestant products contain pseudoephedrine, which isn't suitable for everyone because it can raise blood pressure and interfere with sleep.
Relaxation techniques can help to manage sinus pressure, especially if your symptoms include a headache. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends breathing deeply, meditating or other relaxing activities such as yoga or guided imagery. Biofeedback can also help by allowing you to better control muscle tension. It typically involves warming your hands along with slow breathing, focusing on feelings of warmth in different areas of your body and picturing positive images.
Sleeping peacefully can be challenging when you're experiencing sinus pressure, but it's also important for healing. To sleep better, elevate your head with pillows to keep your head above your heart — this will prevent blood from gathering in your nose. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and stimulating activities (such as using your computer before bed), and sleep in a dark, cool room. Stick to non-stimulating beverages later in the day as well, such as chamomile tea, which has a relaxing effect.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Sinus Headache[http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/sinus-headache]
- Everyday Health: The Right Way to Use a Humidifier for Sinusitis[http://www.everydayhealth.com/ear-nose-throat/humidifier-for-sinusitis.aspx]
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Sinusitis[http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/sinusitis]
- American Academy of Otolaryngology: Sinus Headaches[http://www.entnet.org/content/sinus-headaches]
- University of Michigan Health System: Eucalyptus[http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2086009]
- Baylor College of Medicine: Tips Help Manage Pesky Sinus Symptoms[https://www.bcm.edu/news/allergy-immunology-and-rheumatology/tips-help-manage-pesky-sinus-symptoms]
- Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute: Biofeedback and Relaxation Therapy[http://www.mhni.com/headache-pain-faq/non-drug-treatment-alternatives/biofeedback-and-relaxation]
- Everyday Health: 8 Ways to Sleep Better With Sinus Pain and Congestion[http://www.everydayhealth.com/sinus-health-guide/get-better-sleep-with-sinus-pain-and-congestion.aspx]
- University of Michigan Health System: Chamomile[http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2066005]