To know what helps with sinus pressure, you must understand its underlying causes first. Sinus pressure can be an uncomfortable and bothersome condition that many people experience at some point in their lives. It often accompanies sinus congestion and other sinus symptoms, and can result from various factors including allergies, colds or a sinus infection. Dealing with sinus pressure is not only about finding relief but also understanding its underlying causes.
What is Sinus Pressure?
Sinus pressure, also known as sinus congestion, refers to the sensation of fullness or tightness in the sinus cavities, typically in the forehead, cheeks, and around the eyes. It may happen when the sinuses become inflamed or blocked, causing mucus to accumulate and putting pressure on the sinus walls.
What Does Sinus Pressure Feel Like?
The sinuses are air-filled cavities located in the skull, and they play a vital role in humidifying and filtering the air we breathe. When the sinus passages become congested, it can lead to a range of sinus symptoms, including:
- Headaches: A dull, aching headache in the forehead or temples.
- Facial or Sinus Pain: Discomfort and tenderness in the cheeks and around the eyes.
- Nasal Congestion: A stuffy or blocked nose.
- Postnasal Drip: Excess mucus may drip down the throat, leading to a persistent cough or throat irritation.
- Reduced Sense of Smell and Taste: Sinusitis can temporarily affect your ability to smell and taste.
Remedies for Sinus Pressure to Try at Home
People commonly ask, “What helps with sinus pressure?” because it is a condition that impacts many children and adults. In fact, sinus pressure (acute sinusitis) impacts 31 million people in the U.S. alone.
When suffering from sinus pressure, you want to relieve it fast. The symptoms not only slow you down, but they also make you less productive and become painful. Below are some at-home remedies to help you relieve sinus pressure symptoms.
Nasal irrigation, often done with a saline solution, is a simple yet effective way to relieve sinus pressure and nasal congestion. By flushing out excess mucus and irritants from the nasal passages, it can reduce congestion and promote drainage. Neti pots, saline sprays, and nasal irrigation kits are readily available over the counter.
Inhaling steam can help ease sinus pressure by moistening the nasal passages, promoting mucus drainage, and providing congestion relief. You can do this by leaning over a bowl of hot water, covering your head with a towel, and inhaling the steam. Adding a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint can enhance the benefits. Taking a hot shower is also a great way to inhale steam and moisten nasal passages.
Staying well-hydrated will help ease sinus pressure. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and clear broths, can help thin mucus and keep the nasal passages moist, making it easier to breathe and promoting drainage.
Applying a warm compress to your face can help soothe facial pain and alleviate sinus pressure. Simply soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it over your forehead, cheeks, and eyes for several minutes.
Elevate Your Head
Keeping your head elevated can help relieve sinus pressure while you sleep. It can help reduce nighttime sinus congestion and symptoms by using an extra pillow or raising the head of your bed slightly.
If allergies are contributing to your sinus pressure, take steps to manage your allergy symptoms and allergy triggers. This may involve avoiding allergens, using air purifiers, and considering allergy medications or allergy shots (immunotherapy) under the guidance of an allergist.
Using a humidifier in your bedroom can help maintain optimal humidity levels, preventing the nasal passages from drying out and reducing congestion. Be sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent mold and bacterial growth.
Rest and Relaxation
Resting and taking it easy when you have sinus pressure can help your body recover more quickly. Stress can exacerbate symptoms, so relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation may also be beneficial.
How to Massage Your Sinuses for Pain Relief
Massaging your sinuses can help promote drainage and relieve sinus pain. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
1. Wash Your Hands
Before you begin, make sure your hands are clean to prevent introducing additional germs into your nasal passages.
2. Find a Comfortable Position
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You can do this while sitting up in a chair or lying on your back.
3. Apply a Warm Compress
Place a warm, damp washcloth over your forehead and the bridge of your nose for a few minutes. The heat can help loosen mucus and make the massage more effective.
4. Gently Massage Your Face
Using your index and middle fingers, start the massage at the top of your nose, near the inner corner of your eyes. Apply gentle pressure and move your fingers in a circular motion, moving outward toward your temples.
Continue the circular motion as you move your fingers down the sides of your nose, following the contour of your cheekbones. Apply gentle pressure, but avoid pressing too hard to prevent discomfort.
As you reach the sides of your nose, guide your fingers down and outward, following the path of your cheekbones towards your ears. Continue the circular motion. Repeat the massage for a few minutes, gradually working your way down the sides of your nose, cheeks, and towards your ears.
After the massage, use your fingertips to tap gently on your sinuses. Start near your nose and move outward towards your temples. These tapping motions can further encourage drainage.
Sinus Pressure Relief with OTC Medications
Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications can also provide relief from sinus pressure and congestion.
Decongestants are medications that can help shrink swollen nasal tissues, reducing congestion and pressure. Mucinex offers a handful of helpful options for sinus pressure and congestion.
For day time sinus and multi-symptom relief, Sinus-Max® Severe Congestion & Pain Liquid Gels clear sinus congestion and combat other unwanted symptoms with three maximum strength medicines.
If you’re looking for night time relief in liquid form, the Nightshift® Sinus Liquid is there for you. One dose of this liquid helps relieve sinus pressure, itchy and watery eyes and your nagging body pain or headache so you can get to sleep faster and wake up feeling better.
Antihistamines can also be an option for relief and alleviation of symptoms if allergies are contributing to your sinus pressure. Sinus pressure and pain often result from the body's response to allergens, which triggers the release of histamines. These histamines cause blood vessels in the nasal passages to swell, leading to congestion, pressure, and discomfort.
By preventing histamine-induced swelling and mucus production, antihistamines effectively ease sinus pressure and pain, allowing individuals to breathe more freely and comfortably.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help with alleviating headaches and facial pain caused by sinus pressure. These medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, work to reduce pain and inflammation in the sinus passages and surrounding areas.
OTC pain relievers effectively target this pain by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, which are substances responsible for pain and inflammation. By taking these medications as directed, relief from both the throbbing headaches and the facial pain associated with sinus pressure is possible.
Nasal sprays, such as saline sprays or decongestant sprays, can provide relief by narrowing blood vessels in your nose and sinuses, reducing inflammation and congestion. For topical fast-acting relief, Sinus-Max® Severe Nasal Congestion Relief Clear & Cool does the trick with a menthol flavor and up to 12 hours of sinus symptom relief.
When to See Your Doctor for Sinus Pressure
While many cases of sinus pressure are manageable with home remedies and over-the-counter medications, there are situations where medical attention is warranted.
In some cases, when sinus inflammation is severe or chronic, a healthcare provider may prescribe stronger medications, such as corticosteroids or antibiotics, to address the underlying cause. Below are sinus pressure symptoms where you should contact a doctor.
Severe or Prolonged Symptoms
If your sinus pressure symptoms are severe, persistent for more than a week, or worsen over time, consult your healthcare provider. You may have developed sinusitis (a sinus infection).
A high fever, especially in combination with sinus pressure, may indicate a more serious sinus infection that requires medical treatment.
Green or Yellow Discharge
If your nasal discharge becomes thick, yellow, or green phlegm, it may indicate a bacterial sinus infection that requires antibiotics.
Severe Headache or Eye Pain
Intense sinus headaches, facial pain, or eye pain and pressure should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out more severe conditions.
If you experience severe difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention.
Get Back to Feeling Your Best
Sinus pressure can be a bothersome condition. However, there are many solutions available to alleviate the discomfort. From nasal irrigation and steam inhalation to over-the-counter medications and lifestyle adjustments, you have options for finding relief.
Now that you know what helps with sinus relief, understand that while these remedies can provide temporary relief, addressing the underlying cause of your sinus pressure is equally important. If your sinus symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider for an evaluation and treatment plan. With the right approach, you can manage sinus pressure and get back to feeling your best.