5 Quick steps to Handle a Sudden Sinus Pain


Sinus pain arising from a sinus infection is a common condition afflicting many. Sinuses are cavities usually filled with air located around forehead, eyes and cheeks and they normally produce mucus that is drained via the nasal passage. Sinus pain develops when the nearby tissues in sinuses become swollen, causing a blockage and filling the sinuses with fluids.

Why does sinus pain occur

Sinus pain usually occurs either due to infections such as cold or flu or due to allergies. Other reasons include dental infection, deviated nasal septum and nasal polyps. Many experience a sudden onset of pain in the sinuses as a result of allergens like hay, pollen, mould etc.

Blocked sinuses might make it difficult to breathe and might cause throbbing pain around the forehead and eyes in addition to tenderness or pressure in the area. Ear pain and headaches are also commonly experienced during a sinus infection. Other symptoms include blocked or runny nose and fever.

When the infection develops quickly and last for a few days, it is referred to as acute sinusitis. This is typically the most common infection as chronic sinusitis is very rare.

Treating sudden sinus pain

In majority of cases, a sinus infection clears up on its own in a few days’ time. However there are few remedies that can be used to ease the intense discomfort caused by inflamed sinuses.

Below are 5 steps that can help in relieving sudden sinus pain:

Take over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers: Paracetamol or ibuprofen are OTC medication are helpful in relieving the pain. However the painkillers must be not be taken for more than 10 days.
Decongestant nasal spray or drops are also very useful in relieving blockages immediately as they reduce the mucus present in the sinuses. Decongestants must ideally not be used for more than four – five days.

Apply a hot compress to face – Warm face packs help in easing the pain and tenderness. The best way to do this is to warm a wet towel sufficiently and apply to the face to relieve the pressure. It must be done at regular intervals for maximum relief.

Breathe in steam – Steam inhalation is a simple exercise to clear out the blocked passages. Breathe in steam by holding the face over a steaming pot of water. However adequate care needs to be taken while doing this so as avoid burns. Long hot showers are also an effective, and safer, way to achieve this. The hot steam helps because it soothes the inflamed tissues in the sinuses.

Increase fluid intake – Fluids like hot soups, water taken regularly help in thinning out the mucus in the sinuses, thereby decreasing the blockages.

Use nasal saline drops or spray – Plain salt water can help in keep the nasal passages from drying out. Another technique called nasal irrigation can help in clearing the nasal passage of mucus and giving relief but this requires an irrigation device such as a neti pot.

It must be kept in mind that in case the sinus infection fails to improve within a week, it is recommended to visit an ENT specialist for suitable treatment.

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