I’m sitting here at 4:30 in the morning on a sunday morning and I’m Googling for answers on how to relieve my sinus pressure in my head. I haven’t been able to sleep much the last few days and it’s starting to get to me emotionally.
My nose is now clear enough because I had to use Afrin but that will only work for a few days before I get addicted to the Afrin and have that rebound thing happen and make it worse.
Besides the obvious of being tired and feeling like hell I’m also getting the sweats and my joints are sore and uncomfortable. 3 Advils usually take care of that but I thought while I’m up at the crack of dawn here I would write a post about how I relieve this sinus pressure to get healthy.
There are many causes of sinus pressure and not all give relief and all of which create a very uncomfortable feeling for sufferers. However, treatment that is effective for one person may not work for another. In fact, sometimes suggested treatments may make the symptoms worse rather than better. I thought that the gastric bypass surgery contributed to the fact that I get these sinus attacks a few times per year but looking back I’ve always had them. How to relieve sinus pressure is a unique technique that each individual person must find for themselves. Learning to relieve sinus pressure will help you when your symptoms start. Should you use hand sanitizer frequently to avoid being sick? Sure but the effects of overuse of hand sanitizer is far too worrisome for me to get crazy on it. While I’m out I’ll hit it after using the bathroom or if I’m at a restaurant but that’s about it.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you work through your symptoms and hopefully towards learning how to relieve sinus pressure.
Understanding Your Nasal Passages
First, your nostrils are only one way for irritants to enter your sinus. The passages run from your down to your throat and your sinuses branch off on either side in your cheek area, over your brow and along the bridge of the nose.
Irritation can occur for many reasons as can sinus pressure. If you are suffering from allergies or a cold, normally you will begin producing excess amounts of mucous which will be discharged through your nostrils or will go down your throat where they can be expelled by coughing and spitting. Your body needs to produce a certain amount of mucous which is used by the nasal passages to cleanse and warm the air that you breathe in. Additionally it helps to keep the air moist to reduce the dry feeling in your throat as you breathe. Also an important thing here to say is stay away from those dangerous caffeine drinks and be sure to drink plenty of non-diuretic drinks like water and juices.
Real Sinus Pressure versus Migraine Headaches
Sinus pressure usually will not create a headache. However you will feel any level of discomfort in your cheeks, forehead and sometimes even your jaw. Typically when you are suffering from sinus pressure, moving your head suddenly or bending forward will cause a pounding sensation in your facial area. True sinus pressure alone however rarely causes a headache.
Before concerning yourself with the treatment of sinus pressure you should first treat the headache. There are various pain medications available over the counter for sinus headaches. However, many times you will find that these contain an antihistamine. Believe it or not, for people who suffer from a very mild form of migraines, sinus headache medication will eliminate the symptoms. Why? Because the ingredients are often used to treat migraines. Migraines are thought to be triggered when the nerves within the nasal passages become irritated and cause extreme pain.
Use Caution with Antihistamines
Many people are quick to grab a cold medication when they begin to notice increased mucous production or sinus pressure. However it is important to understand the side effects that this medication can cause. Antihistamines can actually make the condition worse in some people, causing the sinuses to produce more mucous rather than decreasing production.
Use a Sinus Rinse
Because the nose is built only to deal with mild forms of pollution and a low level of dust, you will find that when you are exposed to high dust levels, allergens and smoke that your sinuses typically begin producing much more mucous. However, using a mild saline solution to rinse the sinuses and nasal passages will make a very big difference in how well your nose can filter the air. In addition to helping the nose and sinuses filter the air, it will also remove any extra mucous that may be lurking in your nose or your sinuses. and stay away from the Afrin unless your pressure is really severe and you can’t take it anymore. You don’t want to get messed up with that nose spray addiction everyone talk about over here.
It is a simple process. You will need a small squirt bottle and some mild saline solution. Lean over a sink or bowl, tip your head to one side. Gently dribble the solution into the nostril on the top until it begins to dribble out the bottom nostril. After that, tip your head in the other direction and repeat the steps. After you are finished you will blow your nose carefully to remove any loose particles and purge any remaining saline solution from the sinuses and nasal passages.
Use Care When Using a Tissue
Parents for years have taught their children to blow their nose when they are stuffy. However, research suggests that this may not be appropriate. First, if your nasal passages feel stuffy but your sinuses are clear, you will likely force pollutants back into the sinuses and increase the air pressure which can lead to even more problems. Additionally nose blowing has been linked to problems with the ears as well.
Because of this, it is recommended that if you must blow your nose, use long exhales through the nose to purge the mucous rather than hard, quick blows.
Time For a Steam Bath or Shower
When you are feeling particularly ill, one sure way to relieve sinus pressure is to give them a steam bath. Now, a steam bath can be performed in many different ways. You might boil water and put your head under a towel, encasing the pan or bowl under the towel and breathe in the steam through your nose. Or you might go for a much more relaxing technique which involves running a very warm bath and soaking your entire body while breathing in the steam as it rises from the tub. Additionally, for quick relief you might take a very warm shower as well and breathe in steam as you shower. This process relaxes and thins the nasal tissues, relieving pressure and allowing for any irritants to flow from the nasal passages and sinus cavities.
Use Caution with Decongestants
Much like antihistamines, decongestants can cause side effects as well. For a person with high blood pressure, just about all decongestants are strictly off limits. However for others they can provide some relief. Unfortunately they can also cause the person to become dependent on them. Nasal sprays in particular are known to cause a dependence when used regularly. Your body “forgets” how to regulate the nasal membranes and relies on the sprays to do their job for them. It does not take very long for a person to become dependent, so if you must use a nasal spray be sure to use it with care.
Treat the Real Problem – Mucous
Many times people who have an over abundance of thick mucous will suffer from sinus pain and pressure. By thinning the mucous, many find that their symptoms lessen or go away altogether. There are several ways a person can make sure their mucous does not become overly thick. The first step is to ensure you are drinking enough plain water each day. It is estimated that the average person should consume approximately one half gallon each day of plain, clear water. Doing so allows the body to use the water for keeping the blood flowing properly, keeping the mucous and saliva properly moist and at the right consistency.
Additionally, reducing beverages that contain caffeine and alcohol will decrease the available water in the body. Therefore you should try to limit your consumption of these drinks each day. Also reduce your intake of salt as this too can use up available water supplies for the body.
Use Caution With New Products
When you are already suffering from sinus pressure, you want to avoid anything that might increase that pressure. Introducing new foods, supplements or medications may cause a reaction in your body causing the sinuses to produce even more mucous, thus compounding the problem. Therefore it is best to avoid using anything new when you are working to rid yourself of the pain and pressure caused by increased mucous. Even the smallest change can set off a reaction within your body that normally you would not even notice.
Consult a Specialist or ENT Doctor
If sinus pain and pressure are a continuous problem for you, then you should take the next step and visit a specialist. Usually a visit to an ENT is warranted if you have been suffering for an extended period of time or you have had many reoccurring bouts with sinus infections. Nearly every person who visits an ear, nose and throat specialist will be likely to have some form of surgery recommended to help relieve the problems. For some it may be having the tonsils removed and for others they may find a recommendation for ear tubes. Both of these procedures may provide some relief for those who constantly suffer from these conditions.
While there are many other ways that a person might find some relief from the problems of sinus pain and pressure, none of those listed here may be the right one for you. However, the tips listed above will help get you started in the right direction and offer you some things to consider before trying certain treatments. Some of the tips are just basic care that can be performed whether you are suffering or not and may even help to avoid a problem at a later time.
For example, if you develop a routine of regular nasal irrigation, you may stop a problem from occurring as you remove the build up of irritants and pollutants before they can lead to the production of additional mucous. A regular hot shower with the breathing of steam will make you feel a bit better on any day, regardless of the current condition of your sinuses.