Sinusitis, an inflammation of the tissue lining of the sinuses, is a problem that affects 14% of the people in this country. In a healthy sinus, the sinus is filled with air, but when blocked, the sinuses can become filled with fluid. When that happens bacteria, viruses or fungi can grow, leading to infection and the painful symptoms associated with sinusitis.
Common Symptoms of Sinusitis
- Nasal drainage or congestion
- Cough as a result of postnasal drip
- Headache, facial pain
- Deceased sense of smell
- Facial pressure
- Low grade fever
- Ear discomfort
- Bad breath
- Persistent cough
- Dental pain
- Ear pain, stuffiness in ears
Recurrent sinusitis is characterized by pressure, pain, discolored drainage, and loss of smell and taste. But unlike other types, the symptoms of recurrent sinusitis are repetitive, occurring five or more times a year. While medicine may be the first defense and can address immediate symptoms, the narrowed drainage passages almost always assure the sufferer of future episodes.
Chronic sinusitis symptoms can last 12 or more weeks. Usually, two or more types of sinuses are affected and the pain can be located in several places. In chronic sinusitis, the membranes of the sinus passageways are constantly inflamed. Medical therapies may work at first but fail to correct the underlying obstruction, preventing sinus drainage and causing discomfort.
Acute sinusitis symptoms can be triggered by a cold, virus, or allergies. The nasal pathways become blocked due to congestion leading to a build-up of bacteria, a sinus infection, or sinusitis. Allergies can also be a culprit. The resulting inflammation causes swelling and leads to blocked sinus drainage.
Pinpointing the Pain
The location of a patient’s pain can help identify which sinus is affected. If you’re experiencing pain in your forehead, it indicates a problem in the frontal sinuses. Pain located behind the cheekbones, upper jaw, or teeth means the maxillary sinuses are affected. Pain between the eyes, eyelid swelling, or tenderness on the side of your nose indicates the ethmoid sinuses. And lastly, if you have pain in your neck, earaches, or a deep ache on the top of your head, your sphenoid sinuses are affected.