Sinusitis is a problem that affects 14% of the people in this country. Basically, sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue lining of the sinuses. 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
- Decreased 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.
Sinus Infections are typically harmless and mostly caused by a bacteria infection. The symptoms include facial pain and pressure, caused by pressure on the nerves of the sinus and irritated tissue. The first course of treatment is antibiotics.
If polyps or fungus are present, the pressure and pain may be less, when compared to an acute bacterial infection. Negative pressure vacuum of the sinuses can also be caused by blockage of the sinus ostia, resulting in pain and/or pressure. Other major symptoms include nasal stuffiness or fullness, and nasal drainage. The sense of smell and taste may also be affected. Additional symptoms include headache, bad breath, fatigue, cough, dental pain, or fever.
There are many types of headaches. When sinus and nasal passages become inflamed, a sinus headache occurs. The symptoms of a sinus headache include pain and pressure under and around the eyes, across the cheeks or the forehead, in the upper teeth, and can be accompanied by fever and chills, facial swelling, nasal stuffiness, and yellow or green nasal discharge. A migraine headache may be attributed to sinusitis.
Sinus headaches occur when there is a swelling of the membranes lining the sinuses. Pain occurs as a result of the air, pus or mucus that is trapped within the obstructed sinuses. Pain is felt under the eye and in the upper teeth (disguised as a headache or toothache). Sinus headaches worsen as you bend forward or lie down.
To relieve symptoms you must reduce the swelling, inflammation and drainage from the sinuses. At home remedies may help prevent or alleviate headache pain. These include breathing moist air, alternating hot and cold compresses, nasal irrigation, over-the-counter pain medication, decongestants, and alternative medicines.
Viruses, allergies and bacteria infections are all causes of sinus pain. Membranes become swollen, congestion occurs, and the result is pain and pressure, increased mucus production caused by inflammation, ending with a runny nose. Congestion of the nasal membranes may even block the eustachian tube leading to the ear, resulting in a feeling of blockage in the ear or fluid behind the eardrum. When the nasal airway is congested, the patient is forced to breathe through the mouth.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can help. Most of these medications combine either a pain reliever such as acetaminophen with a decongestant or an antihistamine. OTC nasal medications are designed to reduce symptoms produced by the inflammation of nasal membranes and sinuses. These medications can reopen nasal passages, reduce nasal congestion, relieve pain and pressure symptoms, and reduce potential complications. Nasal saline sprays, nasal decongestant sprays, decongestant medications, and antihistamine medications may be prescribed for pain.