Sinus congestion and/or infection can lead to unpleasant pressure within the sinus cavities that often feels like it will never go away. Luckily, many simple, non-invasive remedies exist to dampen sinus pressure pain. As you and your doctor choose the best methods for sinus pressure relief, consider whether or not your pressure is due to a bacterial infection, allergies, congestion or a combination of these factors. In addition, treatment options will vary based on whether your sinus pressure is chronic or sporadic.
Heat and moisture help clear mucus from the sinus cavity, thus easing pressure. For steam therapy, consider using a hot shower or tea kettle. As the shower or kettle releases steam, breathe the steam into your sinus cavities. In addition, dampen a wash cloth with warm (not) hot water and place it over your face for five to 10 minutes several times a day. At night, sleep with a humidifier to increase moisture in the air. And throughout the day, drink plenty of fluids, especially water and hot tea.
If the sinus pressure is due to an infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. For immediate relief of sinus pressure, you can use decongestants like Afrin. However, decongestants will only work for a few days before rebound sets in, making congestion worse. Inhaling a saline mist is a safer option, the moisture helping to break up the mucus and ease the pressure. Oral sinus and cold medicine can help relieve the pain and dissipate some of the pressure as well. However, like nasal decongestants, oral pain killers may not help the problem in the long run.
For those whose sinus pressure does not respond to medicine or home treatment techniques, surgery may be necessary. In cases of fungal sinus allergies, surgery is usually required for full relief. Some people who have chronic sinus build-up may have structural abnormalities that allow bacteria to form and mucus to pool. ENTs (ear, nose, throat specialists) will surgically drain the sinuses and may perform additional procedures to prevent sinus pressure. Do not resort to surgery unless your doctor has exhausted all other options.