How to Ease Sinus Pressure Pain

Updated February 21, 2017

Sinus pressure and pain can be caused by infection, allergies or nasal obstruction. The pain from sinus pressure can be mild and chronic, or severe and acute. Symptoms of sinus pressure include pain in the cheekbone area, under-eye pain and forehead pain. In addition, pain in the back of the head may be especially severe, especially when bending over. When the occipital sinuses, located in the back of the head, become blocked, pain and pressure increase when stooping over or straining. If sinus pressure pain is caused by infection, it is important to get it treated. Failure to treat a sinus-related infection can result in a worsening infection, which, in rare cases, may travel to the brain. There are steps you can take to ease sinus pressure pain.

See your doctor. You will need a physical examination to determine the cause of your sinus pressure pain. Your doctor will look inside your nasal passages to check for signs of inflammation or obstruction. If warranted, he will refer you to an ear, nose and throat doctor for further evaluation.

Inquire about antibiotics. If the source of your sinus pressure pain is due to a bacterial infection, your doctor will recommend antibiotics. When your infection is resolved, your sinus pressure pain will be relieved. You must finish the entire course of your antibiotics to ensure that your infection has totally cleared.

Take a decongestant. Take an over-the-counter decongestant medication to ease your sinus pressure pain. Decongestants are very effective in reducing swollen blood vessels that contribute to sinus pressure and pain. Check with your doctor before taking them because they can cause side effects, such as rapid heart rate and insomnia. Decongestants can also raise your blood pressure and interfere with other medications.

Try an anti-inflammatory medication. Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication will alleviate sinus pain and accompanying eye and headache pain. If you are taking aspirin or other blood thinners, check with your doctor before taking an anti-inflammatory medication because they can intensify the blood thinning effects of anticoagulant medication.

Run a humidifier. Keep your humidifier running in your room at night. The warm, moist steam will alleviate congestion and ease your sinus pain. Make sure you thoroughly clean your humidifier unit before using it. A humidifier unit can breed bacteria if not cleaned, which can be harmful if you breathe in the contaminated steam.


Sleep propped up. When you lie down, sinus pressure builds and contributes to pain. Use a few pillows so that you are not lying flat and to promote optimal sinus drainage. Ask your doctor about nasal corticosteroid sprays. These nasal sprays decrease swelling and are a treatment option for sinusitis pressure, says University of Maryland Medical Center.


If your sinus pressure and pain is accompanied by fever or difficulty breathing, call your doctor promptly. These symptoms can indicate a serious infection, which will need swift medical evaluation and treatment.

Things You'll Need

  • Antibiotics
  • Decongestant
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Humidifier
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About the Author

Meadow Milano has been a registered nurse for over 20 years, with extensive experience in emergency nursing, labor and delivery and general medicine. She has written numerous articles for nursing publications pertaining to health and medicine, and enjoys teaching in the clinical setting.