Treatment for Sinus Pressure

Updated April 17, 2017

People mostly experience sinus pressure and pain due to either an infection of the sinus cavities (sinusitis) or congestion of mucus in the sinuses that leads to inflammation. In the case of an infection, treatment will rely on medicine to clear the infection and prevention techniques to prevent future infection. If sinusitis is not present however, treatment will rely more on pressure relief and treatments to prevent infection.

Sinusitis Treatment

If a person's sinus pressure is due to a sinus infection, antibiotics usually will clear the infection. However, most sinus infections clear on their own as well. Thus, treatment will consist of ways to relieve sinus congestion and dull the pain. For those who get frequent sinus infections, more strenuous treatment methods may be considered. Because allergies often cause mucus to form in the sinuses, many prevention treatments focus on reducing allergens. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) combined with antihistamines can help prevent future sinus pressure as well as relieve the pressure caused by sinus congestion. In the most severe cases (including those due to fungal allergy), surgery conducted by an ear, nose and throat surgeon can drain the sinuses and prevent future infections.

Home Treatment for Sinus Pressure

While medicine can help relieve sinus pressure, some of the best methods to treat pressure include simple home techniques. A warm washcloth placed above the nose and over the eye sockets eases the pain. Steam inhalation can help even more. If you have a steam kettle, boil the water and let the steam wash over your sinus region. Even an extremely hot steam shower can help reduce swelling.

At night, consider sleeping with a humidifier. The increase of moisture in the air will help reduce pain and clear infections. During the day, use a few drops of a saline mist to unclog the sinuses. A saline mist is preferable to other nasal decongestants such as Afrin, which can have counterproductive effects after a few days.

Feel free to use over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen to relieve pain caused by sinus pressure and to help reduce the swelling. However, do not use pain killers or general cold medicine as your primary sinus treatment technique. Make sure to read all instructions to ensure that pain killers do not interact negatively with any other medications you are taking.

As you try some of these home methods, make sure to drink several cups of water or juice to help thin out the mucus, which will lead to pressure reduction.

Preventing Sinus Pressure

Most sinus pressure will clear on its own. One way to help the natural process is not to put yourself in situations that exacerbate the problem. If the sinus pressure is due to known allergens, avoid these allergens. Extreme changes in air pressure can worsen sinus problems as well. Flying and deep-sea diving are both not recommended activities for those with sinus infections or sinus pressure. In addition, changes in elevation can exacerbate the problem.

Air-temperature changes can also worsen symptoms. Avoid situations with extreme temperature extremes. For instance, if you are using a steam shower to relieve pressure, ease yourself back to a cooler temperature by opening your bathroom door after the shower. Do not immediately jump into a cold shower.

To prevent sinus infection, practice good hygiene to reduce the bacteria that enters your sinus cavities.

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About the Author

Alexander Grouch is a freelance screenwriter, journalist and children's book author. He currently writes music reviews for "The Red Alert." Grouch has visited all 48 contiguous states and plans to document his journeys in a travelogue. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Africana studies from Brown University.