Self Help for Sinus Pressure & Headache

Updated February 21, 2017

Sinus pressure and headaches are caused by a variety of conditions such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or acute sinusitis. Other symptoms may include running nose, watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion. There are many self-help remedies that are effective in treating sinus pressure and headache. In many cases you do not need to see a doctor to alleviate the symptoms.


Drinking lots of water helps to remove and dilute some of the mucus causing sinus pressure. Water helps to thin the thick mucus that causes congestion, difficulty breathing and facial pain. Another way to relieve pressure is by steaming the sinuses. The Mayo Clinic, in the article "Acute Sinusitis" suggests steam as a self-help method. The warm, moist air opens the sinus cavities so they can drain. Use the steam of a hot shower or boil water on the stove. Deeply inhale the steam. For added help in cleaning the sinuses, put a chopped garlic clove in the boiling water, as suggested by Garlic kills bacteria and fungi that may cause the sinus problems.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

Many people get relief from hay fever, cold and sinus infections with OTC nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants. There are also capsule or tablets specifically for allergies or sinus problems. Nasal decongestants have corticosteroids that treat inflammation. These types of nasal sprays are only for temporary use, reports the Mayo Clinic. For headaches due to sinus pressure, a pain reliever like Motrin or Advil can help. There are also OTC drugs designed specifically for sinus headaches.

Nasal Irrigation

A nasal wash uses warm salt water to cleanse the sinuses. Do not use table salt, but instead pure salt or sea salt with no addictive like iodine. Many drugstores sell nasal irrigation kits that are inexpensive and useful if you follow the directions precisely. Most kits come with packets of salt (saline) to be added to the water. Many studies have been done on nasal irrigation and there is evidence that the process truly helps to cleanse the sinuses and alleviate the pressure and pain. The University of Wisconsin Medical School in its project report "Nasal Irrigation," concludes that regular nasal irrigation reduces the symptoms of various sinus problems and the need for OTC drugs.

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