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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Sinus Pain

Sinus pain is characterized by a feeling of pressure, fullness or an aching sensation over the sinus cavity. This pain is generally felt on the face, in the area surrounding the eyebrow, eyes and cheekbones.

Sinus pain is not a contagious condition but is often an indication of irritated or swollen sinuses. The cause of this irritation may be due to allergens or to bacteria or viruses.

What causes sinus pain?

Swollen and irritated sinuses are the root cause of sinus pain. When exposed to outside stimuli such as allergens, bacteria or viruses, the sinuses flare up and the cilia (tiny, hairlike projections on the surface of the nasal passages) are unable to move mucus. The swollen sinus and the trapped mucus lend a feeling of fullness in and exert pressure on the sinus cavity. This sensation may bring discomfort or pain to an affected person.

Other than allergens, bacteria or viruses, activities such as swimming and diving may lead to sinus pain. Sudden contact with saltwater or chlorinated water, such as in the ocean or swimming pools, may cause nasal congestion and sinus pain.

Some conditions such as the presence of polyps in the nasal passages or sinus cavities may also block the passages, leading to nasal congestion and sinus pain.

Who is at risk of developing sinus pain?

People who have allergies or are predisposed to developing nasal congestion are at risk of developing sinus pain.

What are the symptoms of sinus pain?

The most common symptoms of sinus pain are pressure and fullness on the area surrounding the eyebrows, eyes, nose and cheeks. The pain and pressure may be felt on one side of the face and may be accompanied by puffy eyes, nasal congestion or a runny nose.

How is sinus pain diagnosed?

A doctor checking for sinus pain will take down the patient’s symptoms and recent medical history. He/She may also conduct a routine physical examination to rule out other possible ailments.

How is sinus pain treated?

Treatment for sinus pain is dependent on its cause. If the sinus pain is allergy-related, treatment will involve addressing the allergy and avoiding the allergens that cause the pain, stuffiness and swelling. The doctor may prescribe saline washes or decongestant nasal drops or spray to ease stuffiness; antihistamines, pain medication or a 20-minute cold pack over the sinus to relieve symptoms If the sinus pain results from a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Can sinus pain be prevented?

People with allergies or low resistance may avoid sinus pain by staying away from allergens and contaminated environments as well as keeping close watch on their health.

What are the complications of sinus pain?

Sinus pain, with prompt and proper treatment, usually resolves in a matter of days to a couple of weeks. When left unattended, however, it may lead to complications such as bacterial infection, fever and severe pain.

For innovative, state-of-the art facial plastic and ENT surgical care, come to SoCal ENT. To schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Namazie, please call us at 818.986.5500, or you can use our online Request an Appointment form.




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