Nasal sinus refers to one of four cavities in the bones of the front portion of your skull. Medically referred to as paranasal sinuses, a nasal sinus normally contains air and is lined by mucous membranes.
Sinus membrane is very sensitive and easily irritated, causing it to become inflamed and produce mucus. This is why for many their sinuses are more of a problem than a help.
Normally, a nasal sinus opens into your nasal cavity, aka nose. You have four pairs of these sinuses designated as:
- frontal sinus ~ in forehead
- maxillary sinus ~ behind cheeks
- ethmoid sinus ~ between your eyes
- sphenoid sinus ~ deep behind your ethmoids
Having a sinus problem is a very common health complaint. A few of the causes for sinus problems to emerge are:
- air pollution
- sinus cancer
- irritants ~ smoke, strong smells
- nasal polyps blocking sinus passages
- sinus infection ~ common cold, upper respiratory infection
- nasal obstruction ~ trauma, deviated nasal septum, enlarged turbinates
Many of these same health conditions cause nasal problems as well.
The accumulation of mucus and pus results in blockage, pressure and foul drainage, which frequently cause sinus symptoms like:
- eye pain
- neck pain
- runny nose
- eye swelling
- facial pressure
- difficulty breathing
- achy teeth, upper jaw pain
- sore throat, cough caused by nasal sinuses draining
Generally, the way you can differentiate a sinus headache from another type of headache is if your pain resonates out of your forehead, corner of your eyes, behind your eyes and cheek area, then probably sinus related. And another indicator is if moving your head makes it worse.
One of the most common causes of nasal sinuses symptoms is a sinus infection. A sinus infection is caused by a pathogen (virus, bacteria, fungus) growing in your sinus. This growth causes an immune response and sinus inflammation (sinusitis), which in turn can cause sinus blockage of mucus and pus. Yet, not all cases of sinusitis is due to a sinus infection.
Most sinus infections are caused by a virus and your body can combat it without any treatment help. However, a secondary bacterial sinus infection sometimes occurs and then antibiotic treatment help may be required. And very rarely a bacterial sinus infection can worsen into meningitis, brain abscess and bone infection.
The primary way to treat most sinus problems is clearing your sinuses. Some natural sinus treatments that might alleviate your blocked sinus symptoms are:
- drink extra fluid to help thin mucus
- warm compress laid over sinuses helps relieve sinus pain
- saline wash helps clear & moisturize nasal sinus passages
- warm moist air relieves sinus congestion ~ vaporizer, boiling water steam
In the alternative, you could go the OTC drug treatment route, which will give sinus symptoms relief too. The two that are frequently used for sinus problems or sinus infection are decongestants and nasal sprays. If they’re not effective, then your health care provider may prescribe a steroid nasal spray.