Understanding Sinus Pain

Health Check

Understanding sinus pain is important because those who suffer from sinus pain are not alone. Even people without allergies suffer from sinus pain.

Following a cold, many people including those with and those without allergies suffer from sinus pain caused by blocked sinuses. If you are among those without allergies but are active outdoors, then congestion, a stuffy nose or postnasal drip may cause sinus pain. If you are among those with allergies, even after treatment by an allergist, you may still have sinus pain when you are active outdoors and the pollen count is high.

A cold or allergies can cause blockage in the nasal passages that lead to each of four sets of sinuses. According to David W. Kennedy, chair of the otorhinolaryngology department at the University of Pennsylvania, such a blockage causes many to feel pressure and pain in the following areas.

– Under the eyes (maxillary sinus)
– In the brow (frontal sinus)
– Between the bridge of the nose and the eyes (ethmoid)

Sinus problems often begin in the ethmoid sinus because it contains a fine honeycomb-like network of passages that are prone to blockage.

For some who suffer, Kennedy performs endoscopic sinus surgery. During this procedure a long lighted telescope enables him to look through the nose to operate on blocked sinuses. Candidates for this procedure, however, are those who suffer from chronic infections not treatable by an extended course of antibiotics.

Understanding Sinus Pain – Treating This Condition

If an allergist or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist has not evaluated you, we recommend that you see one. If you suffer from blocked sinuses and do not have allergies, one option to consider is physical therapy that mobilizes the facial bones around the sinuses. Quite often, physical therapy can unblock sinuses and permit drainage. Often this approach coupled with antibiotics helps prevent sinus infections.

Please refer to patient education for other brief articles in our educational series. It is through these articles, in part, that we keep our patients (and others) informed of common injuries and conditions, their treatment and healthcare in general.