Sinus pressure and pain can be mild or quite severe. The cause of these symptoms is often a cold, allergies, or sinusitis (sinus infection). Regardless of what causes your symptoms, relief may be closer than you think.
In the following slides, learn how to treat sinus problems with natural remedies and home remedies. We provide a variety of strategies to combat nasal congestion, from neti pots and saline nasal sprays to hydration and avoiding irritants, starting with humidifying your air.
Breathe Moist Air
You may be wondering how to relieve sinus pressure. For sinus pressure relief that lasts for hours, try keeping a humidifier on in your bedroom or other rooms where you spend a lot of time. Dry air can irritate your sinuses, but keeping air moist can help reduce congestion. Inhaling steam two to four times a day may help, too. Sit in the bathroom with the door closed and the shower running. Make sure the water is hot.
The air you breathe could be making your sinuses ache, depending on what that air is carrying. Avoid cigarette smoke and fumes from
- harsh cleaning products,
- hair spray, and
With a world full of industrial chemicals and people who smoke, how can you keep your sinus problems at bay? Here are a couple of tips:
- Don't let friends or family smoke in your home.
- Look for "green" cleaning products in unscented varieties. They're less likely to contain the harsh chemicals that can kick-start sinus pressure and pain.
Finding out how to relieve sinus pressure may be as simple as grabbing a glass of cold water or juice. Doing so will help thin out mucus and encourage drainage. Hot tea is another good option.
Not all liquids are created equal, though. To relieve sinusitis symptoms, don't overdo caffeine or alcohol. Both can make you dehydrated. Alcohol can worsen sinus swelling. Aim for eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water or other healthy drinks each day.
It's also called nasal irrigation, and it can help keep your sinuses clean and clear. To do this right, use a mild, sterile saline solution to flush out the mucus and allergens causing your congestion.
- Lean over the sink.
- Squirt the solution into one nostril.
- Let it drain through your nose cavity and out the other nostril.
- Keep your mouth open and don't breathe through your nose.
Many people find sinus relief through a saline nasal wash, but it does require some preparation. You can find a lot of these supplies at most drug stores, including
- rinse bottles,
- bulb syringes, and
- neti pots.
You can buy a pre-filled container or make your own saline solution.
Nasal Saline Solution Recipe
To make your own nasal saline solution, follow this simple recipe:
- 16 ounces of sterile water (about a pint)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
Simply mix the lukewarm, sterile water with the salt. Some people add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to take the sting out of the salt, but this ingredient is optional.
When you have sinusitis, you may be wondering where your symptoms are actually coming from. That would be your sinuses, which are air-filled pockets found throughout your face. They are located
- below the surface of your cheeks,
- behind your forehead and eyebrows,
- on either side of the bridge of your nose, and
- behind your nose.
They can get clogged easily. Healthy sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps
- germs, and
- other air particles.
Ideally, tiny hair-like cilia on the nasal lining cells sweep mucus and anything trapped in it out of the sinuses, down the back of your throat, and into the stomach.
If you find yourself frequently dealing with sinus pain and sinus pressure, finding the cause is an important step toward finding sinus relief. Any time the tissue in your nose and sinuses gets swollen and inflamed, it can lead to sinus problems. Here are a few sinus problem causes to consider:
Pretty much anything that causes swelling in your sinuses or keeps the nasal cells' cilia from sweeping away mucus can cause problems.
Allergies are one of the more common causes of sinus pressure and pain. You can't completely eliminate allergies, but you can avoid the allergens that cause them. Common sinus-stuffing allergens include
- pet dander,
- dust mites, and
If you don't know what allergens are setting off your sinus problems, try consulting an allergist. Allergists are physicians who specialize in identifying allergy triggers and treating allergies.
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- Marc Grimberg / Tips Italia
- Steve West / Digital Vision
- Brayden Knell / WebMD
- Brayden Knell / WebMD
- Colin Anderson / Blend Images, Craig Zuckerman / Phototake
- Illustration by dieKLEINERT/Doc-Stock, photography from Getty and Photo Researchers
- Lyle Owerko / Photonica
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Saline Sinus Rinse Recipe.”
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “When to See an Allergist.”
- American Family Physician: “Sinus Infections (Sinusitis).”
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “Control Indoor Allergens to Improve Indoor Air Quality.”
- Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy: “Sinusitis and Allergy.”
- CDC: “Heat Stress Hydration,” “Sinus Infection (Sinusitis).”
- FDA: “Is Rinsing Your Sinuses With Neti Pots Safe?”
- International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology: “Occupational and Environmental Risk Factors for Chronic Rhinosinusitis: A Systematic Review.”
- StatPearls: “Anatomy, Head and Neck, Nose Paranasal Sinuses.”