Sinus pain, pressure and headaches are caused by inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis). Sinuses are cavities or spaces of air within the bones that help moisten air and secrete mucus. Inflammation and swelling of the mucus membranes lining the sinuses makes it hard for mucus to drain and increases the pressure in the sinuses. Sinus problems often begin with allergies like hay fever, infections or colds.
Sinusitis affects us in a variety of unpleasant ways:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Facial pressure or pain
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Pain in your upper teeth
- Postnasal drainage
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from sinusitis. Help soothe your sinusitis symptoms and relieve sinus pain or pressure with these 15 natural remedies.
1. Hydrate - drink plenty of liquids
Drink plenty of water and fluids such as sports drinks and fruit juices. Dehydration can intensify sinus pain, dry out and irritate sinus passages and increase the sinus pressure you are feeling. Hydration helps break up congestion and keeps your throat moist to avoid a sore throat.
2. Hydrate some more - consume foods with high water content
In addition to hydrating with beverages, focus on foods that hydrate such as broth soups for important nutrients. Chicken noodle soup has been found to be one of the most effective foods for clearing nasal mucus.
Add plenty of fruits (strawberries, apricots, blueberries, oranges, peaches, pineapples, plums, raspberries, watermelons, grapes, cantaloupes and lemons) containing over 80% water to your diet. And eat vegetables (celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomato and zucchini) containing over 90% water.
3. Use a warm compress
A warm compress (heat therapy) is an excellent way to quickly and effectively relieve sinus pressure and pain. Apply a hot compress over the nose and forehead to relieve sinus pressure and nasal congestion and soothe a sinus headache. A flexible, microwavable heating pad may be more comforting than a wet, dripping wash rag as a natural remedy for headache.
The Huggaroo Soothe warm compress wraps comfortably around your head. The velcro patch in the back allows you to secure it snuggly around your scalp and deliver soothing heat to the sinuses, eye lids, and temples. The gentle, snug pressure of the wrap feels wonderful and the heat therapy it provides helps open the nasal and sinus passages. This wrap is an excellent home remedy for sinus pressure and pain relief. It can also be used for migraine relief, tension headache relief, and sinus headache relief. The Huggaroo Soothe microwavable heating pad is available unscented (in grey or black) or with lavender aromatherapy (in blue).
4. Use steam
Breathe steam from a bowl of hot water heated on the stove or in the microwave. If you would like it to be even more convenient, you could purchase a personal steamer like the Vicks Personal Steam Inhaler VIH200.
A cost-effective, convenient way to inhale steam is to heat up your shower a little more than usual. Stay a little longer in your morning hot shower and clear your nasal passages while relaxing. This moist air and humidity can loosen up your stuffy nose, moisten inflamed sinus passages and thin out mucus.
5. Use a humidifier
Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your bedroom and reduce sinus pressure. Pure Enrichment has a highly rated humidifier with over 23,000 reviews on Amazon. Make sure and consistently clean out your humidifier with vinegar to prevent mold buildup and keep your air clean.
6. Use saline wash
Saline wash can be made at home with baking soda, distilled water (instead of tap water) and iodine free salt or purchased as a Sinus Rinse. Irrigate your sinuses with a salt-water rinse or saline solution as an anti inflammatory remedy. A bulb syringe can be used or you can gently pour the saline rinse in your nose with a cup.
Using a Neti Pot is another way to wash out your sinuses and relieve facial pain and ease sinus pressure from allergies or a common cold. A saline spray can also help clear out sinuses and reduce swelling. Arm & Hammer makes a wonderful Saline Nasal Spray which moistens the nasal passages and flushes out irritants.
Get plenty of rest and focus on being cozy when suffering with sinus pain. Take time to lie down, cover up with a comfy blanket, take a healing nap. It is also important to get a good night’s sleep to help your body fight off infection. When you are relaxing, your body produces more white blood cells to help attack viruses and bacteria.
8. Drink hot liquids
Drink hot liquids such as herbal teas or a hot toddy (honey and bourbon or whisky) to soothe the irritated lining of your nose and relieve congestion. Herbal teas are made from dried flowers, fruits, herbs and spices and come in a variety of flavors. Healthline explains the benefits of 10 healthy herbal teas you should try.
9. Apply a salve or an ointment
Open up nasal passages with a salve or ointment of menthol, eucalyptus or camphor dabbed under your nose. Our favorite one is the Mentholatum Original Ointment. The soothing aroma helps you relax and the vapors provide soothing comfort to stuffy noses.
10. (Gently) blow your nose
Just remember to be gentle so you do not cause damage to your ear passages and cause an earache. Always press one nostril closed before blowing the other side.
11. Hum daily
The New York Times recently published an article titled Humming Away Sinus Pain, sharing that humming helps increase airflow between the sinus and nasal cavities. Daily humming is recommended to reduce sinus problems.
12. Exercise. Do yoga
Yoga and gentle exercise can reduce sinus pressure by increasing blood circulation and temporarily relieving congestion. Check out some yoga poses, which can provide sinus pressure relief, recommended by the Yoga Journal.
Meditate and practice mindfulness to relieve pain and help you relax for faster healing and recovery. Researchers at the University of Minnesota suggest that mindfulness can help us decrease repetitive thinking, increase our sense of acceptance for unpleasant sensations, induce relaxation responses and decrease our stress.
14. Elevate your head
Elevation improves sleep when struggling with sinus pain. Prop up with a wedge pillow or multiple pillows at night to help relieve pressure and clear nasal passages for easier breathing and better sleep.
15. Eat Spicy Foods
Taste of Home shares that spicy foods, garlic, and mint can help with stuffy noses. Capsaicin can reduce inflammation, ease sinus pressure and release mucus. Garlic is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and can help reduce congestion. The menthol in mint stimulates nerve receptors in your nasal passage.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
Sometimes sinus problems turn into sinus infections if not treated. Sinus infections affect over 35 million people in the US every year. Sinus infections are caused when germs grow in the fluid buildup of stuffy sinuses.
These infections can come from viruses or bacteria. If you have fever, chills or achy muscles, greenish-yellow nasal drainage, postnasal drainage, cough yellow sputum, or swollen lymph nodes seek medical care. If symptoms last more than 10 days without improving or if you have a fever longer than 3-4 days it is time to call your doctor.
Are there any preventive steps that I can take?
- Avoid triggers such as smoking, secondhand smoke and pollution in order to prevent sinus pressure issues and pain.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your bedroom.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get your allergies under control as much as possible.
- Avoid upper respiratory infections by minimizing contact with people who have colds and other upper respiratory illnesses, abide by social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.