Sinus infections are often confused with colds, the flu and in some cases allergies. They present similar symptoms that often resolve within several days to weeks after onset. However, when the sinus cavities in the head and nasal region swell and become inflamed, mucus thickens and becomes trapped within the moist membranes. Pressure build and pain are common and tend to feel more severe in the nose, forehead, and center face areas.
Severe sinus pain is debilitating and can make every waking and sleeping moment difficult. Managing the discomfort is not always easy and while many are reluctant to seek out medical attention initially, proper treatment is often always necessary by sinus doctors in Los Angeles to alleviate symptoms and facilitate breathing comfort.
If you experience periodic or frequent sinus infections or suspect you have sinusitis, consider the following tactics to make symptoms more tolerable until you see an ENT or sinus doctor who specializes in these issues like our expert Dr. Alen Cohen.
What Causes Severe Sinus Pain?
Severe sinus pain and pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, including sinus infections, allergies, nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis, and structural damage or irregularities within the nose or sinus cavities. Allergies can also cause severe inflammation in the sinuses, leading to similar symptoms. Nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths in the nasal passages, can block the sinuses and cause severe pain and pressure. Chronic sinusitis is a condition in which the sinuses become inflamed and blocked for long periods of time, leading to severe pain, pressure, and other symptoms.
Symptoms of Sinus Pain and Pressure
Many living with sinusitis find it challenging to manage their symptoms, especially when severe sinus pain and pressure around the eyes, cheeks, forehead, and nose and are present. Although everyone experiences sinusitis differently, the following symptoms are common.
- Nasal congestion or stuffiness
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Nasal discharge
- Decreased ability to smell or taste
- Ear fullness or pain
- Bad breath
- Hoarse voice
- Tooth, mouth, or jaw pain
- Fever or chills
These symptoms vary greatly and can occur independently of others or as clusters. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they are severe or persistent or become worse, contact the sinus doctor in Los Angeles at Southern California Sinus Institute, Dr. Alen Cohen, for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How to Treat Sinus Pain
As troublesome and uncomfortable as sinus pain can be, many people experiencing symptoms often resort to self-care and drugstore remedies before getting medical attention. Below are some strategies some sinus sufferers rely on to alleviate their discomfort before seeking ENT treatment.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate sinus pain. Decongestants can help reduce nasal congestion and relieve sinus pressure. Antihistamines can also treat allergic reactions, which sometimes contribute to sinus pain. These products often provide temporary relief and are meant for short-term use. Long-term use can cause symptoms to rebound and worsen.
- Flushing and rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution can help restore moisture to dry, irritated membranes to reduce inflammation and remove mucus to improve breathing comfort. Popular nasal rinse and flushing devices include sprays, neti pots, and saline irrigation devices.
- Steam inhalation helps open the nasal passages to alleviate sinus pressure. Many people use the steam from hot baths, showers, or a bowl of hot water.
- Humidifiers improve and maintain moisture to indoor air to keep the nasal passages from drying out.
- Hot or cold compresses placed on the face can provide some relief from sinus pain and pressure.
- Allergies can trigger sinus infections in some individuals. Avoiding allergens and irritants helps reduce the risk of sinus infections, pain, and pressure.
Because sinus infections, pain, and pressure are also caused by physical issues within the nasal airways, medical treatment is often necessary. ENT care that may include prescription medications, medical procedures, and surgery. Treatment is determined on a case-by-case basis. A medical evaluation is necessary to rule out other issues for a proper diagnosis so patients can learn suitable treatment options.
How Do Sinus Doctors in Los Angeles like Dr. Alen Cohen Treat Severe Sinus Pain?
Initial treatments for severe sinus pain and pressure include a combination of medications and other therapies, including antibiotics, decongestants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and nasal irrigation. In some cases, medical or surgical procedures are required to treat the underlying cause and stop symptoms.
Below are common ENT procedures used to treat severe sinus pain infections.
Minimally Invasive Image Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or MIGSS is an advanced variation of endoscopic sinus surgery that doesn’t require incisions. The procedure improves breathing and relieves sinus symptoms caused by chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, and other conditions. MIGSS provides fast sinus pain, pressure and symptom relief and is ideal for individuals experiencing facial pain, headaches, and drainage from the nose and sinuses.
Minimally invasive image guided endoscopic sinus surgery is highly accurate and preserves more healthy sinus tissues, so patients experience less post-operational discomfort. MIGSS has a higher success rate, faster recovery times, less pain, and fewer complications than traditional sinus surgery.
In-Office Endoscopic Sinus Surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which Dr. Alen Cohen uses an endoscope to view and access the sinuses with special medical instruments to correct sinus blockages or remove abnormal tissue like obstructions and nasal polyps.
Image-guided sinus surgery and MIGSS are not suitable for every patient. A medical evaluation by an ENT specialist is necessary to determine the most suitable procedure for patients.
Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure that is performed with a small balloon catheter to widen the airways and open blocked sinus passages. Balloon sinuplasty is minimally invasive and highly effective at treating nasal blockages and congestion and alleviating sinus pain for patients with symptoms of chronic sinusitis. It is the most commonly recommended procedure by Dr. Cohen and patients can have it done under local anesthesia in less than an hour and be back to normal activity the next day with no pain.
Conventional Sinus Surgery, also known as endoscopic sinus surgery, is a more invasive procedure that requires incisions to improve airflow and reduce congestion and sinus pressure and pain. Traditional sinus surgery is performed with an endoscope and surgical instruments to remove the diseased nasal and sinus tissues to widen the nasal airways. The procedure is often recommended for individuals experiencing severe sinusitis. This type of surgery is typically used for individuals with severe or chronic cases of sinusitis, extensive nasal polyps, etc. Conventional endoscopic sinus surgery is more invasive than MIGSS and balloon sinuplasty and has a longer recovery time.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that repairs defects in the wall that separates the nostrils, also known as the nasal septum. A deviated septum is a common cause of blockages of the nose that prevents proper airflow. Septoplasty alleviates congestion, pain, pressure buildup and other sinus symptoms that make it difficult to breathe freely. In patients with noticeably or severely crooked septum, septoplasty may also improve the appearance of the nose.
If you are experiencing severe sinus pain and pressure, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our expert sinus doctor in Los Angeles at Southern California Sinus Institute, Dr. Alen Cohen, to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for relief.