Each year, millions of Americans suffer from severe sinus infections with painful symptoms of nasal congestion, facial pressure, and headaches. Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox is offering a free program that will inform area residents about the causes and treatments for sinus pressure.
Sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones between your eyes, behind your cheekbone, and in the forehead. Sinuses generate mucus, which helps keep the inside of your nose moist. “If the tissue in your nose is swollen from a cold, allergies, or environmental causes, it can block the sinus passages,” said Ankit Patel, M.D. “Then your sinuses can’t drain, and you may feel discomfort.”
Common Sinus Problems
Sinus Blockages: Each sinus has a narrow opening, called the transition space, which drains any fluid. If a blockage occurs, mucus backs up.
Deviated Nasal Septum: Another common issue is a deviated nasal septum, which is the thin wall of bone and cartilage inside your nasal cavity that separates your two nasal passages. Ideally, your septum is in the center of your nose, equally separating the two sides. But in many people, the septum is positioned to one side, making one nasal passage smaller than the other. A deviated septum is one reason some people have sinus issues, which can also lead to obstructed breathing and snoring.
Narrow Sinuses: More often, people just have variations in their anatomy that creates a longer, narrower path for the transition spaces to drain. This may lead to recurrent infections.
Sinus Sensitivity and Allergies: Finally, some people are sensitive to tobacco smoke, dust particles and foods. This sensitivity triggers a dilation of blood vessels in the nose, which may releases chemicals from cells in the nose that cause swelling.
If you suffer from sinus problems, try these tips to prevent future occurrences:
- Apply a warm, cloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
- Consume a lot of fluids to thin the mucus.
- Inhale steam two to three times per day.
- Use a nasal saline spray several times a day.
- Clean the nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot using distilled water.
- Try a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe to help open sinuses.
- Try antihistamines and decongestants. Oral decongestants should be avoided by cardiac patients.
Finally, if you have recurrent sinus problems, you might talk to a physician about surgery to clean and drain the sinuses or outpatient balloon sinuplasty.
The inflammation of the sinuses is one of the most common problems doctors treat. Join Dr. Ankit Patel, ear, nose, throat, head and neck surgeon, Tuesday, March 10 to learn more about the latest medications and outpatient surgical treatments to alleviate sinus symptoms and pain. The free Aches & Pains: Sinus Pressure program will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. This talk is part of an Aches & Pains Lecture Series which also includes an upcoming seminar on low back pain March 31. All participants will receive a gift bag that includes a complimentary low back screening performed by a physician with Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, and other items to help you stay active. Register to attend at online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).