A lot of t people have experienced sinus pain and pressure at some point in their lives and most recover without any prescribed medications. But there are a number of natural sinus pain remedies that can offer relief, whether your symptoms are due to the common cold, allergies, or a sinus infection (sinusitis).
The sinuses are hollow pockets within the bones surrounding the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen due to inflammation, it can block the sinuses and cause pain, congestion, post-nasal drip, a cough, and tooth or facial pain. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting up to four weeks, usually after a cold, or it can be chronic, lasting for months or even years with or without symptoms. Allergies, nasal problems, and certain conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, can also cause acute and chronic sinusitis, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:
Nasal irrigation is very effective at relieving nasal congestion and irritation. Saline irrigation simply means gently flushing out your nasal passages with a saline solution. You can do this with special squeeze bottles, bulb syringes, or a neti pot.
A neti pot is an inexpensive apparatus that looks like Aladdin’s lamp. The saline mixture is available prepackaged. You can also make your own by following these steps:
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sea salt or pickling salt in 1 pint of distilled, sterilized, or filtered water. Don’t use table salt, which usually contains additives.
- Add a pinch of baking soda to the mixture
You will want to irrigate your sinuses while standing over a sink or basin to capture the liquid. Pour, spray, or squirt a liberal amount of the solution into one nostril while tilting your head so it flows out the other nostril. Do this with each nostril. It also flushes away bacteria and irritants.
Be sure to thoroughly clean your neti pot after each use as bacteria can build up inside. In addition, never use straight tap water as this may contain bacteria that can infect your sinuses. If you do use tap water, be sure to boil it beforehand.
Take a Steam
Hot water vapor can help moisten the sinuses. “Sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol in the shower and steam up your bathroom,” Dr. Graham suggests. “A hot, steamy shower or bath can also help to loosen up mucus and debris that is stuck inside your nose,” says Sam S. Rizk, MD, a New York City-based ear, nose, and throat doctor and facial plastic surgeon.
Staying hydrated helps your body in many ways, including keeping your sinuses moist. Drink water throughout the day, and make sure to steer clear of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration, Graham says. Although recommended fluid intake differs from person to person, an easy guideline is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. How can you tell if you are getting enough fluids? “If the color of your urine is clear, you are hydrated,” Graham says.
Spice it up
Spicy foods such as mustard, hot peppers, curry, horseradish, and wasabi may help clear sinuses, Graham says. If you like spice, consider adding some “hot” spices to your meals to open your nasal passages.
It’s not an old wives’ tale. A number of studies support the benefits of chicken soup in helping ease congestion. One 2000 study found that chicken soup reduces inflammation associated with sinus congestion and colds.
So what’s the secret? Scientists haven’t identified the active ingredient in chicken soup, but they speculate that the steam combined with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the soup’s ingredients are what help clear the sinuses…
Warm and cold compresses
Rotating warm and cold compresses on your sinuses should also help.
- Lay back with a warm compress draped across your nose, cheeks, and forehead for three minutes.
- Remove the warm compress and replace it with a cold compress for 30 seconds.
- Do this two to three times.
You can repeat this process two to six times each day.
Turmeric / Ginger Root
Turmeric root is a wonderful, fragrant spice commonly found in Indian and some Middle eastern dishes. Not only does Turmeric contain the natural anti-inflammatory curcumin, this spice is also an anti-oxidant. When combined with spicy ginger root and brewed for hot tea, this combination can help loosen mucus from clogged nasal passages, alleviate sinus pressure, and make you feel better all around. Ginger root also has the added bonus of calming an upset stomach – a frequent side-effect of excessive nighttime sinus drainage.
When to visit your doctor
It’s time to see your doctor if you experience:
- symptoms that last longer than 10 days
- a fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher
- symptoms that get worse, including a spike in your fever or increased greenish nasal discharge
- changes in vision
You should also see a doctor if you have asthma or emphysema or you take medications that suppress your immune system.
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