Many factors can lead to sinus pressure. While the condition is not life-threatening or chronic, it can be an irritating and sometimes painful experience. Mucus congestion can cause throbbing headaches or heavy pressure behind the eyes. Luckily, the commonality of sinus pressure means there are many ways to prevent it.
Increase the Humidity
The sinuses become congested when dry, thick mucus gathers in the back of the nose or throat and blocks the body’s nasal drainage system. Increased humidity can help thin the mucus and shift it, opening this essential passage. Taking a warm shower or breathing in steam with your head over a bowl can have rapid benefits, as can drinking hot fluids such as tea or hot soup.
Using a Salt Spray
Saline rinses can work wonders to prevent or relieve blocked sinuses. Sprays, squeeze bottles, neti pots, and bulb syringe kits are all easily available and affordable. Be sure to follow the instructions when using, as the nasal passages are sensitive and require distilled water and specific quantities of salt.
Add Spice to Your Diet
Spicy foods are a popular option for opening nasal passages. Wasabi, horseradish, and even chilis can relieve sinus headaches. Researchers around the world are interested in capsaicin, a component found in chilis, which has been found to have pain relief properties.
Avoid Certain Triggers
Alcohol can aggravate mucus congestion, which is why our throats often feel dry after drinking too much. Other triggers that can jumpstart sinus pressure include household fungi and dust, and chlorine in swimming pools. By avoiding alcohol if you’re not feeling well and frequently washing bedding, you may be able to reduce or completely prevent a sinus flare-up.
Place a Hot Washcloth Over Face
Applying heat to the sinuses can relieve pressure as well. Run a washcloth under hot water and wring it out. Lie down and place the cloth over your face until it cools. This technique helps to dilate the sinuses which will loosen the mucus and clear your airways for a time.
Alternate Between Compresses
Alternating between hot and cold can also alleviate sinus pressure. After placing the hot towel over your face for a few minutes, remove the heat and replace it with a cold compress for a shorter period. Repeat this step a few times, and the whole process a few times a day for lasting relief.
Traditional Chinese medicine has used acupressure to treat colds and sinus problems for centuries. Although the benefits do not have much scientific backing, some people swear by it. Acupressure requires nothing more than applying firm but gentle pressure to specific points on the body to relieve associated ailments. Points at the bridge and sides of the nose and the base of the cheekbones can ease sinus pressure.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils such as peppermint and lavender are often used to open up the airways. Simply add a couple of drops of the chosen oil to a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam. You can also use a mist inhaler or place drops of oil on your pillow at night to ease pressure while you sleep.
Although it may sound strange, singing or humming can help prevent congestion. Researchers discovered that humming could keep the sinuses clear, thanks to the increase in airflow, which expands the airways, making it harder for the mucus to thicken up. Humming is also gentler on the throat than coughing.
Make Sure to Get Enough Rest
Concentration and sleep can both take a serious hit when you’re dealing with sinus pressure and nasal congestion. Therefore, when you’re feeling unwell, it’s important to rest more than usual and not to overexert yourself, as this will only make symptoms worse and draw out the recovery. Sleep is one of the best ways to get over a cold or infection; it helps our bodies restore energy and immune system function.