Having a sinus infection is bad enough, but when you have sinus pain to go with it, it can seem unbearable. The tenderness can spread to your jaws and even your neck. Also, it can cause headaches.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer through it. There are easy, natural remedies that can help you find relief from your pain. Keep reading to find out more about what causes sinus pain and 15 natural hacks for relieving it.
What Causes Sinus Pain?
Sinus pain comes from rhinosinusitis, more commonly called a sinus infection. This infection of the nasal passages can make them inflamed, infected, and painful. The condition primarily stems from a virus but can also be caused by bacteria or fungi. Occasionally it can be caused by nasal polyps.
It’s characterized by an overly stuffy nose, mucus drainage, and a runny nose. A sinus infection can also cause tooth pain, bad breath, headaches, facial pain, and so much more. Sometimes it can be confused with a common cold, but there are subtle differences.
It’s truly a miserable experience. However, don’t worry! The 15 hacks below will help.
15 Natural Hacks for Beating Sinus Pain
1. Do a saline rinse.
A saline rinse is a great way to clear mucus, germs, and other debris from your nasal passages. Using a saline rinse is sometimes called nasal irrigation. You can buy a bottle of the saline mix, or you can make your own at home. When doing this, you must use sterile water, not tap water! Tap water isn’t completely filtered and may have bacteria or other organisms that can enter your nose, make you sick, and possibly kill you.
Some people use a neti pot. A neti pot is essentially a “teapot” or “cup” looking device that funnels irrigating liquid into your nostrils. However, they can be a little more effective at rinsing out mucus.
2. Elevate your head when you sleep.
If you’re suffering from a sinus infection, you probably want to lay down and rest. However, lying down flat can make your congestion worse.
When you lay down, more blood and fluid can flow to your head. However, the blood and fluid can irritate the inflammation in your nose, making you even more stuffy and in pain. The simple solution is to elevate your head as much as you can while still being comfortable.
3. Inhaling steam works.
If you’ve ever taken a hot shower while you were congested, you probably noticed that your congestion cleared up while in the shower. It may have even stayed clear for a little while aftershowering. That’s because the steam helps to clear congestion.
Steam is nearly warm, moist air. This water vapor moistens your nasal passages and breaks up the mucus. This leads to your congestion (and your pain) easing up for a while.
4. Yoga helps.
In general, almost any type of exercise can offer some relief to congestion. However, some yoga poses help to drain the mucus from your nostrils. This leads to congestion relief and some pain relief.
Depending on how much pain you’re in, you may not be up to doing yoga or any exercise. However, if you can find a way to somewhat do a pose with your head angled down, this can help dramatically. You may even feel more relaxed and at peace afterward.
5. Avoid dairy products.
Doctors often tell people who suffer from chronic sinusitis to skip eating dairy products. Scientists and researchers are not quite sure why dairy irritates sinuses, but there are a couple of theories floating around.
One theory is that many people don’t realize they have a sensitivity or allergy to dairy products. Another view is that milk encourages the production of mucus. No matter which theory is correct, it’s clear that if you skip eating dairy, it could cut out congestion and pain.
6. Acupressure is amazing.
Acupressure is a form of acupuncture without the needles. This is an ancient Chinese healing method that produces impressive results. The good news is that you can perform this acupressure move on yourself at home.
There are two pressure points where your nose meets your cheeks – one on each side. These points are called “Welcome Fragrance” (LI-20) in the acupressure world. Apply pressure with your index fingers for three minutes and wait for your congestion and pain relief.
7. Use powerful herbs.
Aromatic herbs are one of the best natural solutions to sinusitis. They contain volatile oils that help break up mucus, and they can also kill the very germs that caused your stuffy nose in the first place. Plus, they’re cheap, and you probably already have some in your kitchen.
Some of the best herbs to use are:
- Calamus Root
You can make them into teas, tinctures, and soups. Some of them, like thyme, sage, eucalyptus, and mint, could even be used as a facial rub.
8. Lay off the alcohol.
If you already have a sinus infection, alcohol can make it worse even if you aren’t intolerant to it. Alcohol dehydrates you, so this can cause inflammation and pain worse. Avoid alcohol until your sinus infection goes away.
In some rare cases, alcohol could be the source of congestion and sinus pain. Some people are intolerant to alcohol. If this is you, you probably already know to avoid alcohol.
9. Apply heat.
Heat is always an excellent remedy for any pain. Applying heat to your nostrils is a great way to warm mucus. It has the same effect as a hot shower. This breaks it up and makes it easier to blow it out.
Try placing a warm, wet washcloth over your eyes and nostrils for a few minutes. Switch it out for a cold compress for a few minutes. Continue alternating between these and repeat this several times daily.
10. Avoid certain foods.
Dairy was already discussed as a food group you should avoid when you have sinusitis. There are other foods that can worsen congestion.
Sugar is one of those foods. Sugar has inflammatory properties. In fact, sugar could be the cause of your inflammation in the first place.
Spicy foods are another culprit. The spiciness makes your body feel like it’s “under attack”, so your body produces histamines that cause inflammation. It’s a way for your body to protect itself, but it doesn’t feel great.
Other foods to avoid while you have sinusitis are nuts, red meat, and anything with a lot of gluten.
11. Get some sleep.
Sleep is as essential to your body as drinking water. While you sleep, your mind, body, and spirit go through a healing process. This may sound a little too deep for sinusitis, but without sleep, your body won’t have the energy it needs to get better.
Remember to elevate your head while you sleep. Make sure you’re as comfortable as possible and get as much rest as you can.
12. Clear the air.
You’d be surprised at the level of impurities found indoors. Dust, dander, dead skin, mold spores, and more can be floating around in the air around your home. All of this can either make you congested or make your congestion worse.
One significant indicator of air quality problems is if you walk outdoors and your congestion suddenly goes away. This means that the environment inside your home is making you sick. You can clear the air by keeping filters changed when they need to be and using an air purifier and possibly a humidifier.
13. Use apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is one of those home remedies that has been passed down through generations. Great grandmothers everywhere likely use apple cider vinegar to heal almost everything. One thing is for sure – apple cider vinegar is excellent for relieving congestion.
According to naturopathic doctor, Dr. Penelope McDonnell, you don’t need much. She recommends dissolving a tablespoon in eight ounces of water, each morning. If you can’t stand the taste, try adding a tablespoon to a cup of tea with lemon. Dr. McDonnell cautions that some people can’t tolerate this–especially those with gut health issues.
14. Stay hydrated.
The congestion and pain from sinusitis most often come from the fact that your nostrils are dry and inflamed. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that a lot of these remedies involve water or water vapor. Hydrating your nostrils is essential to healing from sinusitis.
However, if your body is dehydrated, the water vapor remedies aren’t going to do much good. You must drink water while you’re sick. This shouldn’t be hard since you should be drinking water several times a day anyway.
15. Use essential oils.
It makes sense that essential oils would be an excellent treatment for sinusitis because they’re made from many of the herbs that have been suggested. These oils can fight bacteria and relieve information as you inhale the aromas. They work wonders if you use them in hot, steamy baths (and they’ll relax you also).
Many of these herbs/oils contain compounds that help break up mucus. For example, peppermint contains menthol, which helps to unclog the mucus receptors. Eucalyptus has cineole, which proves to improve headaches and runny noses.
Sinus pain is not something you want to deal with when you’re already dealing with a cold. The problem can be in so many different places, and it may seem almost relentless. Instead of filling your body with a bunch of chemicals from modern medicines, you should try some of these natural remedies from the list.
The great thing about natural remedies (besides them being natural) is that they’re inexpensive, and you likely already have what you need at home to try them. You don’t need to set up an expensive and time-consuming doctor visit, and you don’t have to wait in line at the pharmacy. At this point, you have nothing to lose, so pick your favorites from the list and give them a try.