Sinusitis is the medical term for when the tissue lining the sinus cavities becomes inflamed and swollen. Four paired spaces in the head make up the paranasal sinuses, lying beneath the facial bones. The sinuses produce a supply of watery mucus that drains from the sinuses and out the nose, serving to cleanse the nose. However, the sinuses can become obstructed and fill with fluid, causing a bacterial infection.
5 Symptoms of Sinusitis
Much of the mucus that drains from the sinus cavities is unconsciously swallowed. However, when mucus drains down the back of the throat, often requiring excessive throat clearing or swallowing, this is referred to as post-nasal drip. This drainage can also cause a sore throat and the sensation of something stuck in the throat.
Post-nasal drip is a reliable indicator that something is amiss with the sinuses. Individuals experiencing it should consider visiting a sinus specialist in New Jersey to ensure there isn’t a cause that needs to be addressed with antibiotics.
2. Nasal Congestion
The inability to breathe air through the nasal passages is another symptom worth noting. While the inflammation of the sinus and nasal cavities causing difficulty breathing could be due to a common cold, congestion lasting longer than 10-14 days could have a bacterial infection at the root. Congestion can also be related to allergies, where irritation causes the sinuses to become inflamed.
3. Facial Pain
As the sinus cavities lie under the delicate bones of the face, feeling pressure and facial pain can be a clue that the sinuses are inflamed. There are four differentiated sinus cavities, known as the paranasal sinuses, and each kind has a partner opposite it. Within the frontal bone of the skull are the frontal sinuses. These are positioned close to the center of the forehead, above the eyebrows.
Below the eyes, under the cheekbones, the maxillary sinuses are located. The placement of these cavities is why tapping on the cheekbones is often painful when the sinuses are inflamed. Next, the sphenoid sinuses are positioned on the side of the head, set slightly in front of the ear. Finally, the ethmoid sinuses are located inside the ethmoid bone and consist of anterior, middle, and posterior cavities.
While numerous factors can cause headaches, when a throbbing head is accompanied by drainage, congestion, and facial tenderness, sinus inflammation may be the culprit. The pressure and swelling that irritated sinuses cause can create sinus headaches that linger until the sinus problem has been resolved.
5. Ear Pain
An ear infection can cause ear pain and pressure, but that isn’t always the cause of the patient’s discomfort. Many patients have visited their healthcare practitioner for what they believed to be an ear infection, only to find out they had sinus inflammation or a bacterial sinus infection instead. The location of the sphenoid sinuses in front of the ear means that when the sinus cavities become inflamed, they can cause inner ear pain and pressure.
Sinus inflammation and sinus infections share symptoms with numerous medical issues. In addition, sinus inflammation can be a symptom of other, more severe problems. By learning what normal behavior for their bodies is, individuals can notice changes quickly and address any medical issues before they escalate.