Do you often feel congested and have difficulty breathing? Is your face tender to touch, especially around your nose? If so, you may have sinus issues.
The CDC estimates that 28.9 million Americans suffer from diagnosed sinusitis, or the inflammation of their sinuses. While it may be a common condition, that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant, and difficulty breathing is just one of the many symptoms.
But what causes a sinus infection? And how can you go about treating it and getting your sinuses back to how they should be?
Keep reading for a guide that will help you identify and treat any sinus issues that may be plaguing you.
Symptoms of Sinus Issues
As mentioned, most people recognize that they have a sinus infection when they have difficulty breathing for a long period of time. However, there are some other symptoms that you’ll want to watch out for as well.
Many people who have colds think that they have a sinus infection. This is because many of the symptoms are the same. Facial pains, headaches, congestion, and runny noses are all common, as are postnasal drip and coughing.
However, while the common cold will disappear on its own, a sinus infection might not. Many times, bacteria are behind the problem, which means that you may require a specialized treatment plan in order to get everything back to normal.
Causes of Sinus Problems
So if you think that you have a sinus infection, what caused it? How can prevent yourself from getting another infection in the future?
Here are three things that might be the culprit.
Seasonal allergies can be debilitating, especially during the height of allergy season. Pollen, dust mites, and animal dander are some of the most common allergens. Depending on their severity, they may be behind your sinus issues.
When your body comes in contact with a foreign substance that it doesn’t recognize, it produces antibodies that then deem the substance to be a threat, even though in most cases, allergens aren’t problematic.
This immune response leads to inflammation, which can, in turn, lead to blocked nasal passages that can’t drain.
Although a cold and sinus infection are two different conditions, it is possible for a cold to lead to sinus issues.
Colds can produce serious reactions in people, and if one lasts for a long time, it can create problems that don’t easily disappear. Aside from the usual runny nose and sore throat, it can lead to more serious issues, such as infection.
Your body might not be able to get rid of the infection on its own, which can cause sinus problems that require medical treatment.
Many people don’t realize that they live in homes or apartments that can cause their sinuses to become inflamed.
If you can’t remember the last time someone cleaned your HVAC system, your air ducts may have a build-up of particles. Aside from increasing your energy bills, you may be pumping dust and allergens around your home, exacerbating any sinus issues.
The same goes for changing your air filters. If you wait too long to change them, you end up pumping the dirt and particles around your home and into your sinuses.
How to Treat Sinus Issues
Regardless of which problem led to you developing a sinus infection, you want to make sure that you can resolve the issue before it becomes more serious. Depending on your symptoms, there are some different treatment methods that you can try.
As mentioned, one of the major causes of sinus issues is a blockage that prevents mucus from draining. Using a nasal spray can give your body the jumpstart it needs to drain everything.
Nasal decongestant sprays help to reduce any inflammation in your nasal passages, thereby allowing everything to flow as it should.
Antihistamines are an over-the-counter method of treatment that many people find to be helpful at resolving sinus problems. They work to limit the effects of the inflammation caused by your body’s immune response.
In doing this, your body is more effective at getting rid of the allergens that are plaguing your system. This helps unblock swollen sinus passages.
Keep in mind that antihistamines often make people drowsy.
It might sound crazy, but some sinus problems can stem from alignment issues with your back and spine. In that case, consider working with a chiropractor for sinus issues.
If you hold your neck in an unnatural position for too long (as many of us do), you can end up with a buildup of pressure in your head. This can lead to breathing issues, headaches, and other symptoms.
Hildebrand Chiropractic is one example of an office that can help alleviate sinus problems that have structural origins. Visit their homepage for more information.
In extreme cases, over-the-counter drugs and sprays may not be enough to help clear your sinus passages. In that case, you may have to turn to surgery.
Doctors can use surgery to open up nasal passages, fix bone defects that affect your sinuses, and treat you in many other ways. After the surgery, you’ll go home that same day with healthy sinuses that drain as they should.
Don’t Let Chronic Sinus Issues Hold You Back
If you suffer from sinus issues that don’t seem to want to abate, know that there are solutions. Consider the cause that might be behind the problem, then get to work treating your sinus issues so that you can breathe without difficulty again.
Do you now have a better idea of how to identify and treat chronic sinus issues? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other posts for more guides on how to live your healthiest and happiest life.