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Facial and Sinus Pain

by
author image Emily DeSerio
Emily DeSerio has been a freelance writer since November 2009. DeSerio works in the mental health field as a clinical social worker. She began her higher level education at the University of South Florida (USF) with a B.A. in English and went on to complete a Master of Social Work degree at USF as well.
Facial and Sinus Pain
A woman has a sinus infection. Photo Credit Dmitriy Shironosov/Hemera/Getty Images

Pain felt throughout the face and head is the result of inflamed and swollen sinuses, according to the Mayo Clinic. When the sinuses are swollen, it places pressure on the surrounding areas of the sinus cavity such as the eyes, cheeks, ears and upper teeth. If you experience facial sinus pain for more than three days or if the pain is severe, seek medical help.

Signs and Symptoms

The University of Maryland says the common signs and symptoms of facial sinus pain are the presence of pressure causing pain in one area of the face, parts of the face are tender when touched, the sinus pain increases with sudden movements, pain is more severe upon waking up in the morning, and temperature changes increase the sinus pain. Sinus headaches resulting from sinus pressure are typically dull, throbbing pain in the center of the head.

Causes

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of facial sinus pain is sinusitis, an infection in the sinus cavity. Most sinus infections are caused by bacteria or a virus (common cold). Bacteria sinus infections can be treated with prescribed antibiotics. A viral infection is not treatable with antibiotics, but the symptoms of a viral infection may be treated with over-the-counter drugs.

Prevention

Facial sinus pain may be prevented if you can identify the cause of the pain. If the sinus pain is the result of allergies, an over-the-counter antihistamine may be used to prevent an allergic nasal reaction. If the facial and sinus pain is the result of a deviated septum or nasal polyps, prescribed medication or surgery may be advisable. The Mayo Clinic says practicing proper hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, may prevent catching the common cold.

Treatment

The University of Maryland says you can treat facial and sinus pain with natural approaches or medication. Some natural approaches include using a humidifier in your home or while you sleep, using saline nasal spray and inhaling steam. Common drugs used to treat this condition are over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants and antihistamines.

Complications

Severe facial and sinus pain may be the sign of a more serious condition such as an eye infection, bone infection or brain infection (meningitis). Other symptoms of an eye infection are loss of sight, the inability to move the eye or severe eye pain. A bone infection in the cheeks or forehead may cause swelling and tenderness in the area infected. Meningitis may cause a person to experience severe head pain, disorientation and seizures. If not treated, meningitis can lead to death.

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