Sinus pain and postnasal drip are usually symptoms of sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinuses with frequent thick nasal secretions that drip back in the throat when the person lies down. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, most sinusitis begins with a cold that eventually leads to a bacterial infection due to trapped nasal secretions. Sinusitis can stretch a cold into weeks of discomfort, coughing and aggravation of existing pulmonary problems such as asthma.
Use a sterile saline nasal spray, available at your local pharmacy. Saline won't irritate the already sore nasal passages and can help clean the nasal discharge that has accumulated. Be sure the nasal spray only contains saline and not medication that can actually cause more pain. If the saline spray isn't effective, talk to your physician about a prescription nasal spray that may be more effective for severe inflammation.
Take a decongestant, available over the counter at your local pharmacy. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, decongestants help to shrink swollen blood vessels in the sinuses and nasal cavity, relieving pressure that can cause sinus pain. Once the swollen passages decrease in size, nasal secretions can more easily flow out of the nose, rather than being forced to the back of the throat, causing post nasal drip. Take a decongestant according to the manufacturer's directions.
Drink at least 64 oz. of water every day. Thickened nasal secretions move slowly through the nasal passages, especially if the individual isn't fully hydrated. Drinking adequate and even additional water will help to thin the secretions and prevent dehydration that can occur when taking certain medications for sinus problems. Cut back on caffeinated beverages too, because they can force water out of the body faster, leading to thickened nasal secretions.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, available at your local pharmacy. Products that contain acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen can relieve sinus pain and sinus headaches. Many over-the-counter products combine a decongestant with a pain reliever, so if you are already taking a decongestant, purchase a product that contains only the pain reliever. Use the product according to the manufacturer's directions. Naproxen and ibuprofen are also anti-inflammatory medications that can help decrease sinus pressure.
Apply a warm compress or heating pad to the forehead and bridge of the nose for 10 minutes twice a day. Using heat on inflamed sinuses can help relieve pressure and inflammation. In addition, heat can thin nasal secretions, helping facilitate their release through the nose. Alternatively, you can hold your face over a container of steaming hot water with a towel held around your head to contain the steam. Steam, too, can help relieve inflammation and thin nasal secretions.
Things You'll Need
Saline nasal spray
Pain reliever or anti-inflammatory
See your doctor if your nasal secretions are yellow or green, which indicates an infection that requires antibiotics.