Human bone is remarkably strong yet lightweight, but if people did not have sinus cavities, they would not be able to lift their heads off their pillows. The four major sinus cavities lighten skulls, giving the head the ability to turn and roll, and look up and down, usually without pain.
Purpose of the Sinuses
Sinuses are open cavities in the head, but they are not bare bones. Each sinus cavity has a mucous membrane lining that allows very slow ventilation into and out of the sinus. The slow ventilation allows the space in sinus cavities to be filled with a high concentration of carbon dioxide and a low level of oxygen. This creates an environment hostile to most germs.
Where Are the Sinus Cavities?
The four major sinus cavities that sometimes bring the pain of sinusitis are:
- Frontal sinuses – Just above each of the eyes, these two sinuses often inflict cringing pain.
- Maxillary sinuses – The largest cavities, these two sit behind the cheekbones.
- Sphenoid sinuses – The sphenoid sinuses sit very far back in the head, near the optic nerves and pituitary gland, behind the eyes.
- Ethmoid sinuses – A collection of six to 12 tiny air sacs, the ethmoid sinuses behind the nose separated into front, middle and rear groups.
What Causes Sinusitis?
When a person’s sinuses become infected, the slow transfer of mucus and gasses may stop and mucus builds up. This causes pain behind and around the eyes. It makes tipping the head forward almost unbearable.
What does a person generally do when they have sinusitis? They rub the side of their nose (ethmoid sinuses), their temples (frontal sinuses) or their eyes (sphenoid sinuses) in search of relief.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
If a person has sinus problems regularly, he or she may be familiar with many of the following symptoms of a sinus infection.
- Pain – Not just around the eyes, but pain in the jaw, teeth, and on either side of the nose.
- Sinus discharge – Greenish yellow goo that can also cause post-nasal drip.
- Congestion – A clogged nose may force a person to breathe only through the mouth.
- Coughing – From the post-nasal drip.
- Sleep deprivation – Sinus headache, coughing and post-nasal drip can ruin healthful sleep.
- Loss of smell – A stuffy nose can affect one’s ability to detect odors and can also lead to a loss of appetite.
- Halitosis – Infected sinus cavities can lead to bad breath.
The experts at American Sinus Institute can recommend a course of treatment specific to each individual’s issues. After a careful individual examination, options include:
- Medication – Over-the-counter pain medicines or, possibly, antibiotics.
- Nasal sprays – Decongestants and mucolytics may offer temporary relief.
- Balloon sinuplasty – A doctor carefully places a small balloon in the sinus, inflates it, and restructures the cavity.
For anyone whose sinuses are constantly reminding them exactly where they are in their head, contact the American Sinus Institute today to learn more about sinus treatments. From pharmaceutical solutions to balloon sinuplasty, the American Sinus Institute can provide welcome relief from sinus pain and infection.