A wise person once asked, “On a scale of 1 to stepping on a Lego, how much does it hurt?”
When your sinuses hurt you know it. They pound and ache, creating pressure and pain in your face and head. You can’t breathe or sleep. Sometimes you can’t taste anything and it hurts just to clench your teeth. Sinus infections and chronic sinusitis are just plain miserable. In fact, one of every eight people suffers with them and they are considered to be one of the most common health ailments in the U.S.
The sinuses are rather amazing things- cavities really – in the skull. You can see an illustration of them here. They are all connected and that is why when one sinus cavity becomes congested they all tend to hurt. The special properties of sinuses require an exacting diagnosis for proper treatment. The best way to figure out what is causing your sinus pain is to see an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) specialist.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when the sinus linings swell, preventing proper drainage. That causes congestion which can lead to a sinus infection and/or chronic post nasal drip. An ENT physician can determine exactly what is causing the sinusitis and blocking the air flow through your nose and sinuses in order to treat it.
- A sinus infection, referred to as Acute Sinusitis, is caused when viruses and/or bacteria infect the sinuses
- Chronic sinusitis is more than just an infection; the sinuses remain consistently inflamed with little relief from the symptoms
- Allergies to pollen, pets, and dust can also cause the symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
- Other conditions can affect the air flow through the sinuses including a deviated septum, nasal polyps and Turbinate hypertrophy, a condition in which the ridges inside the nose enlarge
Treatment for Sinus Infections
Thankfully there are many different treatments for sinus infections and chronic sinusitis. Sinus infections are generally treated with antibiotics. Antihistamines can be used to reduce symptoms and improve breathing. Decongestants reduce sinus congestion and post nasal drip and nasal saline sprays and washes help the nose, as well.
For people who suffer from chronic sinus pain, minimally invasive, outpatient procedures offer long-lasting relief. They are conducted safely and effectively in our office with medical devices so tiny that no one will be able to tell you have had surgery. Chronic symptoms and pain subside without bruising, swelling, or the need for nasal packing, and you no longer have to live every day feeling like you have a bad cold.
Minimally Invasive Surgery For Maximum Relief
The minimally invasive procedure that addresses chronic sinusitis is called Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and it’s performed on an outpatient basis under local sedation/anesthesia. For the majority of patients there is little discomfort and patients rarely see any post-surgical bruising or swelling. The beauty is that you don’t have to be in the hospital for the surgery and it is covered by medical insurance. In most cases, your nasal cavity doesn’t have to be packed after surgery, either. It’s easy to have the procedure and then return to work and daily activities.
Here is the amazing part. Once the surgery is conducted, an implant can be inserted into the sinuses that not only keeps them open, but continually delivers medication into them. It’s called the PROPEL® Mometasone Furoate Implant and you can read all about it here. Once it has done its work, it dissolves. Now that’s a medical advance for chronic sinus sufferers!
We all have sinuses and despite the congestion and pain they may cause we need them for breathing, taste and smell. If your sinuses are giving you a hard time, most of the time, our specialists can help you get them under control. Whether it’s a sinus infection, chronic post nasal drip or the misery of chronic sinusitis, our board certified Ear, Nose and Throat specialists at Berger Henry ENT Specialty Group will get you relief.