Your nose is stuffy. You have thick, yellowish mucus. You're coughing, and you feel tired and achy. You think that you have a cold. You take medicines to relieve your symptoms, but they don't help. When you also get a terrible headache, you finally drag yourself to the doctor. After listening to your history of symptoms and examining your face and forehead, the doctor says you have sinusitis.
Whether it's acute or chronic, sinusitis is painful and wearying. It's common too: every year, it affects 37 million people in the U.S. Sinusitis doesn't discriminate based on age.
What Is Sinusitis?
"Sinusitis" simply means your sinuses are inflamed―red and swollen―because of an infection or another problem.
When people say, "My sinuses are killing me," they usually are referring to symptoms of congestion and achiness in one or more of the four pairs of cavities (air-filled spaces) known as paranasal sinuses. These small hollow spaces are named for the bones that contain them:
-Over the eyes in the brow area (Frontal sinuses)
-Inside each cheekbone (Maxillary sinuses)
-Behind the bridge of the nose, between the eyes (Ethmoid sinuses)
What Causes the Pain?
The pain of a sinus attack arises because the trapped air and mucus put pressure on the mucous membrane of the sinuses and the bony wall behind it. Also, when a swollen membrane at the opening of a paranasal sinus prevents air from entering into the sinuses, it can create a vacuum that causes pain.
Next: 7 Ways Sinusitis Can Be Prevented