Relieve Sinus Congestion Fast

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I wrote this as I am currently suffering from one of the worst sinus pressure and congestion issues I have ever experienced. It started when I came down with the flu last week and somehow ended up with either sinusitis, a sinus infection or some other sinus malady.

The pressure can be so unbearable that my teeth on my right side of my face hurt, my molars specifically feel pain in the gum area from the sinus pressure. My eyeball feels like it is trying to be forced out of its socket and my entire right side of my face feels numb and swollen. Desperate for sinus pressure relief I turned to the common sources for relief but didn’t find much help there, so I scoured the web looking for the fastest and best ways to relieve sinus pressure and then tried as many as I could find hoping something would work.

Here are the results of my experiments:

Pseudoephedrine

This is one of the most common over the counter decongestants which can be powerful at relieving sinus pressure and pain.  Combined with ibuprofen or acetaminophen this can further reduce pain and discomfort as a result of sinus pressure or congestion.  From my own experience early on I was talking Theraflu every 12 hours and it didn’t provide too much relief, I switched to Advil Cold & sinus which only helped slightly but my congestion came back rapidly and the pressure worsened after the medicine wore off.

Menthol Inhalers or Sprays

These can open nasal passage airways and provide some relief, but in my own testing I would only be able to breathe through my nose for a few minutes before congestion and inflammation would set back in.

Sinus Irrigation / Rinse

I read on many websites including WebMD.com that Sinus Irrigation with a saline solution can provide effective relief but also help speed the recovery from sinus infections as the salts in the saline water act as a natural sterilizer and fight infection. I bought the Ocean Complete Sinus Irrigation kit at Walgreens and decided to try it myself. The kit was easy to use and the stream of saline penetrates deep into your sinus cavities quickly and easily, I did find the saline water burned slightly my inner nasal passages, but my nasal passages were so raw from blowing my nose a thousand times a day that it probably was just normal, it quickly passed as well. My sinuses did feel lighter and cleaned out for about ten to fifteen minutes and I had to repeat about every two or three hours but this was one of the most effective natural relief treatments I have tried so far.

Hot Steam / Warm Compress

Taking a very hot bath or shower where the steam can run up into your nasal passages does provide temporary relief, holding a hot washcloth and pressing for a few minutes at a time repeatedly to your face, cheeks and head can also allow for relief from pressure and congestion.  This is only temporary but it does provide some immediate relief and can help ease pressure when it becomes very painful and needs a quick relief.

There are other remedies that I read about online but didn’t try like:

  • Cayenne Pepper

This is supposed to help open Nasal passages in the same way spicy food causes your nose to run or water.  I can’t ingest spicy food without having stomach trouble and as I was worried about my nasal passages already being irritated I didn’t want to risk further irritation from cayenne pepper.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

This seems like another online scam treatment that claims to relieve all problems and symptoms, I could find no evidence that this actually helps but if you know someone who actually tried and uses this let me know and I will try it.

In Summary:

The pseudoephedrine provided some relief but when it wears off you can feel more congested and worse than before you took it, the other side effect is you will go from being stuffed up to being so runny that you are blowing your nose constantly. I tried combining the pseudoephedrine with an anti-histamine like chloramine maleate but this just ended up with me being back to stuffy and congested again.

The hot washcloth and steaming water combined with the nasal saline irrigation system seemed to provide good temporary relief while I was doing it, but I would quickly become congested again a few short hours later. That being said, I think the nasal saline solution is probably the best at actually helping cure a sinus infection as the salt in the saline will help fight and kill the infection and can help speed recovery. I have read much to this effect from the various medical and health remedy related websites.

So far, I am still suffering from severe sinus pressure and congestion issues but I don’t have what are the key traces of infection (yellow or green thickened mucous) so I am not sure what is causing the congestion and pressure if it may not be an infection. If it continues to persist I will be heading to the urgent care to get it officially looked at and something prescribed later this week, in reading online it states that you should go to a doctor if your sinusitis or sinus congestion/infection doesn’t clear up within 4-5 days.

One other note, sucking on throat drops that contain eucalyptus and menthol seem to help alleviate the symptoms slightly, but I wound up having to suck on the throat drops constantly and even when resting on the couch fell asleep sucking on one and could have choked.   If anyone has home remedies that you swear by, let me know.

-Justin Germino

Updated: October 26, 2010 — 7:37 am