The pressure in the back of your head due to blocked sinuses can be uncomfortable at best, and you might even be dealing with headaches as a result. Try taking over the counter medications to help loosen mucus and relieve pain caused by sinus pressure. There are several home remedies you can try to help relieve pressure in your head, such as inhaling steam, using a neti pot, or giving yourself a sinus massage. If your condition does not improve or if nothing seems to help, see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
Method 1: Using Over the Counter Medications
1. Use a non-medicated saline nasal spray to loosen the mucus.
Use the spray in both nostrils as needed to help loosen the mucus in your sinuses and this should help to relieve pressure. Shake the medication and insert the tip into your right nostril. Cover the left nostril with your fingertip. Breathe through your mouth, and spray the saline into your nostril and breathe in through your nose again. Repeat on the other side.
2. Switch to a medicated nasal spray if the saline spray does not help.
You can also purchase an over-the-counter nasal spray that contains a corticosteroid medication, which will help to reduce swelling and inflammation in your sinuses. If you do not experience relief from a non-medicated saline spray, then try out a medicated nasal spray.
3. Take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.
Blocked sinuses can cause discomfort and pain in your head, so you might also want to take an over-the-counter pain killer. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin are all good options but go with the pain killer that usually works best for you.
- For a severe headache, you might go with an extra strength version of one of these medications.
- Never give aspirin to children under the age of 18 due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
4. Try a decongestant medication.
Over-the-counter-decongestant medications may also be helpful for relieving your sinus pressure. Take a single or multi-symptom medication depending on your condition.
Method 2: Using Home Remedies
1. Blow your nose often to clear out the mucus.
If you are experiencing sinus pressure, then it is likely that you have a lot of mucus that will need to leave your body. Try to blow your nose any time you feel the need to help clear it out. You should also blow your nose after using a home remedy meant to help release the mucus, such as steam, a neti pot, or sinus massage.
2. Inhale steam to help loosen mucus in your sinuses.
Inhaling steam can be an effective way to loosen mucus in your sinuses and relieve the pressure in your head. Try setting up a humidifier in your bedroom or take a hot shower or bath and inhale the steam as you do so. Even sitting in the bathroom with the door closed and the shower running on hot will provide enough steam for you to inhale.
3. Recline on your back with a washcloth over your forehead.
Hold a washcloth under hot running water for a minute and then wring it out. Then, lean back in a recliner or on a bed or sofa propped up with some pillows. Place the washcloth over your eyes, nose, and cheeks. The heat will help to loosen mucus in your sinuses and relieve the pressure in your head.
4. Massage your sinuses to help relieve pressure.
A sinus massage can help to encourage the flow of mucus out of your sinuses and this may help to relieve the pressure in your head. Start by pressing your fingertips against your cheeks right beside your nostrils. Apply gentle pressure to your cheeks and slowly stroke downwards. As you continue, move out towards your cheekbones and keep stroking down as you do so
Method 3: Making Lifestyle Changes to Promote Healing
1. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Dehydration can cause mucus to become thicker and this makes it harder to move out of your sinuses. Drink 8 cups or more of water daily to maintain adequate hydration.
- Warm liquids, such as tea, coffee, and broth, may be especially helpful for loosening the mucus in your sinuses.
- Increase your daily fluid intake if you are doing lots of physical activity or sweating.
2. Sleep for at least 8 hours per night.
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night will give your body a chance to repair and restore itself, which can help to speed healing from a sinus infection. You will also likely feel better overall if you get enough sleep each night, so this alone might help to improve the feeling of pressure in your head.
3. Eliminate irritants from your environment.
Smoke, chemicals, dust, and other irritants can make your sinuses feel worse and intensify the pressure in your head. Avoid smokers and do not allow people to smoke in your home. Don’t use any harsh chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, or pesticides. Vacuum and dust regularly to avoid a buildup of dust in your home.
Method 4: Seeking Medical Attention
1. See your doctor for symptoms that do not improve or that worsen.
If your pain continues for more than 10 days, if you have had to miss school or work, or if over-the-counter medicine does not help, then call your doctor to set up an appointment. They can do a physical examination and run tests to rule out other possible causes of pain. Other reasons to see a doctor include:
- Yellow or greenish mucus, especially with sinus pain
- A high fever (over 100.4 °F (38.0 °C))
- Blood in nasal discharge or a continuing clear discharge after getting a head injury
- Symptoms are in a baby younger than 2 months with a fever (over 100.4 °F (38.0 °C))
- The child cannot nurse properly due to difficulty breathing through their nose
2. Ask about arthritis headaches if the pain worsens when you move.
People sometimes confuse sinus and arthritis headaches since they may affect similar locations in your head. However, if you have arthritis, pain and pressure in the back of your head could be due to an arthritis headache. An arthritis headache will worsen when you move and you may also feel the pain in your neck. Note how you feel when you move your head and neck. If the pain feels more severe while you are moving, then it might be an arthritis headache.
- Treatment for arthritis headaches usually includes anti-inflammatory medication. See a doctor if you suspect that you are having arthritis headaches.
3. Get checked for hypertension if the pain is worse in the morning.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) headaches also affect the top and back of the head, so they may be mistaken for sinus issues. Note how you feel upon waking and how your head feels as the day wears on. If you are having pain and pressure due to hypertension, then you may notice that you feel the worst first thing in the morning and that you feel better later in the day.