How do I treat an earache in my sinuses?

Over-the-counter pain medications can be taken to relieve sinus pain.

Infected sinuses tend to swell and become congested with mucus, in turn exerting painful pressure on nearby parts of the body, such as the middle ear. If you are suffering from sinus-related earaches, you may be experiencing extreme discomfort in one or both of your ears. Fortunately, treating an earache in your sinuses is often quite simple. The two main goals in treating this condition are to relieve pain and congestion. If these goals are not successfully achieved using over-the-counter medications, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to eliminate bacteria from your sinuses.

Infected sinuses can cause ear pain.

Your sinus earache is likely caused by inflammation and congestion in the sinuses closest to your ears, known as the sphenoid sinuses. When the sphenoid sinuses become swollen and blocked, pressure is exerted on the small components of the near middle ear, causing discomfort or even pain. To treat this discomfort, start by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as directed on the product packaging. This medication should relieve inflammation in the sinuses, thus relieving pressure in the middle ear. Additionally, it should temporarily inhibit the body’s pain receptors, further reducing discomfort.

Uncomfortable pressure in the head often accompanies pressure in the sinuses in the ears.

As a second line of defense against earaches, you can take a decongestant. This type of medication causes the blood vessels in the sinuses to constrict, reducing blockages and, by extension, relieving pressure in the ears. Over-the-counter decongestants are widely available in liquid, tablet, and nasal spray forms. Because prolonged use of nasal sprays can cause severe and uncomfortable dryness of the tissues in your nose, you may want to try a liquid or tablet decongestant first, and switch to a spray only if the oral medication proves ineffective.

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Earaches in the sinuses are usually caused by inflammation of the sphenoid sinuses.

Some sinus diseases are stubborn and you may find that your earache persists even after several days of treatment with pain relievers and decongestants. In that case, your sinus earache could be caused by a bacterial sinus infection. You should see a doctor, who can prescribe a course of antibiotics if he or she determines that the sinus irritation is actually caused by a bacterial infection. As always, you should not start taking antibiotics without a doctor’s recommendation and should continue taking your prescription until you are finished. Both taking antibiotics when they are not needed and not finishing a course of antibiotics can lead to the buildup of drug-resistant bacteria, making it difficult to treat future bacterial diseases.

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