Medically known as rhinosinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection. Other conditions such as allergies , nasal polyps , and tooth infections can also contribute to sinus pain and symptoms. Acute sinusitis only lasts for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than four weeks. An acute infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness.
Sinusitis (sinus infection)
Acute Sinusitis - Harvard Health
Pain felt throughout the face and head is the result of inflamed and swollen sinuses, according to the Mayo Clinic. When the sinuses are swollen, it places pressure on the surrounding areas of the sinus cavity such as the eyes, cheeks, ears and upper teeth. If you experience facial sinus pain for more than three days or if the pain is severe, seek medical help. The University of Maryland says the common signs and symptoms of facial sinus pain are the presence of pressure causing pain in one area of the face, parts of the face are tender when touched, the sinus pain increases with sudden movements, pain is more severe upon waking up in the morning, and temperature changes increase the sinus pain. Sinus headaches resulting from sinus pressure are typically dull, throbbing pain in the center of the head. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of facial sinus pain is sinusitis, an infection in the sinus cavity.
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Sinuses are air-filled spaces behind the bones of the upper face: between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks. The lining of the sinuses are made up of cells with tiny hairs on their surfaces called cilia. Other cells in the lining produce mucus. The mucus traps germs and pollutants and the cilia push the mucus out through narrow sinus openings into the nose.
More than 20 million Americans will have at least one bout of sinusitis this year. Most will be uncomfortable, and many will miss work or school. Nearly all will recover from their sinus infections, but an unfortunate few may develop serious complications.