North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

Persistent Sinus Pain? You May be Dealing With Chronic Sinusitis

A woman feeling ill from chronic sinusitis who is blowing her nose with a tissue.

Your face is sort of loaded with holes. Well actually, it has four hollow spaces. These are known as sinuses. (Or sinus cavities.) Your sinuses help eliminate allergens and germs by assisting mucus discharge from your nose. You stay healthier and breathe easier as a result.

This system functions quite well the majority of the time. But sometimes… well, sometimes, your sinuses can themselves become infected.

Sinus infections – what exactly are they?

These sinus cavities become inflamed and swollen when you have a sinus infection. This blocks the germs and mucus that need to be draining, and this mucus blockage results in headaches, stuffy noses, and other symptoms that can cause you a great deal of suffering. Sinus infections can come to be chronic because they obstruct mucus drainage.

For some people this chronic inflammation and swelling can prolong the misery for months and months. It’s a condition known as chronic sinusitis.

What is chronic sinusitis?

A standard, non-chronic sinus infection will clear itself up in a few days or so. In some instances, if the sinus infection is more persistent, it can last up to a month. That sounds rather annoying, but it isn’t quite a chronic sinus infection yet.

Chronic sinusitis is generally characterized by an infection that lasts for 12 weeks or longer. And your sinus infection will last for the entirety of these 12 weeks. When it goes away and comes back that’s known as recurring sinusitis, which is a similar but separate ailment. Your symptoms might ebb and flow, but they will persist and they’ll feel continual. This will effect your day-to-day life and make you feel pretty miserable.

Chronic sinusitis risk factors

So who gets chronic sinusitis? There are some risk factors that will make the occurrence of chronic sinusitis more likely, but inevitably, there are a great number of variables, as with any sickness. Those risk factors include:

  • Repeated illness (whether due to bacteria or viruses).
  • Chronically blocked airways, often due to asthma, allergies, or cystic fibrosis.
  • Mucus is unable to because of an abnormal nasal structure such as a deviated septum.
  • Nasal polyps.

This list isn’t complete. But you can think about it this way: anything that increases swelling and or makes it hard for mucus to drain normally will raise your risk of developing a chronic sinus infection in the future.

How are chronic sinus infections diagnosed?

So if you have chronic sinusitis, how can we be certain? Here are a few things we will do to make sure this condition is what you’re dealing with:

  • Medical history and physical exam: Just like with any other diagnosis, a medical history and physical exam can provide a lot of information.
  • Nasal endoscopy: In some cases, we may use a tiny camera called an endoscope to have a look inside your nostrils.
  • Sinus cultures: We may take a culture to find out what’s creating your infection. Whether the infection is bacterial or viral can be established by this test.
  • Imaging tests and diagnostic procedures: We might do an X-ray, CT, or MRI scan to get a better understanding of what’s happening in your sinuses.

There are a lot of ways to handle sinus infections, but they aren’t all correct for all types of infection sources. It’s important to get the correct diagnoses, in other words.

Dealing with chronic sinus infections

Our preliminary approach will most likely be rather conservative due to how common sinus infections are. The idea is that your body might simply need a bit of help to get over this sickness. So most treatments start slowly, saving more robust or invasive solutions for when they are really needed.

Conservative treatments

Most of these more conservative treatments are performed at home by the patient. Here are a few:

  • Humidifiers and steam: Breathing in damp air can help relieve dryness and promote discharge, and that can help relieve your symptoms.
  • Steering clear of allergy triggers: If allergies and asthma are causing sniffling and that sniffling results in a chronic sinus infection, then steering clear of the original cause can give significant relief. For example, avoid cats if you have a cat allergy.
  • Nasal irrigation and saline sprays: This may help reduce irritation and dryness of the sinuses and help drainage.


When those at-home, conservative remedies don’t work, we may recommend a medication or two. Here are a few possible medications:

  • Decongestants: Getting mucus moving is the goal of these medications.
  • Antibiotics: This will only help when your sinus infection is brought on by a bacteria. It won’t help with viruses, unfortunately. This is one reason why we might take a culture.
  • Corticosteroids: Swelling in the body will be decreased by these. Drainage will be encouraged by decreased swelling.

Many medications come in both pill or nasal spray forms. You’ll be able to speak with us about which you favor, and which will be most effective.


In some situations, surgery may be required to provide relief. Surgical solutions include:

  • Balloon sinuplasty: Extra space is produced as this procedure helps dilate the sinus cavities encouraging drainage and alleviating the symptoms.
  • Functional changes: These surgical procedures can change the way your sinuses function, improving drainage (for instance, fixing a deviated septum would count as this kind of procedure).

Surgery isn’t right for everybody, so make sure to consult with us.

How to better control chronic sinusitis

Treatment will only help so much in some situations. For some people, simply managing chronic sinusitis can help relieve symptoms by preventing a flare-up before it starts. You can do quite a few things that can promote sinus health. Here are a few:

  • Modifying your diet: Drink hot tea and eat foods like pineapple and citrus which are good for your sinuses. Also, drink as much water as possible. Becoming dehydrated is a really bad thing! Staying hydrated can help minimize the symptoms of your sinus infection.
  • Altering your environment: Your exposure to seasonal and other allergens should be avoided. Also, preserving indoor air quality by replacing air filters is a positive step toward managing sinus infections.
  • Lower your overall stress levels: Believe it or not, stress can lead to all kinds of physical manifestations in the body, including a higher tendency toward sinus infections (and a harder time getting rid of them). Get involved with activities that help you relax, like yoga, meditation, or whatever will help ease stress.

Controlling your chronic sinusitis is something that happens in conjunction with our help. So be sure to talk to us about steps you can take at home to steer clear of sinusitis symptoms.

Mental health care

Don’t forget that your mental health can be impacted by any chronic sickness. Obviously, you will feel mentally depleted when you’re in constant pain. So seek support from mental health professionals, support groups, and your peers. It’s acceptable and understandable to have a difficult time coping with your chronic sinusitis. And it can take a toll. So be sure to get help if you need it.

What’s in store for the future?

Chronic sinusitis is an issue for more than 11% of the US population. So physicians and scientists are always developing new treatment solutions. Novel nasal sprays and new medicines (such as a new injectable drug called Dupixent that aims at reducing nasal polyps) are examples. Whether these new treatment options are right for you will vary depending on your symptoms and outlook.

Delivering results with minimal incisions is also something that surgeons are always working on.

Get the help you need

Most people won’t be able to solve chronic sinusitis alone. They’ll require help, and that’s just fine! Instead of being focused on how bad your head hurts or when your stuffy nose might clear up, effective treatment will get you back out enjoying the things you love to do.

Is chronic sinusitis raining on your parade? Call us right away for a consultation.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.