Sinus Pressure Relief
October 29, 2014 11:51 AM   Subscribe

I had sinus surgery this week and still have splints in my nose. The weather changed today and now the pressure in my face is too much to bear. Please help!

I've taken the Rx painkillers and done the nasal irrigation and everything else I can think of, but the pressure in my face is so strong that it's still incredibly painful. I also have to concentrate and do at least some work today, but obviously haven't been able to so far, seeing as I've been busy sitting here pressing my hands into my face and trying not to throw up. The splints come out tomorrow afternoon, but I need help getting enough relief to be functional until then. What can I do?
posted by rue72 to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What does your doctor or nurse line say?
posted by Madamina at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pain that is not adequately controlled by your prescriptions is a very good reason to call the surgeon's office ASAP. Source: I am a recent care giver for someone whose undergone multiple sinus surgeries.
posted by muddgirl at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

Have you tried warm compresses on the tops of your cheekbones?
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:19 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely call your doctor's office but I also found relief with ice packs with mine.
posted by maxg94 at 12:21 PM on October 29, 2014

Will your doctor clear you for Sudafed?
posted by DarlingBri at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2014

Thirding "call your doctor's office." But I had a (much milder) form of this today, and got some relief from some ad hoc massage - I pressed my fingers on either side of my nose, starting up right at the bridge, and slid them down either side of my nose, pressing gently but firmly. For some reason that seemed to shift/massage/soothe away the pressure and I got pretty quick relief.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:34 PM on October 29, 2014

Breathing steam usually helps me with sinus pressure.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:36 PM on October 29, 2014

Response by poster: I tried calling the advice line but it sent me into a long automated menu that never seemed to go anywhere and eventually I couldn't take how loud the computer-voice was so I just turned off the phone.

My instinct is to press/massage, but I think that my septum (etc) is probably in pieces, since I'm still in the stage where I can't blow my nose or bend down, so I feel like I should go gentler than that. Can't wait to get these splints out tomorrow.

A hot shower has been the most helpful attempt at lowering the pressure so far, so I'll try the warm compress thing in a bit. Tried using cold (including eating a popsicle), but it didn't have any effect. The only issue with the compresses for right now is that I have to be working/concentrating for the next couple hours so I need to be able to see.

Guys it hurts so much, it feels like my head is an overfilled balloon about to pop.
posted by rue72 at 5:03 PM on October 29, 2014

Why are you dicking around on the advice line? Call the surgeon's office, demand a call back.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:05 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is there still packing in your nose? If so maybe the irrigation made it swell up? If you were told to do the irrigation, then never mind. Just speaking as someone who hasn't had sinus surgery but did have a severely broken nose and rhinoplasty. Lots and lots of gauze up in there.
posted by tamitang at 6:39 PM on October 29, 2014

Hyperventilation will reduce pressure in your cerebrospinal fluid (intracranial pressure, or ICP), and so will marijuana, and I think that could be the ultimate source of your pain, because a sudden change in the weather to cloudy conditions typically increases the differential between your ICP and ambient pressure.
posted by jamjam at 6:49 PM on October 29, 2014

Do a tea tree oil face steam bath. Works every time. Pain goes away immediately. I add about five drops (though you may want to start off with 3) to a big mixing bowl of steaming water, put your face over it and cover your head with a towel. Breath in and hold. Repeat. When the pain comes back repeat again.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 11:17 AM on October 30, 2014

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, the real deal behind the counter, not the OTC stuff), anti-inflammatories (Advil), caffeine and a hot shower are what work best for me for relieving sinus pressure. I'm not sure you can take any of those drugs without your doctors instructions, but that's what works best for me. Oh, also, lay with your head back if you can. Looking down (like sitting looking at a laptop screen) definitely makes the pressure worse for me.

Alternately, sometimes spicy food or smelling something very menthol-y works for opening up nasal passages, but YMMV (especially if you're already feeling nauseous.)
posted by geeky at 12:37 PM on October 30, 2014

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