A person can treat sinus pressure with medication, but home remedies such as steam inhalation and saline irrigation may also help ease symptoms and speed recovery.
A type of skin called mucous membrane lines the sinuses. This membrane protects the body by producing mucus, which catches dirt and other particles that might otherwise cause illness.
The lining of the sinuses can swell if a person has an allergic reaction or infection. Swelling may lead to a feeling of pressure around the nose, cheeks, and above the eyes. These areas of the face may feel painful or tender.
Infections or allergies can lead to uncomfortable pressure in the sinuses. Clearing the nose can help to ease this symptom.
Below are natural alternatives to over-the-counter (OTC) medications for sinus pressure.
Steroid nasal sprays can help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. Many of these sprays are available OTC.
Decongestant and saline nasal sprays
People should consult a doctor if they have preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure to help them choose a nasal spray that will not interact with their medications or condition.
Dry air can irritate the mucous membrane and dry out the sinuses. While drying out excess mucus might seem like a good solution, the arid air will worsen the irritation and sinus pressure.
Humidifiers and vaporizers add water into the air. A person breathes in the humid air, and it helps moisturize the delicate skin lining the sinuses. Moist air can also help to
Both machines release moisture, but they do so a bit differently: A humidifier blows out cool, moist vapor, while a vaporizer heats the water to release a warm mist.
Learn more about the differences between humidifiers and vaporizers here.
The increased humidity is especially helpful in bedrooms and any place a person spends a great amount of time. Sleeping in a room while one of these devices is running can help relieve sinus pressure and may reduce congestion upon waking up.
A person can use a neti pot by:
- washing the hands
- filling the pot with sterile water
- leaning directly over a sink
- tilting the head sideways
- inserting the spout gently into the highest nostril
- breathing through the mouth
- pouring water into the nostril
Water will run from one nostril to the other, which should flush out pollen, bacteria, and other debris. A person should repeat this process on both nostrils.
It is essential for people to use sterile or distilled water, which can be bought at a drugstore, not tap water. Alternately, a person can boil water and allow it to cool.
Rinsing nasal passages with a saline solution can help reduce irritation and inflammation in the nose.
A saline solution can easily be made at home using sterile water, salt, and baking soda. Combine the following ingredients:
- one-quarter pint of clean water
- one-quarter teaspoon (tsp) of salt
- one-quarter tsp of baking soda
People can sniff this into the nose from cupped palms, one nostril at a time. A person can also use a syringe to squirt a solution into their nostrils.
Using steam to open the passages in the nose can help
Steam inhalation is straightforward for people to do at home. Boil water, pour it into a large bowl, and lean over, so the face is directly above the water. Cover the head with a towel, and breathe through the nose.
People should not breathe directly over a steaming kettle or boiling pot of water. The steam can burn skin.
Baths and showers
A person can skip the boiling water and turn on the shower instead. Hot showers and baths create steam that can quickly fill a room. This steam helps moisturize the air, and when a person breathes it in, it moistens their sinus passages.
The extra moisture can ease irritation in the sinuses and thin out mucus so clearing the sinuses is easier.
Acupressure involves applying pressure to specific points in the body to relieve pain or symptoms of illness. Scientists are not clear on whether acupressure works, but it may ease some symptoms.
Many people claim that acupressure can treat colds, types of flu, and sinus problems. A person may perform acupressure at home, but can also go to a practitioner.
Learn about different pressure points for sinus pain relief here.
Any time a person is unwell, it is essential to keep the body hydrated. Proper hydration can help to keep the mucus membranes of the nasal passages moist and working correctly.
While all liquids can help a person stay hydrated, The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Applying heat to the sinus area can also help to relieve pressure. One of the easiest ways to do this is using a warm washcloth.
Run a clean washcloth under reasonably hot water and wring it out. Fold it, and lay it across the bridge of the nose and cheeks for a few minutes.
Many people claim that essential oils can help relieve symptoms of sinus congestion. Essential oils are natural oils that people extract from plants.
Studies show that some essential oils can have antibacterial and
Popular oils for the treatment of sinus inflammation include peppermint and eucalyptus oils. People can use these essential oils by adding small drops to a steam bath or a diffuser.
Sleep can help ease sinus pressure for several reasons. First, rest is important to help a body heal and speed up recovery. Secondly, the body produces more white blood cells during sleep. These cells are essential for eliminating any viruses or bacteria that could be causing irritated sinuses and sinus pressure.
A person with sinus pressure may find sleep more comfortable if they prop themselves up. They can use extra pillows behind the head or upper back to achieve this.
Sleeping while propped up may help mucus move through the nasal passages and sinuses, and prevents a stuffy nose from disrupting sleep. On the other hand, lying flat may lead to additional pressure and mucus buildup.
Learn more about methods of sleeping with nasal congestion here.
These home remedies for sinus pressure can help reduce symptoms and make breathing easier in time. But it is important that a person does not set back recovery by doing certain things. These include:
- Breathing dry air: Dry air, like that of saunas, may irritate the sinuses and prolong recovery.
- Breathing in chemicals: Cleaning agents like bleach and chlorine can irritate sinuses on a typical day. They may aggravate sinuses even more if they’re inflamed already.
- Blowing too hard: If a person’s sinus passages feel stopped up, they can try to remove some of the mucus by blowing their nose. Individuals need to be careful not to blow too hard. Too much pressure can be painful and actually increase pressure.
- Flying while sick: It is not uncommon for people to experience increased sinus pressure after flying. Most sinus pressure from flying will ease in a matter of hours after landing. But if a person with an upper respiratory infection or sinus infection flies, they may experience even more sinus pressure from the flight because their sinuses are already irritated. Rearranging the flight until the infection clears is recommended.
If caused by an infection, such as sinusitis, the pressure should go away within a few weeks.
If an allergy is the cause, sinus pressure may come and go. Taking antihistamines before coming into contact with an allergen, such as grass or pet fur, can prevent sinus pressure.
The natural remedies above can help to relieve sinus pressure and related discomfort. They can also help to speed recovery.
However, home remedies may not always work. If an infection has not gone away following home treatment, people should consult a doctor.