Much like when your ears "pop" when flying or when there are changes in elevation, there is an equalizing of pressure that takes place between the hollow space behind your ear and your nose. Sinuses are very similar in the fact that unless the pressure is equal both in the sinus and in your nose, this difference in pressure may cause pain. For normal sinuses the pressure can often equalize on its own but when the passage way between the sinus and the nose becomes blocked or is not large enough, the pressure will build up causing increased pain and pressure.
Simon I. Angeli, MD
Location and Office HoursUniversity Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine
1120 NW 14th St
Miami, FL 33136
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- How does air pressure affect my sinuses?
How can I relieve stuffiness when flying?
Jill Grimes, MD, Family Medicine, answeredOver-the-counter products such as nose sprays like Afrin can help relieve a stuffy head, nose, or ears if you need to fly. Make sure to put it in ziplock bag for security, but then use it when you are seated on the plane to reduce ear discomfort upon takeoff. Gum, mints, or any beverage will help clear your ears as well.
How do nasal polyps affect the sinuses?
Nasal polyps are usually your body's reaction to an adverse event that manifests themselves as bulges in the lining of the nasal tissue. Polyps pose several problems but most often are associated with reduced airflow through the nose when you take a nasal breath or they may swell and block the sinuses from draining properly. While they can often be treated with sprays and/or medications, in some situations, surgical intervention is necessary to remove the polyps.
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