Should You Use Hot or Cold Compress for Sinus Pain?
Published August 18th, 2020
Do you know what isn’t a joke? Sinus pain. Sure, you could have a mild headache here or there, but when it gets bad, it’s terrible. It can even result in worse conditions, like toothaches, earaches, and facial pain. Sinus pain results from an inflammation of the sinus cavities, called sinusitis, which typically results in congestion. This congestion is the primary reason for the intense build-up of pressure in your sinus cavities.
With congestion at the forefront of the problem, most treatments aim to remedy this. This brings us to using hot and cold compresses. Hot and cold compresses have their place as some of the most accessible home remedies for a wide variety of problems. Got a bruise? Here’s a cold compress. Oh, you have menstrual cramps? Here’s a hot compress.
Their uses reach far and wide, but when it comes to sinus pain, which one of these hits the spot best?
Should I use a hot or cold compress for my sinus pain?
The short answer is you’ll want to use both alternately. Alternating between hot and cold compresses is known as contrast therapy, which has numerous benefits for physical therapy. For sinus pain, this treatment can relieve a lot of the pain you’re experiencing and should be done repeatedly in a day.
Here are the steps in doing so:
- First, you’ll want to heat some water just shy of boiling temperature. Set this aside, as this is where you’ll be dipping your washcloth.
- Prepare an ice pack by wrapping it in a washcloth.
- You’ll then want to soak your washcloth in the warm water, squeezing out the excess. After folding this to a manageable size, you’ll want to recline and lay this cloth over your upper nose and lower forehead for 3 minutes. The heat should loosen some of the mucus, relieve inflammation, and make it easier to breathe.
- After those 3 minutes are up, replace the hot washcloth with the ice pack. Leave this on the same area for about 30 seconds.
- After the 30 seconds are up, soak the hot washcloth in the warm water, again squeezing it to remove excess water. Replace the ice pack with this washcloth for another 3 minutes, repeating this process about two or three times.
- You can repeat this process four or five times a day, especially when the sinus pain returns.
Here are some other methods and measures that people often use to treat or prevent sinus pain:
- Keep hydrated.
- Take a decongestant.
- Take an OTC (over-the-counter) Pain Medication.
- Irrigate your nasal passageways.
- Use a Saline Nasal Spray.
- Use a humidifier, as humidity loosens nasal secretions.
- Avoid chemical irritants that can worsen your symptoms. (e.g., cigarette smoke, air pollutants, paint fumes)
- Take anti-allergy medication.
- Add a little spice to your diet, as this tends to open up nasal passages.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin C.
- Rest well.
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About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.