Can Sinus Infections Cause Neck Pain and Stiffness

Your sinuses are air-filled pockets that exist behind the bones in your face. When they are working normally, they produce mucus that traps germs and moves freely through your nasal passages so that it can drain properly.

Unfortunately, your sinuses don’t always drain as well as they should. Seasonal allergies, viruses and structural abnormalities in your sinus cavities or nose can all cause inflammation that allows mucus to build up. When this happens, you can develop a bacterial infection that causes a wide range of symptoms. In addition to a stuffy nose and general sense of feeling unwell, you might also experience pain in your neck. This can occur due to several different reasons, and figuring out why your neck hurts helps you to identify treatments that help you feel better.

The idea that an infection in the upper part of your face can cause pain in your neck might seem strange. However, it may make more sense when you think about how your face contains nerves that run throughout your head and down through your neck. You are especially likely to experience pain in your neck if you have sphenoid sinusitis. Your sphenoid sinuses rest behind your eyes. When they get inflamed, you may experience the following symptoms.

•feeling of pressure behind your eyes
•headaches
•pain that radiates down the side of your neck
•nasal congestion
•post-nasal drip
•sore throat

It is important to note that the neck pain you experience from a sinus infection may feel a lot like what you would experience with a neck injury. You might notice that the pain gets worse when you turn your head, or you may feel a dull ache as you go about your daily activities. Usually, you’ll also have facial pain that may spread across your cheeks near where your sinus cavities are. In some cases, your neck pain may be truly muscular or related to the nerves in your spine. This can happen due to being unable to sleep properly when you feel sinus discomfort. Tossing and turning in bed or sleeping at an odd angle to help your sinuses drain can lead to more neck pain when you wake up.

Find Relief for Sinus-Related Neck Pain

When you think that you have sinus-related neck pain, it is important to first treat the infection. If the sinus infection is bacterial, then antibiotics may help. Viral infections usually need to run their course, but there are some things that you can do at home to start finding relief. Steam can help to open up your sinuses and soften the mucus so that it drains more easily. You can use a humidifier in your bedroom or take a shower to help get more warm, moist air to your nasal cavities. Avoiding allergens can further help to reduce the amount of mucus that your sinuses produce until your infection clears.

Treating the symptoms of your sinus infection can also include using therapies to improve your neck pain. If you already have a neck injury or chronic condition, then it is possible that your sinus infection is making the pain worse by irritating the already tender nerves. In this case, you may need to work with a chiropractor to loosen up tight soft tissues in your neck and relieve the inflammation. If your neck is out of alignment, then they can help to restore the natural curve that prevents nerve and muscle pain. When you visit the chiropractor, they will ask you about your current habits and how the pain interferes with your daily activities. Mentioning that the pain started with your sinus infection or if it is worse in the morning can help them to determine what is causing your discomfort.

In addition to spinal manipulation, you may want to try other forms of therapy to ease both your sinus infection symptoms and neck pain. Cupping is an option that helps to encourage lymphatic drainage so that your immune system is able to work more efficiently. Acupuncture is another type of therapy that can help with sinus issues such as allergies while also providing relief from the pain. Treating all of the issues that are occurring from the neck up can help you enjoy longer lasting relief along with a better sense of overall health.

Is your sinus infection literally a pain in the neck? If so, then give us a call at 205-637-1363. We’ll help you find a therapy that helps your neck and sinuses feel better.

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