What are the Sinuses?
The sinuses are four pairs of air-filled spaces found in the bones of the head and face, located on either side of the nose in your cheeks, behind and between the eyes, at the back of the nasal cavity, and in the forehead.
The sinuses are lined with a moist, thin layer of tissue called a mucous membrane. The mucous membrane helps moisten the air as you breathe it in. It also makes mucus, which traps germs and dust in the air we breathe.
A cold virus can cause the mucous lining of the nose to become swollen, which narrows and blocks the small opening from the sinuses into the nose, making it more difficult to clear the sinuses. If a cold lasts for more than 10 to 14 days, you may have a sinus infection, or sinusitis.
Specific Sinus Problems
Over 37 million people in America suffer from sinusitis every year. Sinusitis is one of the most common health problems in the country today, even more prevalent than asthma and heart disease. Sinusitis has greater impact on a patient’s quality of life than other common conditions like chronic back pain. The symptoms can affect the overall well-being of a person.
Chronic Runny Nose (Rhinorrhea)
You may experience a runny nose caused by a cold or a seasonal allergy. However, if you find yourself facing a constant nasal drip for no apparent reason, you may be experiencing chronic rhinorrhea. If you are suffering from chronic rhinorrhea, you may feel a chronic drainage in the back of your throat, and find yourself constantly dabbing your nose with a tissue.
Blockage of the nose or nasal cavity (or nasal obstruction) can be caused by a wide variety of problems. Inferior turbinate hypertrophy occurs when the turbinates become swollen due to allergy and dust irritation. A deviated nasal septum occurs when the structure which separates the nostrils becomes crooked, making it difficult to breathe.