3 Steps to Relieving Sinus Pressure and Pain

As we move quickly toward Spring, many of us will suffer from seasonal sinus pressure, pain, congestion and irritation. While this may be an acute case of sinusitis, which is a temporary infection, you may have chronic sinusitis if your symptoms don’t go away.

To get you started on the path to feeling better, consider taking the following steps.

STEP 1: See Your Doctor

Seeing you primary care provider, allergist or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist is the best starting point, allowing you to discuss the history of your condition with a trusted medical provider. According to The Mayo Clinic, key signs and symptoms your provider may look for when determining a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis over an acute infection include:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

At your office visit, your provider may recommend medical imaging to provide more information for their diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

STEP 2: Choose a Medical Imaging Provider

A CT Sinus exam is a fast, painless scan that captures very clear pictures of your sinus cavities. While a provider’s order is required for this exam, where you go is up to you. RAYUS centers throughout Puget Sound offer CT Sinus exams on multi-slice CT scanners run by certified technologists, typically with rates that are 30 – 50% less than if you had the same exam at a hospital-affiliated imaging provider.

Due to the painful nature of sinus problems, getting patients and their providers answers quickly is key to optimal patient care. We can often see patients same-day or next-day, provided we can obtain the pre-authorization required by the patient’s insurance company.

The CT Sinus exam allows our subspecialized radiologists to look at different levels of the skull and sinus cavities to review for:

  • Injury, trauma
  • Infection, inflammation
  • Fluid level issues
  • Abnormalities, growths/polyps, deviated septum
  • Pre-surgical planning

The CT technology allows us to see the issues behind your symptoms much more clearly than X-ray or with an endoscope, especially when evaluating the ethomid and sphenoid sinuses which sit behind the frontal and maxillary sinuses.

The exam takes only 10 – 15 minutes with no preparation required.

Anatomy of the nose

STEP 3: Work with Your Doctor to Identify a Treatment Plan

CT images of nose

Once your imaging is complete, the radiologist will give your written diagnostic report and CT images to the provider who referred you for the exam. Your provider will review that information in context of your medical history and talk with you about next steps. These may consist of over-the-counter pain relievers, saline rinses, antibiotics or surgery depending on the severity of your situation.

In addition to your provider seeing the results from your CT scan, you can also access your report and images on RAYUS’s secure patient portal. If you are a previous patient of RAYUS, you can call 425-291-8352 for an access code.