Do You Have Sinus Infection Jaw Pain?

Published on: December 26, 2023
Woman with sinus infection cleaning her nose.

Sinus infections occur when the sinuses become inflamed or infected, often leading to various symptoms, including facial pain or pressure that can radiate to the jaw area. Understanding sinus infection jaw pain causes and exploring methods to alleviate discomfort is crucial for effective relief.

Understanding the Connection Between Sinusitis and Jaw Pain

The connection between jaw pain and sinus infections is often underestimated but can be intricately related due to the anatomy and proximity of the sinuses to the jaw. The maxillary sinuses, located near the cheekbones, are the largest of the paranasal sinuses and are in close proximity to the upper jaw.

When sinusitis occurs, inflammation and swelling of the sinuses can place pressure on nearby structures, including the surrounding bones, nerves and tissues of the jaw. This can create facial pain that may radiate down through the jaw, causing an aching jaw sensation or toothache.

Symptoms Located in the Jaw from Sinus Infections

Sinus infections are known to cause pain around the nose and eyes, including sinus headaches. When the lower sinuses are infected, the symptoms can radiate through the lower face and jaw. Jaw pain sinus infection symptoms include the following:

  • Facial Pain or Pressure: Sinus infections commonly cause pain or pressure in the face, particularly around the cheeks and upper teeth, which can extend to the jaw.
  • Sinus Infection Tooth Pain – One Side: The proximity of the maxillary sinus to the upper teeth can cause referred pain, mimicking a toothache, leading to confusion in diagnosis. Sinus infection tooth pain often only occurs on one side.
  • Difficulty or Pain When Chewing: Jaw movements, especially chewing or clenching, can exacerbate the discomfort due to the pressure on the jaw from the inflamed sinuses.
  • Ear Pain or Fullness: Sinusitis-related pressure can affect the ears as well as the jaw, causing sensations of fullness, pain or even mild hearing disturbances.

When you have a sinus infection and jaw pain symptoms, it is likely that they are linked. Finding relief involves treatment for the sinus infection.

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How to Relieve Jaw Pain from Sinus Infection

Addressing the underlying sinus infection is paramount. Consultation with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment, which may include antibiotics, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids or other medications, is crucial to alleviate sinus-related symptoms. Other treatments include:

  • Nasal Irrigation: Using a saline solution or nasal irrigation devices like a neti pot can help flush out mucus and reduce inflammation in the sinuses, alleviating pressure and consequently easing jaw discomfort.
  • Warm Compresses: Applying warm compresses or moist heat to the affected cheek area can help relax muscles, ease tension, and provide temporary relief from jaw pain associated with sinus pressure.
  • Hydration and Steam Inhalation: Staying well-hydrated and inhaling steam from a warm shower or a bowl of hot water with a towel over the head can help moisturize the nasal passages, alleviate congestion, and reduce sinus pressure.
  • Gentle Massage: Gently massaging the jaw muscles in a circular motion or performing jaw exercises, as recommended by a healthcare professional or physical therapist, can help relieve tension and ease discomfort.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may offer temporary relief from sinus-related jaw pain. However, consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Steering clear of allergens, cigarette smoke and environmental irritants can help prevent aggravation of sinus symptoms, consequently reducing associated jaw pain. Controlling allergies with medication can also provide some sinus pressure relief.
  • Elevation and Rest: Elevating the head while resting or sleeping can promote better sinus drainage and alleviate pressure on the sinuses, thus reducing jaw discomfort. Adding an extra pillow or sleeping in a recliner may provide relief.
  • Humidification: Using a humidifier in the bedroom or living spaces can maintain optimal humidity levels, preventing the sinuses from becoming excessively dry and reducing inflammation.

Many mild sinus infection symptoms can be relieved with home remedies and conservative treatments. However, if you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms that last more than a week or have more severe symptoms, it may be time to see a medical professional for treatment.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Persistent or severe jaw pain associated with sinus infections warrants medical attention. Additionally, if symptoms worsen, or if there is accompanying fever, severe headache, vision changes or swelling, seek prompt medical evaluation to rule out any complications or alternative causes of the symptoms.

Seeking proper medical evaluation, following recommended treatments for sinusitis, and incorporating at-home remedies for symptom relief are essential steps toward finding relief and improving overall comfort during a sinus infection. Most people can experience relief within a few days of treatment.
Woman suffering from jaw pain
Sinus infection jaw pain can be distressing and disruptive to daily life. Understanding the link between sinusitis and jaw discomfort, along with implementing strategies to alleviate sinus pressure, can help manage associated jaw pain effectively and provide relief.

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