When a Cold or the Flu Causes Sinus Pain

Understanding and treating sinus pain.

To understand sinus pain, you first have to understand what the sinuses are and what they do. Sinuses are air-filled spaces in our forehead, cheekbones, and behind the bridge of our nose. Their main function is to produce mucus to coat the inside of the nose and provide protection from dust, dirt, and organisms such as bacteria and viruses.

When the sinuses become inflamed, the mucus can’t drain properly, and the result is a sinus headache. The pain of a sinus headache is usually deep and constant, and it is centered on the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose, and it tends to get worse with sudden movements of the head.

Colds and the flu are common causes of sinus inflammation. The viruses that cause colds and the flu can also infect the sinuses and cause the sinus membranes to become inflamed. This triggers your body to produce more mucus, which clogs your sinuses, causing pain and pressure.

Treating Sinus Pain

There are a number of medications available that can ease the symptoms of a cold or the flu and help relieve sinus pain.

  • A nasal decongestant can help relieve the feeling of a stuffy nose to help you breathe better. These medicines work by narrowing the inflamed blood vessels, so the swollen area inside the nose shrinks and air can pass through more easily.
  • A pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil®) can lessen the discomfort of sinus pain. And unlike some other pain relievers, ibuprofen can also reduce inflammation.

Advil® Cold & Sinus and Advil® Cold & Sinus Plus are two nonprescription medications that include both a decongestant and ibuprofen to address the range of cold and flu symptoms.

Be sure this product is right for you, read and follow the label. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute of any kind for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of a qualified professional as required. Speak to your healthcare professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, or beginning or discontinuing any course of treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.