Common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that occurs when the air that we breathe contains viruses such as rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus or parainfluenza virus. When any of these viruses are inhaled in, the immune system detects the presence of foreign invaders. As an immune response, the mucus membranes that line the nasal passages start secreting mucus. Nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing are the most common symptoms of common cold. One may even suffer from a headache due to cold. Infections such as common cold or flu can also increase the risk of sinusitis. The term sinusitis or a sinus infection refers to the inflammation of sinuses. When these air-filled spaces located around the bones surrounding the nose, eyes and cheeks get inflamed, one is most likely to experience pressure around the face. Scroll down to learn about the causes of head pressure along with ways to relieve head pressure from a cold or sinusitis.
Infections that Cause Head Pressure
Nasal congestion and the resultant head pressure could be caused due to viral infections such as common cold or influenza. Unlike influenza, common cold is never really a cause of grave concern. However, the symptoms of a head cold can be quite discomforting. One may suffer from headaches, runny nose, cough, scratchy throat, sneezing or a low-grade fever. Person-to-person transmission can occur if a healthy person touches his/her eyes or nose after touching objects or surfaces touched by the infected person. One can also inhale the airborne virus, if one is near the infected person while he/she coughs or sneezes. At times, a common cold may be followed by a sinus infection. Exposure to allergens or environmental pollutants is one of the most common causes of a sinus infection. Viral or bacterial infections may cause swelling and inflammation of the membranes that line the sinuses. When the small opening that connects the sinuses to the nasal passages get blocked due to mucus, bacteria start growing in these air-filled spaces thereby causing a sinus infection. If any of these four pairs of sinuses get inflamed, one is likely to experience head pressure.
Ways to Get Rid of Head Pressure Arising from a Cold
Now that you have a basic idea on infections that may cause head pressure, let's find out about ways to relieve head pressure. First of all, there is a need to ascertain the underlying cause of head pressure. The symptoms of many of the upper respiratory tract infections are similar, thus, it's important to determine whether headaches or head pressure is caused by common cold or sinusitis. It is the congestion of nasal passages or sinus cavities that cause heaviness or feeling of pressure in head, therefore, the treatment would revolve around treating nasal congestion. Given below is some information on ways to get relief from head pressure from a sinus infection or common cold.
Drink Fluids: It is extremely important that the patient drinks at least 7 to 8 glasses of water everyday. This is to compensate for the loss of fluids caused due to the increased production of mucus. Drinking warm water, hot soup or herbal teas may help in thinning down the mucus that has accumulated in the sinus cavities. Once the accumulated mucus clears up, the feeling of pressure will soon go away.
Spicy Food: Having spicy food can help in relieving nasal congestion and sinus pressure. It is believed that capsaicin, which is a compound present in cayenne pepper, can help in stimulating the nerve fibers located in the sinuses. Thus, having foods that are flavored with chillies or peppers may facilitate sinus drainage and help in loosening the mucus from nasal passages as well.
Inhalation of Steam: Steam inhalation is definitely a great remedy for head cold as well as head pressure. All you need to do heat water until it boils. Pour the water into a ceramic bowl. Lean over the bowl of hot water. Close your eyes and place a towel over your head. Breathe in the vapors. However, make sure that your face is at least 6 to 8 inches away from the pot. This is to prevent burns or discomfort. You can also put a few drops of tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil to hot water. There is another method of inhaling steam. Drop a few drops of tea tree oil, peppermint oil or lavender oil on the floor and simply sit in the bathroom while the shower runs. Steam not only moistens the nasal passages, but also helps in clearing the congestion. Inhaling these vapors will also help in relieving sinus pressure.
Application of Heat: Application of warm compresses is also one of the effective home remedies for head cold. Applying warm compresses over the inflamed area will surely ease the discomfort caused by blocked sinuses. Since sinus pressure is generally experienced over the forehead and around the eyes, one can apply warm compresses over the forehead and eyes.
Acupressure: Head pressure due to sinusitis can also be relieved by massaging the sinus pressure points. Place your thumbs at the center of your forehead and move your thumbs from the eyebrows towards the temples. One can also place the middle finger and the index finger next to the nostrils and massage the cheekbones for a minute in a circular motion. This might help in clearing the congestion. Those suffering from severe sinus pressure headaches can consult an acupressure practitioner in order to learn more about the pressure points.
Nasal Rinse: Nasal irrigation can also help in the treatment of nasal congestion. One can prepare a nasal rinse by mixing a pinch of baking soda and a pinch of salt to 8 ounces of lukewarm water. Squirt this solution into the nostrils and drain it in a few seconds. Use this nasal rinse twice a day.
These were some ways to get rid of head pressure that may be resulting from inflamed sinuses or infections such as common cold. You could try these tried-and-tested remedies if you ever experience debilitating head pressure due to cold or sinusitis. One must also take ample rest during the recovery period. Exerting yourself while you are down with a cold, flu or sinus infection, may worsen the symptoms and prevent you from recovering soon. So, give your body ample time to recover. Since viruses that cause such infections spread easily, so maintain distance from those who are suffering from cold or flu.