Neck & Sinus Pain


The sinuses are a sensitive, open area directly behind the nose and eyes. This open space is lined with light, free-flowing mucus that prevents dirt, pollen and other airborne particles from entering the lungs. The sinus cavity can easily become irritated, swollen and eventually become infected. These conditions are the result of a cold, allergies or the amount of humidity in the air. When the sinus cavity is irritated, it leads to tremendous pressure in and around the face, which can affect the eyes, ears and back of the neck.

Woman holding nose
Woman holding nose (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)


Sinus pain is caused by swollen membranes of the sinus cavity. The swollen membranes push on the surrounding areas in the head, causing discomfort and pain. If the swelling persists, a vacuum can be created within the sinus cavity, producing more pressure. The added pressure affects the surrounding muscles in the face, back of the head and the neck. A muscle's natural response to pain is to tighten, leaving it feeling tight, sore and in pain.

Man holding nose
Man holding nose (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


The most effective treatment for neck and sinus pain is to take a 12-hour, over-the-counter decongestant and a pain reliever. The decongestant will cause the swollen membranes to return to their normal size and expel any excess mucus in the sinus cavity. The pain reliever will help alleviate the pain and discomfort in both the sinuses and the neck. Use pain relievers that are an anti-inflammatory such as naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin. These will help cure any inflammation in the sinuses, easing the pain and congestion.

Woman holding nasal spray
Woman holding nasal spray (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)


Preventing sinus and neck pain involves awareness and learning how your body responds to certain environments and foods. For example, some people cannot remain in humid climates without experiencing sinus congestion while other people have to avoid dairy products in order to keep his sinuses open and free of excessive mucus. At the first sign of sinus pressure or pain, take an over-the-counter decongestant to prevent the sinus cavity from getting to the point where it will cause pain.

Man holding pills
Man holding pills (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)


When sinus and neck pain co-exist, you may want to talk to a doctor. Pain is a sign of a potential infection, which can lead to more serve complications if not treated. If the sinus and neck pain are a result of an infection, a doctor will most likely prescribe an antibiotic to fight off the infection. Avoiding the use of antibiotics if you have an infection could cause the infection to spread to the ears, the eyes and even the brain. At this rare stage, an individual may have to be hospitalized.

Doctor touching man's neck
Doctor touching man's neck (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Natural Remedies

There are many natural remedies to help alleviate sinus and neck pain. The most common natural remedies are to spray saline spray up the nose to moisten the sinus cavity, helping the body naturally recover from sinus irritation. A hot compress on the front of the face and the back of the neck for 20 minutes will help relax any tight muscles causing pain. Another great natural remedy is to see a professional masseuse to rub both the face and the back of the neck. A massage can take away the pain and help you relax.

Woman with hot compress on her neck
Woman with hot compress on her neck (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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