Sinusitis Sinusitis
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Sinusitis What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Credit: iStockPhoto One of the most common symptoms of any type of sinusitis is pain, and the location depends on which sinus is affected.

If you have pain in your forehead, the problem lies in your frontal sinuses. Pain in your upper jaw and teeth, with tender cheeks, may mean your maxillary sinuses are involved. Experiencing pain between your eyes, sometimes with swelling of the eyelids and tissues around your eyes, and tenderness when you touch the sides of your nose may mean sinusitis has developed in your ethmoid sinuses. Pain in your neck, with earaches, and deep achiness at the top of your head could be a sign that your sphenoid sinuses are involved (though these sinuses are affected less often).

Most people with sinusitis have pain or tenderness in several places, and their symptoms usually do not clearly indicate which sinuses are inflamed. Pain is not as common in chronic sinusitis as it is in acute sinusitis.

In addition to the pain, people who have sinusitis (acute or chronic) often have thick nasal secretions that can be white, yellowish, greenish, or blood-tinged. Sometimes these secretions drain in the back of the throat and are difficult to clear. This is referred to as “post-nasal drip.” Also, cases of acute and chronic sinusitis are usually accompanied by a stuffy nose, as well as by a general feeling of fullness over the entire face.

Less common symptoms of sinusitis (acute or chronic) can include the following:

Tiredness Decreased sense of smell Cough that may be worse at night Sore throat Bad breath Fever

On very rare occasions, acute sinusitis can result in brain infection and other serious complications.

Because your nose can get stuffy or congested when you have a condition like the common cold, you may confuse simple nasal congestion with sinusitis. A cold usually lasts about 7 to 14 days and goes away without treatment. Acute sinusitis often lasts longer and typically causes more symptoms than a cold.