Sinusitis and Dizziness – Are Clogged Sinuses Making Your Head Spin?

Sinusitis sufferers experience a symphony of symptoms. Dizziness, stuffy nose, post nasal drip, stopped up ears, thick mucus and a scratchy throat are the most common. Ultimately, the goal of treatment is to eliminate the infection, but it helps to alleviate the symptoms along the way, especially in the case of sinusitis and dizziness, which can interfere with your ability to function.

Sinus cavities are air pockets in your skull located in your forehead, around the nose and cheeks. When these cavities get filled with thick mucus that doesn’t drain properly, a sinus infection can result. The congestion can be caused by allergies, viral, fungal or bacterial infection. These instigators of sinus misery can work alone or together, making decisions about treatment a challenge.

When you are dizzy, you feel light headed and/or physically off-balance. Maintaining balance is a complex process involving several difference structures in the body.

Your inner ears contain structures that sense directions. They function whether your eyes are open and closed, but work with the eyes which send signals to let your brain know where your body is in space, such as upside down or right side up. There are receptors in the skin and other tissues called proprioceptors that tell the brain where each part of the body is and sense when you are touching the ground or in motion. Your brain processes all of this information and makes sense of it, which keeps us in balance.

If the brain receives conflicting information, you get dizzy. A sinus infection can alter the pressure of the inner ear and cause a change in the cochlea (the primary structure that deals with balance). The cochlea, in turn sends a different signal to the brain, which results in dizziness.

While most symptoms of sinusitis are a nuisance, dizziness can create problems driving or performing other tasks. So it is important to seek treatment quickly. Doctors can prescribe medication to treat sinus infections, but there are also effective alternative treatments.

There is no treatment for sinusitis that works for everyone. For example, you may need to change antibiotics if the first one doesn’t work or you might find that an alternative treatment that never fails for a friend doesn’t work for you at all.

Preventing sinusitis is the best way to eliminate the dizziness and other symptoms. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stay well hydrated. Drink lots of water. It makes a difference.
  • Avoid heavily processed foods with lots of chemicals added
  • Pay attention to your body when you eat. If your nose gets stopped up after you eat something, avoid that food. You are probably allergic to it.
  • If the air gets too dry, use a humidifier or vaporizer.
  • If you suffer from nasal allergies, use an air conditioner (remember to keep the filter clean) or air purifier.

If it’s too late and you already suffer from clogged sinuses and dizziness, treatments such as eucalyptus vapor, over-the-counter nasal sprays, decongestants, and cayenne pepper can relieve pressure and help you regain your balance quickly.

Even if you are sure your dizziness is caused by sinus problems, see your doctor right away. It may be your sinuses, or it may be something else. Whatever the cause, dizziness can interfere with your daily activities. Deal with it quickly.