Chronic sinusitis treatment focuses on reducing the persistent inflammation of nasal passages and relieving facial pain.

Chronic sinusitis is most commonly caused by an infection, but can also be caused by nasal polyps, a deviated septum. To be deemed chronic, the condition must have been ongoing for several weeks.

Symptoms include swollen and inflamed nasal passages, which can cause a great deal of facial tenderness and pain; difficulty breathing through the nose; drainage of thick, dark greenish or yellowish nasal mucous; reduced sense of smell and taste; headaches; ear pain; sore throat; fatigue; and cough.

Chronic sinusitis treatment centers on reducing the inflammation in the sinuses, draining the nasal passages, and resolving the underlying issue, whether that’s an infection or other medical problem.

If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to reduce swelling and relieve pain, such as a decongestant or mild pain reliever.

For more serious cases, your doctor may prescribe a nasal corticosteroid, such as fluticasone (Flonase) or mometasone (Nasonex), or an oral or injected corticosteroid, such as prednisone.

To complement the effects of the medications in your chronic sinusitis treatment plan, your physician may also suggest nasal irrigation with a saline solution. This therapy is sometimes also practiced to maintain good nasal hygiene and involves spraying a saline solution into your nose to rinse and clear the nasal passages.

If your chronic sinusitis is related to a sinus infection, antibiotics will also be necessary to eliminate the infection. (Antibiotics will only be useful in the case of a bacterial infection.)

Sometimes chronic sinusitis is the result of severe allergies, which can aggravate the sinuses and cause them to be inflamed. In this case, the allergies must be treated to eliminate flare-ups. One treatment option is immunotherapy, which involves injections of tiny amounts of specific allergens to help the body build up a tolerance to them.

In rare cases a doctor will recommend surgery as chronic sinusitis treatment, with this usually reserved for those patients who show no signs of improvement with medications or other treatments.

In surgery, it is possible for the doctor to explore the sinus passages with an endoscope — a very small and flexible camera scope with an attached light — to locate obstructions. Upon finding one, the doctor can remove the tissue, making it easier for the patient’s nasal passages to brain, and for the patient to breathe.

Image by M Glasgow on Flickr