Does Flying Cause You Sinus Pain?

woman hides face in hands

If you are planning a trip this summer but are hesitant to fly due to sinus pain in the past, you are not alone. Those with sinus problems can experience increased pain and complications when they fly. Do not cancel your travel plans – instead, learn more about why flying aggravates your sinuses and what you can do to relieve your sinus pain.

Most people have experienced the “popping” in their ears when they fly. This is the sinuses adjusting to the change in pressure as the plane ascends and descends during the flight. When the sinuses are working correctly, this is only mildly uncomfortable. Chewing gums or swallowing can relieve the pressure, but if you have sinusitis or other sinus conditions, your symptoms may be severe.

When your sinuses are already congested from acute or chronic sinusitis, they cannot relieve the pressure from flying correctly. This can result in excessive pressure that can be painful and may make your sinuses worse. There are uncomfortable symptoms that can follow flying and, in some cases, serious health complications.

Aftereffects of Flying with Sinusitis

If you have sinusitis and fly, you may be in for a miserable trip. Not only will you likely experience sinus pain during the flight, but you may have aftereffects that last for days or weeks. Mild sinusitis may be managed by flushing the sinuses before your trip or using medications, but those with more severe sinusitis can have health complications. These can include:

  • Worsening sinus infection
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Eustachian tube blockage
  • Eardrum damage and possible hearing loss

If you already have sinus issues, flying will only make them worse. When sinusitis becomes chronic, meaning it lasts for months, it can seriously impact your life and health. For those who often fly for work or leisure, seeking treatment for chronic sinusitis is vital to avoid pain and serious complications.

Preventive Treatment to Avoid Sinus Complications

Chronic sinusitis can be more than uncomfortable when flying – if left untreated, it can result in meningitis, brain abscesses, and other rare complications. The best way to avoid sinus pain and resume traveling pain-free is to seek professional sinus treatment. Opening the sinus passages to relieve congestion can provide relief.

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that can resolve many cases of chronic sinusitis. The procedure is performed as an outpatient surgery, but no incisions are needed. Once the sinuses are opened, it is easier for your sinuses to function normally during flying, and there is a reduced chance of future nasal congestion and sinus infections.

If you want to fly pain-free and resolve your ongoing sinus symptoms, come see us at New York Sinusitis Treatment. Dr. Greg Levitin is a board-certified otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, and ENT specialist that offers balloon sinuplasty and other effective sinusitis treatments. Call our office in NYC to schedule your sinusitis treatment consultation.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Gregory Levitin, New York Sinusitis Treatment

Columbus Circle Office

200 W. 57th Street Suite 1410
New York, NY 10019

(212) 784-6643