Ear, Nose & Throat Community
13.4k Members
Avatar universal

Horrible 24-7 Sinus Pressure / Congestion but no classic allergy symptoms

I'm a 26 year old male and since October 2006 have been experiencing 24-7 sinus pressure in the upper corners of my nose (always one side at a time), but NO allergy symptoms (i.e. no running nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy nose/eyes/throat, etc).

The pressure is so bad that it presses back onto my brain, causing terrible lightheadedness, forgetfullness, and general mental impairment.  I must emphasize that this pressure is ALWAYS there--I am becoming severly depressed and feel like I have run out of options.

CT scan came back perfectly normal.  I have tried Rhinocort, Nasarel and Flonase for many weeks with no improvement, and have tried Astelin nasal spray and Allegra with no effect.

I doubt this is allergies, as I have never in my life had allergies, and also because this sinus pressure is CONSTANTLY there regardless of whether I am possibly in the presence of allergens.

The only things that help are Afrin spray (works for about 20 hours, but has awful rebound congestion) and heavy exercise (the pressure clears up almost completely while my heart is beating fast).

I am going back to my third ENT in a couple weeks.

Anyone else out there have similar symptoms?

59 Responses
Avatar universal

My history:

During October 2006, the day after attending a loud music concert, I developed ringing / tinnitus in my left ear and a strange feeling of pressure in the upper left corner of my nose.  The pressure was constantly on the left side for the first six weeks.  It was an annoyance, but it was relatively mild and there was little congestion.  It felt like there was something inside my nose pressing outward.  The left side of my face also felt numb and tense. There was also pressure behind my left eye, which made the eye feel numb as well.  

About 8 weeks after the pressure started, it began to switch to the right side as well.  I have no idea why it would start only on the left side for 6 weeks, then suddenly decide to switch to both sides.  Also at this time I started having terrible congestion accompanying the pressure.

As of today, the pressure/congestion are always in one of three positions: completely on the left side, completely on the right, or completely in the back of the sinuses, where mucous drains into the throat.  It is there 60% of the time on the left side, 30% on the right side, and 10% in the back sinuses.  When it is in the back I have to constantly suck the mucous down into my throat, as it does not drain by itself and feels like there is a lump if I do not suck it down.
Avatar universal
Have you ever tried sudaphedrine 30 mg? It helps me with my sinuses, but I don't have the severe problems that you do. Might be worth a try.  Be persistant with the dr's. I can't remember if you've had a mri or any type of sinus films but I'd recommend them. Best of luck to you.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the advice tmv--Pseudophedrine HCL help a bit, about 20%, but not nearly enough to make the symptoms non-incapacitating.  I've had a CT, but I'll persist like you suggest and ask for another one, and maybe an MRI too. Best of luck to you.
Avatar universal
So glad to know I'm not alone. I have terrible fatigue on top of the symptoms mentioned here. I have also begun to get floaters (I'm nearsighted anyway, and with glasses I can see fine, but the floaters are adding to the dizziness). Quality of life is horrible. I had an emergency Cranial CT Scan last week because I was sure I was having a seizure or a stroke. The scan was normal. The pressure behind my right eye and basically down the right side of my face (including teeth and gums) is miserable. I'm a non-smoker, 32 years of age, and female, and my biggest fear has been that this is neurological, but seriously, I know it's my sinuses. I've always had minor problems with them, but never, ever this bad.

I've seen a dentist, an opthalmologist, an optometrist, had four blood tests taken (one in Jan., one in Feb., one in March to test for Lupus, and the last one last week in the ER). Bromfenex seemed to help a little, but it's extended release, so it puts me into a zombie state. Astelin made me feel bad, and Nasonex works for two seconds. My humidifier stuffed me up even more. I'm looking into trying a Z-Pack, and will be drinking just lukewarm water and hot teas until summertime. I wish you both and everyone else SO much luck with this.
Avatar universal
I'm a 30 year old male and I have such a mix of symptoms, but I am convinced they are sinus related as well. For the past couple of years, I was dealing with what my ENT said Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. My ear always felt blocked and I was slightly off balance (not really  fully dizzy). Those issues cleared up somewhat, but off and on, I have continual issues with the right side of my face/head. I have a slightly deviated septum which totally cuts off my breathing through that side. It leads to very mild headaches and pressure over/under eye and behind my eye. Claritin used to help clear my nose, but it's been inconsistent of late. Afrin/Nasalcrom seem to help clear me and some of the other issues like the eye/head pressure subside.

I have another ENT appointment scheduled for 6/5, my first visit in over a year. I have zero nausea or any visual problems although my eye gets blurry when I rub it, which is normal. It itches from time to time. I don't have green discharge which would make me think classic sinus infection symptoms, but I definitely have post nasal drip because I constantly have to clear my throat. I use Sinucleanse and it makes me feel better for a while, but it's getting really annoying. I'm tired of always wondering if it's neurological, but I just don't think it is. I also have major neck muscle issues and with the ridiculous amount of time I have spent researching things on the internet, I think that might have something to do with some of my issues as well.

Part of me is scared to do the whole CT scan/MRI thing, but I think I might just for piece of mind. To be honest, this is nearly 3 years since I've been feeling like this, maybe even longer so I think I probably would have dropped dead by now if it was something really bad.

I hope we all figure this **** out eventually. I feel GREAT aside from this on and off head pressure and what feels like inflamed nasal passages!
Avatar universal

I am having a simialr probelm, i got imense pressure in my face and head, i didnt had any flu or cold

dont kknow if it is sinus pressure but cant handle it anymore.

owuld u please tell how yours was cured.

Avatar universal
Has anyone found an answer?  I, too, am suffering the same challenges.  I have been to Allergy Experts, ENT Experts, Eye Experts, and nobody seems to have an answer.  My CT Scan(s) are clear, I have no allergies, and have tried all of the steroid and pill solutions.  The only minor relief that I get is from a nasal irrigator.  If someone has found an answer, please post it for the rest of us.

Thank you,
Avatar universal
I have the same nonstop nasal congestion- I hope it isnt from something called candidiasis which seems to be the only thing that makes sense; but that is a nightmare scenario; doctors dont know what is causing it. Did you ever get the right diagnosis?
Avatar universal
I have my nose contantly stuffed up. I feel dirt in my eyes at night when I close them to go to sleep, &  they get stuck I actually have to pull them open, and I just feel my eyes get real heavy that I cant open them...........I feel this pressure behind my head right in my brain all thetime and it feels ugly like I cant think straight, I cant concentrte sometimes, and even like I am going to lose control of my self at times, I have short term of memory loss at times and speech problems from time to time I actually feel worth less at times. i have no insurance so I have to deal with it.........................i just get scared that it will be something worse at time to time......................It's scarey what if it's a tumer or cancer in the brain..........I really stress my self out over this..........
Avatar universal
I have my nose contantly stuffed up. I feel dirt in my eyes at night when I close them to go to sleep, &  they get stuck I actually have to pull them open, and I just feel my eyes get real heavy that I cant open them...........I feel this pressure behind my head right in my brain all thetime and it feels ugly like I cant think straight, I cant concentrte sometimes, and even like I am going to lose control of my self at times, I have short term of memory loss at times and speech problems from time to time I actually feel worth less at times. i have no insurance so I have to deal with it.........................i just get scared that it will be something worse at time to time......................It's scarey what if it's a tumer or cancer in the brain..........I really stress my self out over this..........
Avatar universal
I just recently experienced intense pressure in both of my ears out of nowhere. The pressure subsided a bit through this last week but now my teeth, face and back of my neck are extremely full of pressure and I'm in terrible pain! I also have a little chest congestion that seems to make me cough in the evening hours. My teeth actually hurt worse than anything right now! I don't even want to eat and I can't have hot drinks because I also have rosacea. I am a mother of two toddlers and attend online classes for my school. I am so busy all the time and can't concentrate as well as I used to. I just took some Ibruprofen, about 800 mgs..does anyone know of any other solutions at this point? I don't have insurance until the end of this year when my husband's benefits kick in that actually include the spouse..go figure huh?? Please help anyone! Thanks!
Avatar universal
this is what im experiencing right now. pressure above the corner of the nose. its so very uncomfortable having this problem. when i feel the pressure i cant breathe on that affected area. it result for me to be emotion unstable. the part of this is, it affect as mentally. it so damn affecting me that im become a loner and i got so many failing grades on my studies.
Avatar universal
i also have this problem. pressure on the upper corners of the nose., which has affecting my brain (feeling of headache, with matching mood change, personality etc.).

i consulted 3 ENT because of this but those 3 ent doctors only said to me that im having sinusitis and slightly deviated septum. itold them what i feel about my nose but they just dont like to talk about that.

do you found the cure  24-7SinusPressure?. please reply here if you check in this forum again. you made this topic about a year ago. i hope we can read you post again here concerning this issues. thank you

Avatar universal
I am the same, am seeing a neurologist tomorrow, am scared this could be a tumour. I have pain at the to of my nose, tightening across the forehead, pain in my ears, pain behind my eyes, tingling sensations all over, I'm so scared
Avatar universal
I have had nearly all the symptoms listed here for 2 months now, and have been getting sinus infections for years. This is the first time that no antibiotic has worked. I have tried three so far. I also had an MRI last week, and it came back negative for anything neurological and, in fact, indicated my sinuses were clear. I felt like I was going to strangle in the MRI "tube" on the post-nasal drip which never goes away, and my face was totally numb on one side from all the pressure. But supposedly my sinuses are clear! How can this be? To Fairyloveheart, I would not worry about your problem being a tumor. That is highly unlikely. I described some of my newest symptoms to my ENT, who has known me for years since I am a frequent visitor, and he acted like he had never heard of these symptoms, like skipping heart beats, tingling in the face, extreme dizziness and unable to think from the pain and pressure. But I have just read that many of you have had the same symptoms, which is some comfort, but it would be even better if the ENTs knew this! I have two symptoms I that no one has described
1. the numbing and tingling sensations were not only on the left side of my head but several times went down the whole left side of my body. I thought I was having a stroke and went to the ER, but the MRI did not show that I had had a stroke. 2. And no one has described feeling like you have the flu all the time on top of the other horrible symptoms. It is getting more and more impossible to work in this condition. Has anyone else had these strange symptoms associated with a Sinus Infection? Migraines and allergies were ruled out.
Avatar universal
I have over the years had very similar problems.  I can't take sudifed because I take medicine for my thryroid.  For the longest time I thought I had a brain tumor.  But because it has been going on for years and I only seem to get it from November - April I have come to the conclusion that I have barometric headaches..  All winter and when the weather changes (rain, snow etc.) My face and head hurts very bad. I have been sick to my stomach and dizzy.  I have been allergy tested and that is negative.  I take two Motrin and I swear it goes away.  Sometimes if I let it go to long it may take 4 Motrin. It reduces the swelling from your sinus.  Hope this helps. As far as the tingling down the arm it could be anxiety if everything else is negative.
Avatar universal
My symptoms are identical to the original poster, I even have the same thing with the Afrin helping temporarily then a rebound later that's so bad it wasn't even worth it..And the same thing with exercise helping to clear the passages, that is when I muster enough energy as I feel like I've had 4 hours of sleep in 2 years..Anyone had any luck resolving, it's unbearable, ONE CAN'T GO ON LIVING LIKE THIS.

Avatar universal
I too had a CT ordered by an ENT and they all said no problem you're clear! DOCTORS DON'T SEEM TO KNOW ANYTHING.
Avatar universal
i also have this "nose pressure" but i dont know if it is a sinus pressure so i will describe it. please tell me if this is also what you're experiencing.

i have this nose pressure. that  is located on the upper corners on the side of the bridge of the nose inside. its like there is something "pinched" inside of my affected nostril. if things get worst, not only that i felt this pinched or pressure, the affected nostril of my nose also suffer compression!. its like your one nostril was being compressed, so damn compressed that you may think that the hole of your nostril was disappeared. totally blocked.

sometimes this pressure is disappeared!. but the problem is....... it switches on the other nostril!. so the other nostril (right nostril) is the one who feels the pressure.

i would like to ask if this is the sinus pressure that you experience.

i doubt that what i have is a sinus pressure because the pressure is on my nose it self.
and the sinus is located on the face not on the nose.

im going to reply here again if someone here reply on my message. thank you
Avatar universal
i also add that when ever i blow or sniff on the affected nostril (sinus/nose pressure) i feel ache on my head. on the lower back of my head near the neck. but this ache instantly disappeared. this ache is just a respond on the blow or sniff that i did. i also notice that my vision became worser and worser. i dont know if this is two are connected.

anyway do you frequently sniff. because when ever i sniff sometimes the pressure disappeared temporarily. i also felt this "pull" feeling in my nose. but sometimes sniffing makes this pressure worst.

Avatar universal
I just found this post and it just about made my cry...

For the last 3-4 years I've had progressively worse symptoms. They seem to roughly coincide with the change in seasons, and used to last for a week or two. Last season, they lasted for over 2 months. It starts with an abundance of phlegm, both in my saliva and in my sinuses. Often this is accompanied by intense sinus pressure. It's bad enough that it affects my vision and hearing. It then moves into a sever case of post-nasal drip, which empties into my lungs while I sleep. I then exhibit signs of cold/flu, aches, pains, headache and tiredness. I then move into violent coughing spells where I'm coughing up enough phlegm to fill a drinking glass ~1-2" per night. It get so intense I'm often on all fours coughing into the glass. About this time my ears completely plug, with intense, painful pressure. I often feel sinus pressure which seems to move from one sinus cavity to another. It doesn't feel like I'm blocked up with mucus, more like my sinuses are so swollen that they are closing up. It's gotten to the point where I've threatened to stick an ice pick in my ear, or even commit suicide. That sounds dramatic, but during a prolonged attack, I can't emphasize enough how much it affects my outlook on life.

During my last attack, I spent over 7,000 dollars on doctors, healers and medicines. I've been put on antibiotics more times than I can count. I've have a cat-scan (everything was normal), I've been to an ENT, Allergist, homeopathic allergist and an acupuncturist. I'm currently on preventive Astaline and Nasonex. I use a Neilmed sinus rinse almost daily. I run an air purifier, have encased my bed and pillows in allergy barriers, and keep a very clean apartment with only wood floors. I even recently moved to a new apartment. I was tested for allergies, and tested positive for nothing. I don't eat meat (over 15 years), have very little dairy and am generally more heathy than 99% of the population. I'm 31, thin/fit and work out. I live in New York City, and just hope I'm not allergic to the city!

I'm feeling the symptoms coming on again, and I'm getting very worried. I'm a freelance designer, and when I get sick, I don't get paid. I really hope someone out there has a suggestion. I read through this post, and unfortunately, there were no new ideas that I haven't considered/tried. I've taken up to 300mg of pseudophedrine daily, tried the candita diet, removed dairy from my diet, tried asteline, zyterc, flonaise, rhinocort, had steroid shots, antibiotics... you name it, I've tried it.

If anyone has any new ideas, please let me know!

Avatar universal
It sounds like it might be electromagnetic sensitivity.  Tinnitus, sinus headaches, strange light sleeping, dizzyness, anxiety, occasional blurry vision, head fog.  I got it all and I found that it was because I was being affected by my cell phone, wifi, gaming system and cordless phones (especially powerful DECT phones).  They all emit high radiation and they are on 24/7.

It all got better when I turned them off.  check out electrosensitivity.org or Canada's WEEP initiative.  Best of luck and if it is helpful -- pass on the info -- not so many people know about this but I think a lot are suffering from the same symptoms.

Avatar universal
ten to one you probably have vasomotor rhinitis.  I have had this for 6 miserable years. Nothing works, nasal rinses twice a day per doctor. Steroid nasal sprays- don't work, antihistamines don't work.  increased water intake did not work, humidifer in bedroom did not help. Elevating the head of the bed is suppose to help with vasomotor rhinitis- did not help. Spent $1,000 on hepa air filter on furnace to help with any air irritiants - did not help- my house smells good that is about it.  All the doctors ever say is "this can be inflammation from allergic or nonallergic rhinitis- use nasal rinses, steroid nasal sprays and this could take weeks to months for the steroid nasal spray to help". Look back on these ENT forums that is all the doctors ever say .  There is not a cure for this problem. It has to do with the blood vessels inside your nose that expand and cause congestion and after sometime the blood vessels can not return back to a normal state and that would cause chronic nasal congestion. and post nasal drainage as well.
Avatar universal
I'm still in the process of being tested for my symptoms.  For the past 3 months now, I feel very tired.  My nose and ears and somewhat stuffed up and I have trouble breathing.  I feel like like I have to always clear my throat to get enough air in.  I take deap breaths in to get more oxygen and I sometimes get dizzy spells and I feel like I have some nasal drainage happening into my throat.  I have had tests done on my lungs, heart, broncial area, CT Scan and allergy tests done.  I am healthy other than a small Cyst in my nose (which the doctor tells me is normal for a lot of people) and my allergy tests came back with my being allergic to dust mites and somewhat to cats.  I am taking Aerius for allergies and it doesn't seem to really help.  I do have cats (and always have) and I really don't believe that my cats are causing how I feel.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the food and spice allergy tests I've taken.  This is very frustrating and I'm wondering if anyone else out there has any possible answers.  Thanks so much!
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
Discover the common causes of and treatments for a sore throat.
Learn about what actually causes your temperature to spike.
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
Family medicine doctor Enoch Choi, MD helps differentiate between the common cold and more threatening (bacterial) infections
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life