Discover the Mysteries of Your Sinuses

The sinuses may be mysterious and hard for most people to define, but there’s no mystery when they’re not working properly. Here's what you need to know.
Sinuses Being Cleaned & Checked by ENT Doctors
Reviewed by
Published on
January 26, 2022
Updated on
February 15, 2023

What the Heck Are Sinuses Anyway?

The sinuses may be mysterious and hard for most people to define, but there's no mystery when they're not working properly.

Pain and pressure, headaches, congestion, runny or stuffy nose. The sinuses can be to blame for many breathing issues, or just plain feeling not-so-hot. So what are your sinuses anyway?

The sinuses are four sets of air-filled, mucus-lined pockets in the skull. They are located in the forehead, in the cheeks, and between the eyes and behind the nose.

  • Frontal Sinus = located in the lower part of the forehead and reaches over the eye sockets and eyebrows
  • Ethmoid Sinuses = found in the spongy ethmoid bone in the upper part of the nose between the eyes
  • Maxillary Sinuses = the largest sinus, located below the cheeks, above the teeth and on the sides of the nose
Sinus Diagram

What is the Role of the Sinuses?

The sinuses are your friend - when they work properly, their primary role is to keep you healthy.

The sinuses work with the nose and are the first part of your immune system. They are the front line defense against external pathogens and outward enemies. Each set has openings into the nose, and works in combination with the nose and breathing system to maintain health.

If sinuses are working normally, the lining of mucus allows your body to filter out external entities and also fight against illness.  

What Causes Sinus Problems?

When sinuses aren't working properly, it can leave you feeling pretty miserable. Sinus issues can be caused by either anatomy issues or inflammation issues.

  • Sinus Anatomy = If the sinus openings are too small, mucus gets trapped, unable to drain properly.
  • Chronic Inflammation = The lining of your sinuses are irritated.

Many folks experience both issues at once. Both issues mean things are getting blocked up behind the scenes. This causes the pain and congestion you experience when you're sick - or if you're one of the unlucky ones, you could experience this regularly if your sinuses are too small.

First published by ADVENT on
January 26, 2022
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Discover the Mysteries of Your Sinuses