Anatomy Physiology

The sinuses are open air filled cavities in four areas of the facial bones and skull. They are found in pairs  named for their location in the facial bones, and they open into the nose. Most people have four sets of sinuses, but some have more or less. The usual set includes the maxillary, the ethmoid, the sphenoid, and the frontal. 

The maxillary sinuses are located in the maxillary portion of the facial bones. These sinuses are under the eyes and usually the largest. They are present at birth and grow with the face.

The ethmoid sinuses are between the eyes. These sinuses have are split into two sections, the anterior and posterior, and have partitions that separate them into many partitions. These sinuses are like honeycombs, and are present at birth.

The sphenoid sinuses are in the midline in the skull, way behind the nose. These sinuses are filled with marrow at birth, but start to become air filled sometime later in life.

The Frontal Sinuses are located in the forehead. These sinuses can grow quite large but are not present at birth. Most children develop these sinuses in adolescence, but some do not.  10% of the population does not develop frontal sinuses.

Sinuses are best known because people can have problems with them. Bacteria can get in through the nose and they fill with pus and become quite painful.  It usually goes away on its own, but some people get chronic disease and it bothers them all the time. When this happens they need lots of drugs or maybe surgery to make it stop.

Sinuses are lined with mucous membrane and little hairs called villi that sweep the mucous out into the air passages. They make a lot of mucous, but when they’re infected it all turns to pus.

If you have a problem with your sinuses you can probably clear them up by breathing hot steam and sucking on Halls cough drops, but you might have to see a doctor. A doctor can tell if you need medications or just treatment at home. Doctors will tell you to take antihistamines, decongestants, and over-the-counter pain killers, or maybe prescribe an antibiotic.

My favorite way to take care of sinus problems is to bend way over in a hot shower. If I stand there for a minute or two I can feel stuff rearrange in my head, and then I need to blow my nose. But after that everything is fine.