What Are Sinuses Exactly?

What Are Sinuses?


By Stephen Chandler, MD |11 May 2021|


Up to this point you may have been reading along to my blog saying “yes, of course, the sinuses!”, but do you really know what they are? In this blog entry we will cover what sinuses are, what they do, and potential areas of concern. 

The etymology or origin of the word “sinus” comes from Latin and means “a recess, bend”. This is a fitting name as the nasal sinuses are a system of interconnected hollow cavities that extend through the cheekbones, the forehead, behind the nose, and between the eyes. The maxillary sinuses are underneath the cheekbones, just below the eyes, and are the largest of the paired sinus cavities. The frontal sinuses are located in the forehead area and drain just behind the bridge of the nose. The ethmoid sinuses are between the eyes and the sphenoid sinuses are located further back behind the ethmoid cavities about half way through the skull. 

These interconnected cavities work as a humidifier, air filter, and voice amplifier all in one. As the air passes through our nostrils towards our lungs, the mucus in the sinuses help to moisten the air. The cilia that line the sinus and nasal cavity filter the air and catch debris such as allergens, bacteria and viruses. Also, the hollow nature of the cavities helps to amplify our voices like the hole of an acoustic guitar. Finally, the paranasal sinuses help to reduce skull bone weight by between two to three ounces or 55 to 85 grams.

But what happens if the mucus builds up and can’t drain from the sinus cavities? Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinus lining and is often associated with accumulation of infected mucus. We’ve all experienced the symptoms, similar to those of a common cold: runny nose, congestion, and sinus pressure, but an infection takes this process a step further. The easiest, fastest, and most cost effective way to maintain healthy sinuses and combat inflammation is to use a nasal rinsing device daily. Complete Rinse, for example, will reduce inflammation caused by retained nasal debris and flush out the infection causing bacteria. If your symptoms persist or worsen, then it may be time to see an ENT professional like myself! 

Dr. Stephen Chandler is a practicing Otolaryngologist in Montgomery, Alabama and owner of Sandler Scientific, LLC, makers of CompleteRinse®. To schedule a visit with Dr. Chandler call 334-834-7221 Learn more at https://www.jacksonclinicent.org/. Complete Rinse is available on Amazon and at www.completerinse.com.