Read below about nose pain, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your nose pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nose pain

Nose Pain Quiz

Nose Pain Symptoms

Several nerves and their branches control sensation to the face and nose. Sometimes, damage to these nerves can result in uncomfortable pain in different parts of the face. Nevertheless, nose pain is more commonly associated with problems related specifically to the nasal cavity rather than nerves.

Symptoms of nasal cavity dysfunction that can result in nose pain symptoms include:

Nose Pain Causes Overview

Even though nasal pain can be extremely uncomfortable, fortunately its causes are limited.

Inflammation causes

Conditions that cause your body to mount a natural immune response against irritation and injury — infection, allergy, autoimmune disease — can cause pain in the nose. Pain is a primary sign of inflammation and is often associated with inflammatory causes of nose pain.

  • Upper respiratory illness: Whether due to viral or bacterial causes, when the nasal passages become infected, symptoms such as congestion, discharge, and runny nose result. The constant irritation to the nasal cavity results in inflammation that can cause swelling and pain.
  • Allergy (rhinitis): Allergens in the air such as pollen and hay can make even the healthiest person sneeze. However, when the immune system overreacts to these common irritants – as in people with severe allergies – chronic inflammation of the nasal passages can occur. This results in persistent congestion, sneezing, and swelling of the nose and face that often also becomes painful.
  • Sinusitis: This is a condition in which the sinuses of the nasal cavity become inflamed – often due to upper respiratory illness or allergies. This condition can be acute or chronic and primarily interferes with nasal drainage, causing buildup. The resulting buildup puts pressure on the area around the face, eyes, and cheeks causing both nasal pain and facial tenderness.

Trauma-related causes

  • Anything that causes direct injury to the nose – a punch in the face, a car accident, a traumatic fall – can result in extreme pain in the nose, especially if the nose fractures. These causes may also be associated with visible deformity and bleeding depending on the severity of the trauma.

Obstructive/structural causes

  • Sometimes the nose can become lined with soft, painless, noncancerous growths known as nasal polyps. The mechanism for the growth of these polyps is currently unknown, but they can cause swelling of the internal nasal cavity and lead to blockage and congestion that worsens symptoms.
  • Structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum or a narrow nasal passage can also lead to pain, swelling, and associated symptoms.

Environmental causes

  • Insects: Insects are a nuisance in general, but insects become even more annoying when they happen to involve the nose. A bite from any insect – mosquito, spider, flea, etc. – can cause the nose to swell and also become itchy and painful.
  • Non-allergic: Though irritants such as dust, smog, and smoke can trigger allergic reactions, in some people no evidence of an allergic reaction is found. These situations cause similar symptoms to that of allergic rhinitis – including sneezing, swelling, congestion and most importantly nasal pain.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Nose Pain

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced nose pain. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Acute Viral Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    Symptoms should subside within 7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Broken Nose

    Nasal fractures are common occurrences. The force needed to break the nasal bones is less than any of the other bones of the face because of their thinness and position. For kids, treatment and diagnosis is different because of the bones may not be fully formed.

    With treatment, return to normal breathing and looks is highly likely.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mouth breathing, constant nose pain, swollen nose, nose pain caused by trauma, nose bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with broken nose:
    nose pain caused by trauma, swollen nose, constant nose pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when they're sick collect excess mucus and can become infected. When your symptoms are persisting for 10 days or more or are getting worse over time, it's more likely that you'll have a bacterial infection as compared to a viral infection.

    7-15 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Iatrogenic Nose Condition

    Surgery of the nose or nose piercing can result in side effects ranging from infection, pain and swelling to numbness and decreased sense of smell.

    Depending on type of complication

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nose pain, bloody nose, bump in or on the nose, nose redness, swollen nose
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Nose Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nose pain.

    Nose Pain Quiz
  6. 6.Foreign Body in the Nose

    When an object becomes stuck in the nose, it can cause severe discomfort, but rarely results in dangerous complications.

    A physician will remove the object.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    frequent sneezing, nose pain, bloody nose, object stuck in the nose, nose redness
    Symptoms that always occur with foreign body in the nose:
    object stuck in the nose
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  7. 7.Frostnip of the Nose

    Frostnip is damage of the outermost layers of the skin caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports.

    As long as you are able to get to a place to re-warm, the damage should be reversible.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nose pain, nose redness, numb nose, nose coldness, turning blue or purple from coldness
    Symptoms that always occur with frostnip of the nose:
    nose coldness
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  8. 8.Pimple

    Acne, also known as pimples, occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil & dead skin cells. Acne is extremely common and ranges from mild to severe.

    The severity of the acne dictates treatment-type and duration. With proper treatment, acne should resolve in weeks to months. In some cases, acne is a long-term condition.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump
    Symptoms that always occur with pimple:
    pink or red facial bump
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Non - Specific Nasal Injury

    Nasal injuries are very common due to the position of the nose on the face. While fragile, many injuries to the nose are not actually fractures.

    Great prognosis with full recovery in a few days

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    constant nose pain, nose pain caused by trauma, swollen nose, nose bruise, bloody nose after being hit in the nose
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific nasal injury:
    nose pain caused by trauma, constant nose pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Wegener's Granulomatosis

    An inflammation of the blood vessels by the body's immune system is a rare, but possibly dangerous problem. The inflammation can happen anywhere, but often in the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys.

    Uncertain

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, shortness of breath, fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Nose Pain Treatments and Relief

Other than excessive use of bug spray and avoiding certain foods, it may be difficult to prevent environmental causes of nose pain symptoms. However, if your symptoms are due to a traumatic cause, promptly make an appointment with your doctor in order to assess for serious injury.

In the meantime:

  • Rest and Ice. Put an ice pack over your nose every 15 minutes to minimize further irritation and prevent continued fluid accumulation in your tissues.

There are various lifestyle changes and strategies you can perform to prevent the common causes of nasal pain symptoms.

  • Limit exposures that cause upper respiratory infections: Upper respiratory infections are contagious and usually passed from person to person. Limit contact with people with cold symptoms, wash hands frequently, and utilize other good hygiene practices.

  • Avoid pollutants: Cigarette smoke and other pollutants can irritate and inflame the nasal passages in both an allergic and non-allergic manner. Take measures to limit your contact with such pollutants in order to prevent nose pain symptoms.

  • Manage allergies and inflammatory conditions: Keeping symptoms of seasonal allergies and other inflammatory conditions under control will help keep your nose protected from insults that can quickly cause pain and its associated symptoms.

If these lifestyle changes do not improve your symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

Nasal pain symptoms can suggest an underlying, chronic problem that needs professional management.

  • Irrigation: Saline nasal sprays or solutions can rinse away irritants from the nasal passages, decrease blockage and promote drainage. This can go a long way in reducing pain related to both inflammatory and obstructive causes.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Medications that prevent and treat inflammation such as inhaled corticosteroids are often used to combat the many causes of internal nasal swelling and pain.
  • Decongestants: Relieving congestion and sensations of blockage, decongestants can help relieve pain and its associated symptoms.
  • Pain relievers: Your doctor may prescribe over the counter pain medications to combat your nose pain symptoms.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Nose Pain

  • Q.Do you have a runny nose?
  • Q.Do you have an object stuck in your nose?
  • Q.Do you feel fullness or pressure in your face?
  • Q.Do you have any body piercings?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our nose pain symptom checker to find out more.

Nose Pain Quiz

Nose Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced nose pain have also experienced:

    • 9% Headache
    • 9% Eye Pain
    • 6% Face Pain
  • People who have experienced nose pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 45% Less Than a Week
    • 32% Less Than a Day
    • 9% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced nose pain were most often matched with:

    • 54% Broken Nose
    • 36% Cellulitis
    • 9% Acute Viral Sinusitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having nose pain

Nose Pain Quiz