Sinus Crackling When Lying Down

The leading cause for crackling noises when lying down is the congested mucus that travels up your esophagus and collects behind your throat. This can lead to discomfort and aggravate your sinus infection symptoms like cough, nasal congestion, and throat irritation. It’s doubtful that a phlegm-induced throat crackle could be a symptom of Covid-19 since Covid-19 provokes a dry throat irritation instead of a mucus-related irritation. 

You can always begin the recovery process through various home remedies like steaming and hydrating yourself, or you can resort to antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Adopting a healthy lifestyle also would go all the way in minimizing the odds of sinus infections.

A sinus infection, medically known as rhinosinusitis, happens once your nasal cavities get swollen, inflamed, and infected. A sinus-related crackle may act up anytime you try to talk to someone or breathe or even when you try to blow your nose.

This sound may originate from your jaw, ear, nose, and cheek area. However, the sound is most prominent in your throat area, especially if you’re lying down.

Of course, as we’re talking about a great deal of mucus when you’re going through a sinus infection, these noises are pretty normal. You might even notice this sound more when your sinuses are blocked by the mucus because then your ear canals pretty much amplify the sounds from within your nose.

What are the reasons for the crackling of your sinuses when you lay down? What are the symptoms of a sinus infection? Can the throat crackle be a sign of Covid-19? How can you get rid of this crackle and ease your sinus infection? How can you prevent sinus infections in the future?

What are the probable causes for the crackling of your sinuses when you lay down?

The reason for your sinuses acting up, especially when you’re in bed at night, is three-fold.

Firstly, when you’re sitting upright during the daytime, gravity assists you by its pull from your sinuses to your esophagus. The situation is different when you’re lying down since gravity doesn’t work horizontally. Then, your mucus has a higher chance of collecting at the back of your throat, irritating your tissue and worsening your sinuses. This collection of mucus may emit a particular crackling or pop sound that’ll last throughout the night. So, rather than having to do with the nighttime, sinuses have more to do with the way you’re positioning your body.

Secondly, when you’re lying down, your blood flow distribution to your body shifts and blood may linger in your upper body portion for longer than when you’re seated or standing up. This change in blood flow can compress your blood vessels and make your tissues swell up, again aggravating your sinuses.

Thirdly, there’s a high chance that the reason you overlook this acting up of your sinuses during your day-to-day activities is that you’re very much distracted with your school, work, or chores. But when you decide to take a break and free your thoughts, you automatically pay more attention to your body, and there it is.

How do you know if you’ve got a sinus infection?

Apart from the crackling sound emitted when you’re lying down, there are many other tell-tale signs to know if your simple sniffles have turned into a painful sinus infection.

  1. Throat irritation – When a heavy amount of mucus collects behind your throat over some time, it might cause certain throat irritation and give you an itchy throat.
  2. A bad cough – When you’re laying down during an infection, you may notice an irritating cough that seems to get worse every time you lay down and try to rest. In fact, your cough may make sleeping all the more difficult. It’s best to keep your head elevated by keeping a few pillows below your head before you try to fall asleep.
  3. Nasal congestion – Breathing becomes quite difficult when your sinuses worsen and block your nasal airways. You might not even be able to taste and smell the same way you used to as well.
  4. Sinus-triggered migraines – This is basically a severe headache caused by the intense pressure and swelling up of your sinuses. Mornings can be more painful as your mucus has been collecting up overnight with no exit way.

Can the crackle be a sign of covid-19?

Overlapping symptoms can make it difficult to properly understand whether you have a normal sinus infection or a much riskier covid-19 virus infection.

The specificity of these symptoms is the first way that you can distinguish the two despite their overlapping symptoms like fever, cough, and headaches.

For instance, covid-19 related coughs are more of a dry cough, which involves the abrupt loss of taste and smell. On the other hand, Sinus infections involve more amounts of mucus and discomfort in the form of congestion and nasal drip.

Also, when it comes to sinusitis, it takes about a period of maybe 10 days to properly develop into a bacterial infection. Meanwhile, Covid-19 would progress much faster within days.

How can you get rid of this crackle and ease your sinuses?

Well, the only way to treat a symptom is by treating its underlying cause, which in this case is your sinus infection.

Given that sinusitis is one of the most common diagnoses in primary care, multiple over-the-counter medications and home remedies exist for you to speed up your recovery.

Medical aidHome remedies
Using nasal decongestant sprays – This can loosen up your nose, and it’s advised to limit yourself to 3 days of use.Steaming – Since dry air can increase sinus pressure, the warm moisture of steaming will give you instant relief from difficult nasal congestions.
Using steroid nasal sprays – sprays such as fluticasone and triamcinolone are provided by pharmacies.Elevation – It’s best to always keep your body upright and head elevated so that you don’t end up aggravating your sinuses even more.
Antibiotics as recommended or prescribed by your doctorDrink warm fluids and use a humidifier
Nasal irrigation – This involves the flushing out of mucus and debris from within your nose. A 2009 study conducted reveals the popularity of this procedure in obtaining relief from chronic sinusitis symptoms.Physical activity – Exercising will increase your blood circulation and provide momentary relief from your congestion, making it easier for you to breathe.


Depending on your symptoms or scenario, the above remedies can suffice.

How can you prevent sinus infections?

Given that viruses can trigger 9 out of 10 sinus infections in adults, as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s important to know how to minimize the chances of catching a sinus infection beforehand itself.

A woman is using a nasal spray to help with her sinus infection.
  1. Say no to smoking and keep as much away from secondhand smoke as possible.
  2. If you’re having a cold, make sure you take a rest and drink warm fluids like hot soup.
  3. Always keep your hands clean, especially after a day of being out and before you eat.
  4. Colds are contagious, so make sure you keep a safe distance from people suffering from sinus infections.
  5. Try out home remedies as soon as you develop a cold to prevent it from developing into a sinus infection.

6. Stay up to date with immunizations.

FAQs

Do sinuses cause ear crackling?

The insides of our ears have small eustachian tubes that link your ears to your sinuses. The purpose is to help in balancing the fluid and pressure of your inner and middle ears. However, when you’re having a cold or have a clogged nose from sinuses, your eustachian tubes struggle in opening and closing properly. This difficulty can create a crackling sound within your ear.

Why do my lungs make a crackling sound when I lay down?

Lung crackles are caused by the collection of fluids in your lungs due to various health conditions such as wheezing, pneumonia, and even left-sided heart failure.

Why does my nose make a crackling sound when I touch it?

Crackle sounds when poking your nose could indicate a joint injury or arthritis. Apart from this, it could also be a problem with air that gets trapped inside your soft tissues, so that when you touch your nose, it lets out the air with a crackling sound.

Conclusion

Overall, the annoying sinus crackling noise that you hear whenever you lay down can only be gotten rid of by first taking care of your sinus infection.

Mind you, this is not something that you should be worrying about as it can easily be treated at an early stage by the symptomatic treatment itself or with analgesics.

However, it’s best to treat it as soon as you notice it since there is a chance of it developing into chronic rhinosinusitis, requiring endoscopic sinus surgery.

This becomes especially mandatory when medical care fails as warned by the US National Library of Medicine.