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Sinus problems?

Posted Aug 01 2011 12:10am

If you’ve ever had to deal with inflamed sinuses, you’ll know just how uncomfortable they can feel. And they can be notoriously resistant to clearing – mostly because of their location. Here’s what your sinuses do for you, and how chronic sinus problems are addressed with natural therapies.

Your sinuses are actually a series of bony ‘caves’ around and above your nose, lined with mucous membranes, and equipped with drains into your nasal cavity. Sinuses have two main roles: One is to create mucous for your nose. The mucous contains immunoglobulins, the patrol team of your immune system. They identify potential invaders (like viruses and bacteria) and alert other members of your immune system so the intruders can be killed.  The other job of your sinus cavities is to create resonance for your voice. That’s why people with sinus problems have a ‘nasal’ tone to their voice.

When the membranes lining your sinus cavities become inflamed, they can swell, creating unpleasant feelings of pressure in your face. The swelling may also prevent mucous from draining properly into your nose – or create too much mucus.

Chronic sinus infection can be the outcome of a cold or flu that never really cleared. Bacterial infections can often develop secondary to a viral infection. If you insist on ‘soldiering on’ rather than taking time out to allow a cold or flu to completely heal, chronic sinus problems can be the result.

Another source of a constantly drippy nose, curiously, is from dust and dust mites; an allergic response. One of the nicest things you can do for your respiratory system is regularly dust behind cabinets, air your bedding in the sun and vacuum your mattress. I sometimes wonder if people present more with sinus problems in spring because their houses have been closed up all winter.

An infection in your sinuses can be harder to clear, mostly because those sinus cavities provide an ideal location for bacteria to set up home without too much disturbance. Natural remedies focus on boosting your immunity, disinfecting your mucous membranes to remove bacteria, and reducing the inflammation.  Sometimes chronic mucous membrane inflammation can be a sign of a food intolerance, so your natural therapist may ask you to abstain from certain types of food while your sinuses are being treated, then later ‘test’ your tolerance of that food.

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