Natural Approaches for Chronic Sinusitis Relief
Chronic sinusitis has a significant impact on one’s quality of life, causing ongoing discomfort and disrupting daily activities. While conventional treatments can be effective, many individuals seek complementary medicine approaches to address the underlying causes and achieve lasting relief.
With an estimated 28.9 million adults diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, this condition is characterized by persistent sinus inflammation lasting over 12 weeks. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include facial pain, headache, dizziness, ear pressure, sinus tenderness, thick nasal discharge, congestion, post-nasal drip, loss of smell, fatigue, bad breath, and tooth pain. These symptoms can greatly diminish well-being and functional abilities.
Causes of chronic sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis has several possible causes. They can be structural, environmental, microbial, or dietary.
Structural causes include issues like a deviated septum or nasal polyps that physically block the nasal passages, making it difficult for mucus to drain.
Environmental factors include airborne allergens and irritants like smoke, mold, or chemical fumes that cause inflammation. Dry, cold air decreases the function of the cilia, the small, hair-like projections that beat back and forth to help mucous move through the nasal passages. The stagnant mucus can become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
Microbial causes of chronic sinusitis include viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Bacterial infections are more prevalent in chronic sinusitis, while viral infections are common in acute sinus infections. Bacterial biofilm is believed to contribute to the persistence of chronic sinusitis. Poor microbial diversity in the gut and sinuses has been linked to a weakened immune system and the development of chronic sinusitis. Fungal overgrowth should be considered if symptoms persist despite standard treatments. Additionally, infections originating in the oral cavity can spread to the sinuses, leading to chronic sinusitis.
Food sensitivities or allergies can play a role in chronic sinusitis as well. Dairy and wheat are two of the most common trigger foods that cause excess mucus production and inflammation.
A Natural Approach to Beating Chronic Sinusitis
Conventional treatment of chronic sinusitis includes steroids, antibiotics, decongestants, and other medications that may have unwanted side effects. In addition, surgery may be necessary if there is a structural abnormality like a deviated septum. Thankfully, there are natural options available to safely and gently relieve the remaining root causes of chronic sinusitis, that include a combination of acupuncture or osteopathy as well as natural remedies.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine practice, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. In traditional Chinese medicine, chronic sinusitis is believed to result from an imbalance of qi, the body’s vital energy. Acupuncture can help rebalance qi flow and alleviate symptoms. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing chronic sinusitis. One study revealed that participants experienced notable improvements in nasal congestion, headache, and facial pain after undergoing six weeks of acupuncture treatment. Another study indicated that combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine yielded superior results compared to conventional medication alone in treating chronic sinusitis.
Osteopathy is a complementary medicine approach that utilizes manual manipulation of the musculoskeletal system to enhance overall health and well-being. Osteopaths believe in the body’s innate healing capabilities and strive to facilitate this process. In chronic sinusitis, osteopaths focus on optimizing the musculoskeletal function in the head and neck region to promote sinus drainage. Techniques like craniosacral therapy, involving gentle manipulation of the head and neck bones and tissues, may be employed to alleviate symptoms. Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of osteopathy, either on its own or when combined with conventional treatments, in managing symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
Integrative medicine focuses on using natural remedies such as dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and herbal medicine to support the body’s healing processes.
Some herbal remedies that may be beneficial in managing chronic sinusitis include:
- Garlic contains a number of unique sulfur compounds including allicin that make it an effective antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
- Eucalyptus oil is a natural decongestant.
- Grapefruit seed is a potent anti inflammatory, antioxidant and antihistaminic and may help reduce inflammation in the sinuses.
- Quercetin is a flavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Bromelain may reduce nasal inflammation and breathing difficulty.
- Xylitol nasal sprays may help break up bacterial biofilms and reduce symptoms.
- Probiotics help improve microbial diversity and boost the immune system.
Helpful Foods and Nutrients
Dietary modifications can aid in managing chronic sinusitis by avoiding trigger foods that may worsen symptoms. Common culprits include: dairy, wheat, sugar, and processed foods. Instead, incorporating anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods and immune-supporting nutrients can be beneficial. These include bone broth, horseradish, garlic, onions, ginger, vitamin C and quercetin- rich foods such as berries, cherries, citrus fruits, apples, parsley, kale, and broccoli. Foods high in zinc like pumpkin and hemp seeds, nuts, and legumes, as well as vitamin A from carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens, are also recommended.
Other modalities include:
Nasal Irrigation – Using a Neti pot to rinse away airborne allergens and irritants can help reduce inflammation and clear excess mucus from the sinuses.
Hydrate & Use a Humidifier – Water and hot herbal teas will help thin mucus, allowing it to drain more easily. If you live in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier to reduce irritation and help the cilia in the nasal passages beat more effectively to keep mucus moving.
Ultimately, reversing chronic sinusitis is about removing physical blockages, reducing environmental irritants, clearing underlying infections, supporting the immune system, and providing appropriate nutritional support. That’s why we created the holistic program “Restore Your Sinus health” for sinus sufferers that addresses all the imbalances.
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, contact Dr. Sisu today. She can help you identify the root causes and reverse your symptoms gently and naturally!