With a seasonal transition just around the corner, it’s that time of year again, when calls come in asking if Acupuncture can help with sinusitis and all its manifestations: sinus pain, sinus congestion, sinus headaches and sinus infections.
Whether you suffer from chronic sinusitis, acute sinusitis or allergic sinusitis, or infectious sinusitis, we can help.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities ("Sinu = sinuses + itis = inflammation"). Inflammation of the sinus cavities can be caused by allergies, chemical irritants or over use of over the counter nasal sprays, or the common cold. Viruses or bacteria may cause sinus infections.
Symptoms of Sinusitis will vary by individual and can vary in intensity from day to day. Common symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus pressure and pain
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Thick or watery mucous that may yellow or green in color.
- Fever may be present in a sinus infection
- Secondary to the main symptoms may be a decrease in energy levels and difficulty sleeping.
Conventional Treatment of Sinusitis
Treatment of acute sinusitis involves over the counter decongestants (Sudafed type meds) and the use of vaporizers to inhale steam. These help torelieve congestion, but they can also dry you out too much, which could lead to more pain.
Chronic sinusitis is treated through more frequent use of vaporizers/humidifiers, and "neti-pots" with saline rinses. In cases of bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. It’s important to treat sinus infections as they can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
If the cause of your chronic sinusitis is allergies, you may be given oral steroids or antihistamines. Many of the current treatment methods mainly offer symptomatic relief.
What’s Missing? Addressing the Underlying Imbalance, Not the Symptoms
With frequent, recurrent sinus infections, there is one key piece missing from conventional treatments. While antibiotics help clear up the acute infection, they do nothing to prevent recurrence. We need to understand the importance of Biofilms. In it’s simplest terms, Biofilms are little balls of mucous that viruses and bacteria hide in to escape our immune response. Antibiotics do not penetrate or break down biofilms.
Once your course of antibiotics is over, if your immune function gets challenged again, guess who reappears? Those nasty viruses and bacteria come back out to play.
As a result of this hide and seek, you end up with another sinus infection. Fun, right?
Incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine into Your Solution
Acupuncturists and Doctors of Chinese Medicine treat all forms of sinusitis: acute, chronic, allergic, or infectious. Treatment is designed to target the current congestion while strengthening your immune system to help make you less reactive in the future.
Acupuncture reduces inflammation (swelling) and pain, so you may notice your congestion lessening during your treatment. Treatment also helps with the movement of fluids in the body, and can assist in the breakdown of congested mucous.
The key to treating recurrent infections lies in Chinese herbal medicine. There are many Chinese herbs with anti-bacterial or anti-viral properties, allowing for the treatment of both causes of infection (bacteria or virus).
The biggest thing to understand is that Chinese herbs will break down biofilms
Due to the breaking down of biofilms, our immune system is able to attack the viruses and bacteria that have been hiding out.
Using a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and targeted Qi Gong breathing exercises, Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques can help you get off the anti-biotic roller coaster.
Don’t wait for your recurring sinus congestion to turn into a sinus infection. If you’re prone to sinus congestion, sinus infections, sinus pain or allergies, don’t wait — get acupuncture and get better.
This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical conditions and should not be considered medical advice. Please contact your health care provider if you have concerns regarding sinus infections.