Top 5 tips to improve Sinusitis

Written by Chris Eddy


Sinusitis means infection or inflammation of the sinuses, causing draining or blocked mucous, headache and facial pain. There are 4 sinuses in the head which are all interconnected and have other connections to the nose and throat via ostia. The sinuses are lined with cells that produce mucous to protect them from infection, which sometimes become irritated and inflamed. Sinusitis occurs when too much mucous is produced during a common cold, hay fever or allergic irritation.

Current western medical treatments include nasal decongestants, antibiotics and occasionally surgery.

Nasal Polyps are overgrowths of the mucosa lining the sinuses that often accompany allergic rhinitis (hay fever). The true origination of nasal polyps is unknown, however, clinically, I notice this in patients that were not born in the area they are now living and have acquired sinusitis since moving. Working in Melbourne, Australia, this seems to be the classic situation.

Current treatment is nasal decongestant, nasal steroid spray or surgery. Unfortunately polyps can reoccur in up to 70% of cases after surgery.

Post Nasal Drip occurs when excessive mucous is produced by the nasal mucosa that drips down the back of the throat leading to constant swallowing. The sinuses often become inflamed caused by flu, rhinitis, sinusitis, swallowing disorder or reflux which is persistent throughout the year.

Standard treatment with western medicine is antibiotics, nasal irrigation, sinus massage, decongestants, antihistamines and occasionally minor surgery.

Tip #1: Airborne Allergens

Melbourne hsinus pollenas many hypoallergenic types of pollen from London Plane trees that cover most of the city, rye grass, Bermuda grass. Other common irritants include mites, cats, dust and fungi.

Plane trees are a common one, and you may notice symptoms worsen between September through to November. The trichome fibres that are most irritating start in October and continue through to December.

If you suspect you have an allergen and you don’t have a bacterial infection, antibiotics are not going to do anything but destroy your intestinal flora and reduce your immune system. Go see an allergy specialist and diagnose the cause. Once you find out what the allergy is, you can either avoid it or protect yourself against it during certain times of the year when the pollen is blowing around.

Tip #2: Allergen Protection

Once you have a test you can ascertain which allergens are the culprits. Dust is one of the most common. One wise move is to remove the carpet in your house if it’s an option and clean regularly. An air purifier can remove any other free floating dust or pollen.sinus house For dust mites you can change your bedding or get it professionally cleaned. On windy days you can cover your mouth and eyes when walking around outside. Vaseline up the nose also often helps. For severe allergies, immunotherapy is an option where small amounts of the allergen is injected or drops under the tongue used over a period of time to build up resistance.

Tip #3: Food Allergens and Sensitivities

This is very common and is easy to test for airborne allergens, whereas the accuracy of food allergen/sensitivity is yet to be proven reliable. Yes it would be great wouldn’t it if there was a reliable test to just tell us everything that we are sensitive to, and i’m sure one day there will be a wearable gadget that tells us, but for now it’s test, observe and occasionally trial and error. I find the most common food related allergen sensitivities that lead to sinusitis are wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol. The most common type of alcohol intolerance is red wine. This comes from the Lipid Transfer Protein (LTP) in the skin or yeast of the grape, bacteria and also sulphites. Other types of alcohol that can cause sinus symptoms are beer, champagne and white wine. The best thing is to keep a food diary or just observe what happens when you eat a certain type of food or drink, or see a registered dietitian. If you suspect one of the foods, cut it out of your diet for a month and see what happens.

Tip #4: Mould & Fungisinus nasal swab

Molds and fungus are the often overlooked culprits of sinus infections. I often find this in patients that have lived in houses with black mold, and that is around the time their sinus problems started. A nasal swab can culture your nose to see what fungus if any is living in there. For an interesting and convincing movie, watch “Moldy“.

Tip #5: Acupuncture

moxa acupunctue melbourne acupuncture clinicIf you have tried so many options and nothing has worked for you, Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a fantastic option. In our clinic we use a combination of laser, acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary advice to diagnose and treat nasal and sinus conditions. Treatment time depends on severity and length of the disorder. We generally notice reduction in symptoms immediately but sometimes can take up to 3-4 weeks in severe cases to start getting relief.

Read Scientific studies involving successful treatment of sinusitis and allergic rhinitis with acupuncture:

1. The Effects of Treatment with Antibiotics, Laser and Acupuncture upon Chronic Maxillary Sinusitis in Children
Read More:

2. Comparison of traditional Chinese acupuncture, minimal acupuncture at non-acupoints and conventional treatment for chronic sinusitis Read more:

3. Acupuncture for nasal congestion: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical pilot study. Read more:

4. Sinusitis With Polyposis Presenting as Refractory Trigeminal Neuralgia Treated With Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Decoction. Read more:

5. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture combined with Chinese drugs on chronic sinusitis. Read more:

About the Author

If you would like to book in to see us, please click HERE for the Melbourne CBD practice, or HERE, for the Northcote practice.

Chris Eddy has over 17 years clinical experience and 7 years lecturing experience at RMIT university.

Chris Eddy

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