Chronic Sinusitis: Causes and Treatment

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Definition

Sinusitis is defined as an inflammation, irritation or infection of the sinuses. Sinuses are the holes or pockets in your skull lined with tiny hairs called cilia. Some scientists think the major function of sinuses is to make the skull lighter in weight. The job of the cilia is to move mucous out of the sinuses and to filter impurities out of the air you breathe before it gets to the lungs. They are connected to each other and to your nose and throat, the mucous drains out of them thru tiny holes called ostium. There are eight sinuses, they come in pairs they are the: sphenoid (back of the head), maxillary (alongside the nose), and ethmoid (between the eyes) and frontal (in the forehead). If the mucous that the cilia is trying to move gets too thick then the cilia stop working and the sinuses get clogged and have trouble draining.

Causes

Chronic sinusitis is a condition when the sinuses are inflamed or infected and not draining properly. Generally acute sinusitis is from 1 to 3 weeks in duration and becomes chronic after 3 weeks or more. The longer sinuses are inflamed the harder it can be to get rid of the problem. Chronic sinusitis can be caused by a variety of things; however allergies are one of the biggest problems.

Prevention

For allergy sufferers taking care of your sinuses can be a time consuming task but worth the effort. There is a large variety of natural, alternative and naturopathic prevention and treatment for chronic sinusitis. Drinking enough water daily is important, 8-10 glasses is considered a good amount. This doesn’t count coffee, tea, juice or sodas.

One of the best preventative methods is sinus irrigation. Used for ages by Yogis, it is a cleansing procedure using warm normal saline and a “neti pot” or even just a cup. Using this neti pot you rinse out your sinuses. This activity thins the mucous, rinses out impurities and restores a normal balance to the cilia lining. Doing this once or twice daily will help keep your sinuses healthy.

Treatment

If you live in a dry climate use a humidifier to add moisture to the air especially at night while sleeping. You can add essential oils to the water: eucalyptus, peppermint, menthol camphor and tea tree oils all help by opening clogged nasal passages and thinning mucous.

Believe it or not the old story about eating chicken soup turns out to be good medicine not just old wives tails. The steamy hot soup helps thin the mucous and the garlic acts as an antibiotic. In addition capsicum, the active ingredient in red chili powder is an excellent spice to cook with for thinning mucous.

Using normal saline nose sprays helps to moisturize sinuses and keep things moving. Acupuncture and certain types of chiropractic care can help as well. Avoid over the counter medications that dry up mucous membranes as these can make the problem worse, instead use non-drying decongestants.

If you have a greenish or yellowish discharge from your nose, throat or eyes it is important to check with your medical professional as this can indicate a bacterial infection needing antibiotics or other medical treatment.

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