Face comprises several sinus cavities which are called the paranasal sinus. Individually they are named as frontal sinus, parietal sinus, ethmoid sinus and sphenoid sinus. The air filled cavities makes the skull light. The sinus produces moist mucus layers which protect the nasal tract from outer antigens. Antigens may be microbial or allergens and dust. However, a heavy head, blocked nose due to mucus or sometimes even pain near the eyes and nose part can be due to inflammation of sinus called sinusitis.
According to Times of India, dated 11 April 2012, 1 in 8 individuals suffer from chronic sinusitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US doctors made a primary diagnosis of chronic sinusitis for 4.1 million people in 2016. While in 2918, 28.9 million people in the US reported for a sinusitis diagnosis in the last one year. Let us cut through the sinusitis causes and pathophysiology.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a medical condition resulting from swelling of the sinuses. This may be due to infection in the nasal sinuses. The infection is caused by microbial invasion, allergens or due to autoimmune response of the body. The infection can be of two types, namely acute and chronic type. Initial symptoms will be blocked nose, headaches near the sinus region, heaviness of the head. These symptoms generally vanish without medical treatment. But in severe condition one may need to take medicines.
Immunocompromised persons or individuals with morbidity are more likely to contract this infection. The mucus created by the sinus helps to drain out these infective germs. So when your sinus is inflamed, the mucus secretion increases. This is the body’s mechanism to flush out the infectious agents. However, due to facial deformities or imperfect alignment of sinus, sinusitis can occur. The type of imperfections can be a weak lining of bone between the two connected sinus, Nasal polyps, micro crevices on the periphery of sinus.These deformities tend to be permanent and this gives rise to chronic sinusitis.
Common symptoms include that of common cold and flu, while specific conditions like facial tenderness near the sinus area, ear, eye or tooth pain due to the pressure on nerves nearby ethmoid, sphenoid, and maxillary sinus. If bacteria is trapped in your sinus passage, then their secretion can be the cause of bad breath. Fungal sinusitis in immunocompromised patients can create ulcers in the nasal area.
If anyone is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, then they should consult a medical practitioner. Doctors may check history, do physical examination and in severe condition may opt for endoscopy, CT scan or allergy test. They will visually examine the sinuses in bright light. For specific treatment, one can consult the ENT specialist.
How Do You Treat Your Sinusitis?
There is a conventional way, doctors will work on to reduce the inflammation of the nasal pathway and thin the secretion of the nasal lining to clear the blockage. Most commonly used medication for non microbial sinusitis are the use of corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids: They reduce the inflammation of the nasal lining. This will help in easy flushing of the mucus. Corticosteroids can be given orally or through an intranasal route. It will also give you relief from dyspnea.
Decongestants: As the name suggests, they ease any nasal congestion. They are administered as nasal spray or by oral route. However they should not be used for long.
Saline Irrigation: This is the most commonly used method. Saline preparations are administered into the nostrils and a slow massage of the nose will help to remove the nasal secretions. This can be used as an ayurvedic nasal drop for sinus treatment.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are given during microbial infections. Depending on the type of microbial infections, antibiotics are prescribed. Route of administration can be oral, topical or intranasal.
Immunotherapy: People with immunocompromised status are given immunoglobulins from the external source to fight with infections. Intravenous injections containing the Ig G molecules are administered into the body.
However, there will be side effects if used without any medical supervision.
The Ayurvedic Way
Sinus treatment in ayurveda, unlike the modern therapy, believes sinusitis is due to imbalance in the body. This is linked to the Vata and Kapha Dosha. The mucus called shleshma is secreted when the allergen or any toxic product is mixed with shleshaka kapha in the sinus area. Ayurveda recommends the balancing of the Doshas by herbal medicine or by doing nasal exercises.
Nasya Therapy: It is a kind of flushing therapy. Head massage followed by steam mixed with herbs are administered before the medicine. This activity will warm up the nasal cavity. After that the herbal medicines are administered intranasally. This will help in diluting the mucus secretion and decongest the nostrils. This is a very good ayurvedic treatment for blocked noses.
Consult an expert in Nasya therapy for relief from Sinusitis
Dhumapana with Haridra Churna : This will help reduce the Kapha Dosha.
Household Remedy: Steam inhalation will warm up the mucus and the secretion will be flushed out. One can try twice a day. Steam can sometimes be mixed with camphor neem etc. Drinking hot water, placing a hot and moist towel on the affected sinus area shall block the pain pathway temporarily.
Yoga Exercise: Try Anulom-Vilom, matsyasana, sarvangasana, Jalaneti. They will help in decongesting the nasal stream and flush out any toxins.
There are many herbs which can be used as ayurvedic remedy for sinus inflammation. Shathayu is a herbal extract used for over a century. Few drops administered into the nostril can relieve you from nasal congestion. Vaporize form will provide relief from headache, heaviness in the head.
Use Lakshmi Vilas Ras to relieve headache, pain and nasal allergy. It is also used as an immunity booster.
Ginger mixed with honey and eating it two to four times a day will keep your body warm and dilate the mucus secretion and reduce the inflammation in the nasal pathway.
A preparation of basil, mint, clove and ginger in hot water and drinking it in small quantities throughout the day shall help in reducing the sinusitis.
Apart from the above, food with antibacterial properties are welcomed. Ginger, turmeric, basil can be used in your daily diet.
Dosha Pacifying Diet
Patients should avoid diets which can create imbalance in Prana Vata and Shleshaka Kapha. These are the two sub Dosha which are responsible for sinusitis. Avoid hot spices, chilies, ice creams or carbonated drinks. Instead eat food which helps in digestion. Organic food preparation is highly encouraged. Fruits or vegetables which can increase the secretion of mucus should be avoided. For e.g banana, tomatoes or eggplant should be avoided.
Prevention is better than cure. So, it is always beneficial to practice certain good habits.
- Whenever you return from outside, wash your hands and feet properly to avoid ingestion of any infectious agents.
- Try to wear a mask if coming in contact with a person suffering from flu or cold or any respiratory disease.
- If allergic to a known substance, then avoid coming in contact with allergens. If it’s not possible, then consult your doctor and try safe medications.
- Avoid smoking, it makes the lungs weak and susceptible to microbial infection.
- Do yoga for strengthening the nasal cavity.
Remember to follow good habits. If a person is suffering from chronic sinusitis, then the difficult part is the breathing. The airways are often blocked. Nasal congestion can cause discomfort. Use of nasal sprays, saline irrigation and yogic exercise which can clear the nasal congestions are welcome. The Ayurvedic treatment for sinus infection includes treating the Dosha holistically will give you beneficial results. However, it is always advisable to get advice from an expert ayurvedic practitioner for selection of correct diet and medicine.
Get help from our yoga expert to know the exercises for sinusitis.