Photo by Anastasia Gepp
The next time someone tells you that you have a hole in your head, simply admit that you do. We all do. In fact, there are eight holes in the skull. Commonly called sinuses, these cavities play an important role in respiration. If we didn't have cavities, just solid bone, our neck probably couldn't support the weight of this top-heavy condition, thus causing us to hang our head in evolutionary shame.
Inflammation in these sinuses, called sinusitis, creates head pain, facial tenderness, eyeball aching, and even a sensation that feels like the teeth are long. These symptoms make sinusitis sound like a type of torture, as any sufferer will confirm.
Sinusitis is most often the revenge of a lingering cold or allergy, which can impede proper nasal drainage. This congestion becomes a breeding ground for infection that then leads the lining in the sinuses to become inflamed and swollen. Other problems that can create congestion leading to sinusitis are polyps, a deviated septum, large or inflamed adenoids, an abscessed or inflamed tooth, or a change in air pressure from flying or swimming.
Sinusitis can create its own revenge, too. Unless it is successfully treated, it can sometimes lead to ear infection, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
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Although sinusitis sufferers may want to hire RotoRooter to unplug their nose and drain their head, these other strategies should be considered first.
1. A saltwater nasal spray
Perhaps the best nasal spray (and the cheapest!) is salt and water. Place 1/4 teaspoon of salt and four ounces of water in a squirt gun or spray bottle, and shoot yourself in the nose with it. The salt and water combined will help break up nasal congestion. Blow your nose gently afterwards.
2. Get steamed
Inhaling steam can feel great. Either drape a towel over your head and stand over a pot of boiling water, or take a hot steam shower. For a little added therapeutic action, add eucalyptus leaves or eucalyptus oil to the boiling water.
3. Jog it out of you
Jogging and other vigorous exercise can help drain sinuses.
4. Don't get smoked
Exposure to cigarette smoke, even secondhand smoke, can be very irritating to the sinuses. Some people will be irritated by a barbecue or by smog. Avoid these irritants whenever possible.
5. Drink up
Drink lots of fluids (except alcohol) to keep the mucus flowing.
6. Don't blow your brains out
When you blow your nose, do it gently. Blowing too strongly can force the infected mucus back into the sinuses. If blowing your nose sounds like a wildlife mating call, you are blowing too hard.
7. A sound idea
Making a repetitious sound sometimes provides relief. Experiment with various sounds such as "ahhhhhh," "eeeeee," "ommmmmm," or whatever other sound works for you. Additional benefits are possible if you close your eyes and relax while you say these sounds.
8. Avoid dry heat
If the heating system in your house or office is providing heat that is too dry, use a humidifier to moisten the air. Check the humidifier regularly for the growth of mold or mildew. If an air conditioner is used, make certain its filter is kept clean.
9. Spice up your life
Chili peppers, garlic, and horseradish encourage mucus secretion. Add them to meals whenever possible, or simply take capsules of them.
10. Seal up those sinuses
Goldenseal is the most important herbal medicine for bacterial sinus infections. Take the fluid extract, freeze-dried root, or powdered solid extract at least every two hours. Be warned, however, that goldenseal is a bitter-tasting herb (it is very medicinal tasting). Don't take it for longer than a week at a time, and don't take it at all if you're pregnant.
11. Avoid antihistamines
Although these drugs reduce nasal swelling, they also dry the mucous membranes and therefore encourage greater congestion. It is better to use strategies that stimulate drainage than stifle it.
12. Avoid decongestants
Decongestants paralyze the nose hairs (the cilia), thus inhibiting the drainage of fluids. They also cause "rebound congestion," a temporary relief of congestion only to be followed by an increase in it. People also develop a tolerance to this drug and need stronger and stronger doses of it for it to be effective. Avoid nasal sprays, too.
13. Homeopathic help
Kali bic 6 or 30 (also called Kali bichromicum) is an effective homeopathic medicine for sinus pain at the root of the nose, especially when the person's nasal discharge is thick and stringy. Pulsatilla 6 or 30 is more commonly given to women or children with sinus problems, especially when their symptoms are worse at night, in a warm room, or when stooping. People who need Pulsatilla may have digestive symptoms that accompany the sinus pains.
If you don't know how to individualize a homeopathic medicine for your unique sinusitis symptoms, you might consider trying one of the sinusitis products that contain several different homeopathic medicines. Take a dose every four hours if you have mild pain, and every two hours during intense pain. If you don't feel better within 24 hours, consider another strategy.
Reprinted, with permission, from the book:
"The One Minute (or so) Healer" by Dan Ullman, MPH.
About the Author
DANA ULLMAN M.P.H. has been certified in classical homeopathy by the leading organization in the U.S. for professional homeopaths. He is the founder of Homeopathic Educational Services which has co-published over 35 books on homeopathy with North Atlantic Books. Dana writes a regular column for the huffingtonpost.com website. His numerous books are available for purchase on Amazon by clicking here.