Friday, March 11, 2011

Sinus issues and Drug-Free Ways to Address Them- Alameda and SF Bay Area

   Sinusitis and upper respiratory issues are problems that can bring our lives to a grinding halt. Whether the cause is from the sinuses or other respiratory issues, the symptoms can be similar, so I am including an excerpt fro the National Institute of Health on Sinusitis to begin this article
   Sinusitis simply means your sinuses are infected or inflamed, but this gives little indication of the misery and pain this condition can cause. Health care experts usually divide sinusitis cases into three categories:
Acute, which last for 3 weeks or less                                          
Chronic, which usually last for 3 to 8 weeks but can continue for months or even years
Recurrent, which are several acute attacks within a year                          
   Health care experts estimate that 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. Health care providers report nearly 32 million cases of chronic sinusitis to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually. Americans spend millions of dollars each year for medications that promise relief from their sinus symptoms.
   Sinuses are hollow air spaces in the human body. When people say, "I'm having a sinus attack," they usually are referring to symptoms in one or more of four pairs of cavities, or sinuses, known as paranasal sinuses.These cavities, located within the skull or bones of the head surrounding the nose, include the Frontal sinuses over the eyes in the brow area; Maxillary sinuses inside each cheekbone; Ethmoid sinuses just behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes; and Sphenoid sinuses behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes.
   Each sinus has an opening into the nose for the free exchange of air and mucus, and each is joined with the nasal passages by a continuous mucous membrane lining. Therefore, anything that causes a swelling in the nose—an infection, an allergic reaction, or another type of immune reaction—also can affect the sinuses. Air trapped within a blocked sinus, along with pus or other secretions may cause pressure on the sinus wall. The result is the sometimes intense pain of a sinus attack. Similarly, when air is prevented from entering a paranasal sinus by a swollen membrane at the opening, a vacuum can be created that also causes pain.
   The location of your sinus pain depends on which sinus is affected. Headache when you wake up in the morning is typical of a sinus problem. Pain when your forehead over the Frontal sinuses is touched may indicate that your Frontal sinuses are inflamed. Infection in the Maxillary sinuses can cause your upper jaw and teeth to ache and your cheeks to become tender to the touch. Since the Ethmoid sinuses are near the tear ducts in the corner of the eyes, inflammation of these cavities often causes swelling of the eyelids and tissues around your eyes, and pain between your eyes. Ethmoid inflammation also can cause tenderness when the sides of your nose are touched, a loss of smell, and a stuffy nose. Although the Sphenoid sinuses are less frequently affected, infection in this area can cause earaches, neck pain, and deep aching at the top of your head. Most people with sinusitis, however, have pain or tenderness in several locations, and their symptoms usually do not clearly indicate which sinuses are inflamed. Other symptoms of sinusitis can include fever; weakness; tiredness; a cough that may be more severe at night; runny nose (rhinitis) or nasal congestion. In addition, the drainage of mucus from the sphenoid or other sinuses down the back of your throat (postnasal drip) can cause you to have a sore throat. Mucus drainage also can irritate the membranes lining your larynx (upper windpipe). Not everyone with these symptoms, however, has sinusitis.                                    

    The soft tissues of the sinuses and nose are not the only actors in the drama. The bones of the skull of which the sinuses and nose are parts must rhythmically move in unison to pump the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This fluid nourishes and maintains the health of the brain and spinal cord. A variety of stresses or accident can interfere with normal cranial rhythms, producing similar symptoms and involving the sinuses.
   Also the major drains for waste and immune system fluids for the head lay just behind the muscles that run from the top of the chest bone or sternum to behind and below each ear. These muscles are called the sterno-cleidomastoid muscles. Our posture and stress can cause these muscles to become overly tight and slow or stop normal drainage. When there isn’t proper drainage fluids can back up in the head causing the symptoms previously mentioned.
   We can use postural exercise protocols and improved ergonomic to rebalance our head and neck posture. Vitamin D3 therapy has been shown to enhance our immune function actually resulting in a decrease in environmental reactions. Cranio-sacral therapies and Bowenwork have procedures that that are effective in as little as one session for releasing fluid build-up in the sinuses, restoring proper fluid movement behind the sterno-cleidomastoid muscles and integrating healthy cranial movement. The effects can be long lasting, ending the cycle of pain, inflammation, and medication that can repeat over weeks, months or even years. There are many healthy, safe ways to deal with sinusitis and upper respiratory issues.
Sinusitis information excerpted from National Institute of Health, Health Matters article Jan 2005

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