Our sinuses are hollow, air-filled cavities located above the eyes, along the inside of the cheekbones, and behind the bridge of and upper part of the nose. If the sinus cavities become clogged, pressure increases and causes pain. When sinuses become infected or swollen, they can hurt tremendously and can lead to a sinusitis, an infection of the sinuses and nasal passages. Sinus problems can be painful and frustrating. Self-care at home can help alleviate many symptoms of sinus problems.
Sinusitis, the Main Cause of Sinus Problems
Sinusitis is classified as either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis has sudden onset and is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, such as the common cold, allergies or sometimes from inhaled irritants. Chronic sinusitis lasts a long time. It usually occurs more than four times a year and may be caused by structural problems, such as injury to facial bones or small growths in the nose.
Symptoms of sinusitis include facial and head pain, fever, cough, ear or toothache, tenderness in the forehead and cheekbones. If tapping on the forehead over the eyes or on the cheeks or bridge of the nose causes pain, the sinuses might be infected, according to the "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by James and Phyllis Balch.
Remedies That Help Sinus Problems
Home remedies can help open the sinuses and alleviate dryness. To promote drainage, it's very important to drink plenty of fluids. Inhaling steam over a bowl or pan of very hot water (not while on the stove) several times a day helps open the sinuses. A Neti Pot, available at most retail or health food stores, can be used to help drain sinuses. Add a of blend of 1/2 teaspoon salt, warm water and a pinch of baking soda to the Neti Pot. Pour the mixture through each nostril while tipping your head to the side and over a sink. Warm compresses and/or ice packs will also alleviate pain. Warm helps some people, cold others. Choose what works for you. Steamy showers can bring relief as well. Massage is very helpful for sinus problems. Acupressure can be done at home by gently pressing and holding the inside edge of each eye by the bridge of the nose or the inside point of each eyebrow for a few moments. Also pressing at the side of each nostril at the base of the cheek or the middle of the lower part of the forehead can give relief and help promote drainage.
Foods That Heal Sinuses
Sulphur, the compound that makes you cry when slicing an onion, can help you to breathe easier, according to Barbara Klein, professor of food and nutrition and editor of the Journal of Food Science. Other helpful kitchen sinus remedies include soups made with garlic, jalapeño or cayenne pepper (or mixed into foods) and horseradish. Make a paste of ginger, cinnamon or cloves and spread on the forehead to alleviate congestion. Apple cider vinegar, added to your inhaled steam or mixed into a glass of warm water to drink, can also be beneficial.