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Run On: What You Need to Know About Sinus Health

By Dr. Molly Casey

Sinuses and You

Sinus congestion and headaches are common this time of year. Sinus issues can be painful and knock you down for a few days at a time. Frequently, folks go straight for prescriptions to obliterate the infection and move on with life. However, there are natural avenues one can take to heal and move on.

Sinus Anatomy

Sinuses. Everyone has them. What are they anyway, and why can they be such a cause for winter and springtime irritation? Sinuses are hollow cavities located within the skull in front of the face. There are four types of sinuses. Frontal sinuses are above the nose and extend to the mid forehead area above the eyebrows. The ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses are both at the bridge and side of the bridge of the nose. The maxillary sinuses on are either side of the nose below the eyes and under the cheek bones.

The sinuses are connected and they’re lined with mucosa, a soft thin tissue. It’s not entirely known why they exist though purifying/humidifying air is one thought pattern. It is clear though that they can get infected and congested with mucus.

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections and headaches can often bring you down hard. Here are some natural approaches to moving through the healing journey as conservatively as possible.

Chiropractic adjustments - Make sure your nervous system and immune system are functioning at the highest possible level. Your nervous system is your communication system -- your brain speaks to every cell, system, structure and organ through the miles of nerves that run through your body. When spinal joint restrictions decrease the functioning of that nervous system, the body as a whole -- including the immune system -- is negatively affected. Chiropractic adjustments also help increase lymphatic flow; because this is the system through which waste is disposed, you want to make sure it is working optimally.

Hydrate properly, drink water - You read this over and over again but the truth is most folks do not drink the amount of water needed on a daily basis to support optimal health: half your body weight in ounces. A 150-pound person ideally drinks 75 ounces of clean water daily. Please note that exercise, caffeine and alcohol consumption increase the need for more water.

Balance your gut flora - This is a longer term solution to infections and overall health. Your gut is full of bacteria, and it should be. There are specific types and ratios of bacteria that a healthy gut has. Because of the Standard American Diet (SAD), the proper ratio of bacteria has significantly skewed and is at the root of a significant amount of illness in today’s society. Your gut is called the second brain. Your immune system, mental health, and many other facets of health, are dependent upon the health of your gut. To balance the gut flora you would need to see a holistic practitioner who focuses specifically on this topic, preferably a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

Clean your sinuses - Nasal rinses are phenomenal for helping to clean out the sinuses. You can purchase a Neti pot or a nasal rinse device at any local pharmacy. I recommend first attempting natural solutions such as water and a mixture of essential oils instead of medicated solutions. This rinse helps flush out the sinuses.

Use steam compresses - Steam and compresses help break up mucus and allow greater air flow. Steam from a hot shower, vaporizers, or steam rooms can be very effective in creating enough breakdown of the mucus for the sinuses to drain. In addition, hot compresses over the sinuses can assist in this breaking down process as well.

We don’t exactly know what sinuses are for, but we do know that life is much easier when they are free and clear of infections and congestion. If you or someone you love are struggling with sinus congestion, infections, or chronic issues, see the doctors at The Joint Chiropractic; they can get your spine aligned and your nervous system functioning more fully, all in order to start your healing journey.

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