Oriental Medicine and Sinusitis/Allergies

After a long, cold winter, spring is finally here. Flowers will gradually bloom and trees start to become green.  But spring is also the season in which people have the most allergies and sinus infections. Sinusitis is the infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities. These are the hollow spaces found in cheeks and around eyes.  Sinus infections often follow a cold and can cause pain and pressure in the head.

Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic, meaning either sudden or long term and reoccurring. With chronic sinusitis, the infection does not ever go away completely and some symptoms always remain. There are many things that can cause sinusitis including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. In most cases, the same viruses that cause the common cold are the ones that lead to sinusitis. When someone contracts a viral infection such as a cold, the lining of the sinus cavities swell.  This swelling can block the normal drainage of fluid from the sinuses into the nose and throat. If the fluid is not able to drain, bacteria and fungi may begin to grow and the sinus infection may become worse and develop into a chronic condition. Allergies are another nasal problem that obstruct the nasal passage by causing inflammation, which allows fluid to build up in the sinuses and can lead to sinus infections.

Several symptoms that may occur are headache, bad breath, coughing that produces mucus, fever, toothache, and reduced sense of smell or taste. Viral sinus infections usually go away on their own within 10 to 16 days. Antibiotics are ineffective for viral infections but there are other methods that may help to relieve the symptoms. A few of the home treatment methods that can alleviate the symptoms are drinking plenty of fluids, trying over the counter medications pain relievers and decongestants, and breathing warm, moist air from a shower, bath, or sink. Saltwater nose drops are also effective for keeping nasal passages open and free from mucus and bacteria.

According to Chinese medicine, sinus infections are due to certain Qi (natural vital energy, pronounced chi) deficiency, which also indicates an insufficient immune system. Lung, spleen and kidney meridians are the main Qi deficiencies causing sinus infections. To prevent and treat sinus infections, Chinese medicine advocates that the internal organs be enhanced to therefore boost the immune system. This will promote Qi circulation. The suggested treatment for acute conditions is to receive acupuncture treatments about once a week for 6 to 8 weeks along with herbal medicine to control symptoms. For chronic conditions, the recommended treatment is to receive acupuncture treatments once a month with herbs, although treatment may vary with individuals.

In order to prevent sinus infections, it is vital to have balanced nutrition, regular intake of vitamins and minerals, enough sleep, a sufficient amount of exercise, and a controlled level of stress to strengthen the immune system and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Oriental medicine and acupuncture are an important addition to a healthy lifestyle and can help prevent many illnesses like sinus infections and allergies.  If you have any questions about this or any other conditions, please feel free to contact us at New Beginnings Chiropractic.