Paranasal sinuses are air-filled cavities in your skull (especially your facial bones) that connect with your nasal cavities. One of their main functions is to produce mucus to filter and moisten inhaled air. Sometimes, the membrane lining these sinuses may become inflamed. When this inflammatory condition persists for more than three weeks, the condition is called chronic sinusitis. If left untreated, it can affect the chest and lungs.
There are three major causes of chronic sinusitis:
1. Respiratory Tract Infections
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi that enter your nose as you breathe in may get trapped in the mucus of your sinuses, leading to an infection. The membranes lining your sinuses get inflamed and swell due to the infection. This prevents efficient drainage of mucus from your sinuses leading to mucus buildup.
Mucus buildup increases the internal pressure in the sinuses, creating discomfort or pain around your cheeks, eyes, nose, and temples. Mucus buildup also leaves your nasal passage more vulnerable to infections, completing the vicious cycle.
Sometimes, tooth infections, too, can spread to your sinuses. Infections may involve more than one microbe, which worsens the symptoms.
2. Untreated Allergic Reactions
Inhalation of allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites may directly cause inflammation of sinuses or may increase the sensitivity of mucus membranes, leaving them susceptible to infections and consequential inflammation.
Untreated allergic reactions may also lead to the growth of nasal polyps (small vascular growths) that block normal drainage of mucus from the sinuses, leading to mucus buildup.
3. Obstruction In Nasal Passage
Physical obstructions in the nasal passage and sinuses may also lead to mucus buildup by preventing efficient drainage of mucus from sinuses. Such obstructions may include a deviated nasal septum or trauma-related facial deformations.
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include green mucus secretions from your nose, nasal congestion, discomfort in your face (especially around your cheeks and forehead), and headaches. The main problem lies in mucus accumulation. Open up your sinuses and allow free passage of mucus to cure your condition. You can do this in a number of ways. Blow your nose before performing any of the following.
4. Inhale Steam
Add a few drops of clove oil (or a spoonful of cloves) and eucalyptus oil (or 1/3 cup of eucalyptus leaves) and 10-12 crushed mint leaves to a liter or two of boiling water. Create an enclosed chamber by covering your head with a towel and take deep breaths for about 15 minutes. Do this twice daily until your congestion clears and then once a week to get rid of any remaining phlegm.
5. Perform Prananyama (Breathing Exercises)
You may perform pranayama lying down. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands resting on your belly. Consciously expand your belly as much as you can. Draw up all of the air from your belly through your ribs, chest, and shoulder, and exhale to deflate your belly. Repeat this a couple of times.
You may also perform pranayama sitting. Cover one nostril with your finger, inhale through the other, then remove that finger, and forcefully exhale. Repeat this for the other nostril.
6. Sniff Garlic Cloves
Garlic contains a chemical called allicin that can fight off infections causing sinusitis. It can also reduce inflammation in sinuses by boosting your immune system.
Peel and cut 4-5 garlic cloves in half. Inhale the garlic aroma to decongest your nasal passages.
7. Have Ginger With Honey
Mix 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Have this twice a day. It will help cure the infections causing your sinusitis in the first place, while also offering you relief from its symptoms.
8. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
When you sleep, place a pillow below your head to prevent mucus from accumulation in your air passages. It will relieve you of your sho
Sleep while lying on one side and with a pillow beneath yourhead. This prevents the accumulation of mucus in the air passages and helps avoid difficulties in breathing.
9. Eat Warm Foods
Eat spicy foods like horseradish and hot sauce to trigger your nose to run and open up mucus-blocked sinus passages. Drink hot soups and tea to thin accumulated mucus, helping it drain easily.
You no longer have to suffer with the grogginess and discomfort that chronic sinusitis brings with it.