Sinusitis is one of the most common respiratory conditions in the United States, accounting for approximately 12 million hospital visits each year and over 200,000 sinus surgeries. Sinusitis is inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the sinuses, caused by a viral or bacterial infection. The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead. Sinusitis typically causes a high temperature, pain and tenderness in the face, and a blocked or runny nose. You have four pairs of sinuses in your head – two sinuses behind your forehead, two at either side of the bridge of your nose, two behind your eyes and two behind your cheekbones. When you get sinusitis it is because at least one of the four pairs of sinus cavities become inflamed.
Your sinuses open up into the cavity of your nose and help control the temperature and water content of the air reaching your lungs.
Usually, the mucus naturally produced by your sinuses drains into your nose through small channels. These channels can become blocked when the sinuses are infected and inflamed.
It is the sinuses behind the cheekbones (the largest ones) that are most commonly affected. If sinusitis persists, conventional physicians will often recommend sinus surgery, a procedure that is expensive and which all too often fails to provide lasting relief. In fact, many people who undergo sinus surgery find that their sinusitis is worse when it inevitably returns. Other conventional medicine approaches for treating sinusitis include antihistamines, decongestants, steroid nasal sprays, and antibiotics, all of which are also by and large ineffective because they fail to address and resolve the underlying causes of sinusitis.
It is a common condition and can affect people of any age.
There are two types of sinusitis—acute and chronic. While the symptoms of both types of sinusitis are the same, acute sinusitis usually occurs as a result of a sinus infection and is not long lasting, whereas chronic sinusitis presents with persistent symptoms that can grow worse over time.
Caution: Left untreated, chronic sinusitis can eventually result in the degeneration of the mucus membrane, making the body’s natural drainage of the sinuses increasing difficult, thus creating breathing problems.
Symptoms of sinusitis include head and nasal congestion, postnasal drip, headache, head and facial pain, chronic fatigue, impaired sense of smell, fever, hoarseness, and laryngitis. These symptoms tend to be more pronounced for cases of chronic sinusitis, compared to cases of acute sinusitis.
The most common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- A blocked or runny nose. If your nose produces green or yellow mucus, you probably have a bacterial infection.
- Pain and tenderness in the face (near the infected sinuses). You may experience a throbbing pain that is worse when you move your head, and toothache or pain in your jaw when you eat.
- A high temperature.
Other possible symptoms include:
- a sinus headache
- a cough
- bad breath (halitosis)
- pressure in your ears
- loss of taste and smell
- a feeling of being generally unwell
Children with sinusitis may be irritable, breathe through their mouth and have difficulty feeding. Their speech may sound nasal (like they have a stuffy cold) because their sinuses are blocked. If you notice these symptoms in your child, take them to see your licensed health practitioner.
Over the course of the last few decades, there has been an increase in the incidence of sinusitis in the U.S. and other industrialized nations that is directly related to a corresponding increase in air pollution and unhealthy indoor air, making unhealthy air and air pollution the two main factors of sinusitis. Other environmental causes of sinusitis include cold and flu viruses, bacterial and fungal infections, excessively cold or dry air, cigarette smoking, and regular exposure to second hand smoke.
Sinusitis can also be caused or exacerbated by food allergies and sensitivities, dental and gum disease, stress, lowered immunity, structural problems within the nasal cavities (such as a deviated septum), nasal cysts and/or polyps, and unresolved emotions, especially anger. Candiasis (systemic yeast overgrowth) and the overuse of pharmaceutical drugs, especially antibiotics, are two other common causes of sinusitis. Gastro-oesophageal acid reflux can also be a factor.
There are a number of ways your sinuses can become inflamed and blocked, but the most common cause is a viral infection such as the common cold or influenza. The cold or flu virus spreads to the sinuses from the upper airways.
Sometimes, a secondary bacterial infection can develop, leading to swelling inside the sinuses. An infected tooth may also cause the sinuses to become infected.
Chemicals and pesticides, disinfectants and household detergents can also be a cause.
Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up within the body, making you prone to infections may also cause sinusitis.
If you suffer from sinusitis, you need to be screened for food allergies and sensitivities, and then avoid eating those foods that you are allergic or sensitive to. In addition, avoid all sugar and sugar products, wheat and wheat by-products, soy products, soft drinks, commercially processed foods, and all foods containing artificial ingredients, such as additives, colourings, flavourings, and preservatives (such as BHA, BHT, sodium nitrite, sulphites, saccharin, aspartame, and cyclamates). Also minimize your intake of milk and dairy products, and coffee and other caffeine products, as well as red meat, salt, refined carbohydrates (white breads, pastries, commercial pastas), corn, chocolate, and unhealthy fats (hydrogenated or trans fats).
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water (at least eight ounces every two hours; or for best results, add fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper) and fresh squeezed, organic vegetable juices throughout the day, as well as hot broths and soups. Diluted organic pear juice can also be helpful, in order to loosen up lung congestion. Also emphasize organic, whole foods, especially plenty of fresh, raw organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, organic, free-range meats and poultry, and wild-caught fish. Garlic, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, horseradish, and onions should be eaten regularly, due to their powerful health benefits for the lungs and respiratory system. Organic, extra virgin olive oil should also be used liberally.
According to leading naturopathic physician and researcher Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D., President Emeritus of Bastyr University, a vegan diet can significantly improve symptoms of most respiratory conditions, including pneumonia. Such a diet involves eliminating all animal products, as well as fish, eggs, milk, and all other dairy products. Grains should also be avoided, or eaten in minimal amounts. Dr. Pizzorno advises limiting your fluid intake to pure, filtered water (avoid chlorinated, fluoridated tap water), and emphasize plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, especially romaine lettuce, carrots, beets, onions, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, beans (except soy and green peas), blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cloudberries, black currants, gooseberries, plums, and pears. Apples and citrus fruits (except lemon) are not recommended, however.
If you do the Jeff McCombs Candida Protocol you will already be avoiding all of the foods that trigger sinusitis. However here are the foods to avoid at all costs.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all fried food.
- Avoid spicy food.
- Limit sugar and grains as they raise your insulin levels. Fasting insulin level should be 3 or lower.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef. www.grasslandbeef.com/StoreFront.bok?affld=104400 The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- Follow a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to encourage and alkaline state.
- Include foods rich in vitamin B2 such as nuts, green leafy vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains and probiotic yogurt.
- Include foods rich in B3 such as paprika, tuna, swordfish, organic liver pate, and yeast extract.
- Drink 2litres of pure filtered water each day.
- Include high chlorophyll foods into your diet such as dandelion leaf, cilantro, spinach, parsley, wheatgrass and barley grass. They are all great for cleansing the blood. If you find them hard to incorporate into meals then juice them in an extractor. You can always add apple or carrot to sweeten the juice.
Useful nutritional supplements for sinusitis include vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, calcium, chromium picolinate, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. Flaxseed oil and omega-3 oils are recommended, as is a multivitamin/multi-mineral complex. Proteolytic enzymes taken between meals, along with acidophilus supplements, can be helpful, as can thymus gland extract. Other useful supplements include betaine HCL, bee pollen, quercetin, grapeseed extract, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day / for up to 4 weeks
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here kevintrudeaudailylifesessentials.com/
- Vitamin C www.livonlabs.com
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Bromelain an enzyme found in pineapple, has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps thin and expel mucus. Clinical trials have shown that bromelain helps reduce inflammation of the nasal mucosa in acute sinusitis patients. Bromelain needs to be taken on an empty stomach, 250—500 mg one to three times daily.
- Quercetin and hesperidin are two powerful plant flavonoids that can both inhibit inflammation-producing enzymes and reduce the release of histamine from immune cells. Take 500 mg of each, one to three times daily.
- Honokiol, a compound extracted from Magnolia officinalis bark, offers powerful anti-inflammatory and immune support, along with significant additional health benefits.
- Padma Basic is a highly-researched Tibetan herbal formula that has been shown to fight sinusitis by regulating inflammation and enhancing the immune response.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Regularly engaging in some sort of relaxation therapy on a daily basis can dramatically reduce the stress and tension that often contribute to sinusitis. One of the easiest ways of promoting deep relaxation is to spend five minutes a few times a day sitting comfortably with your eyes closed while you breathe slowly and deeply through your belly.
Here are two other relaxation exercises that are helpful for reducing headache symptoms:
- Lie on the floor with your head resting on a pillow. Close you eyes and comfortably position your calves on the seat of a chair. Stay in this position for five to ten minutes, breathing deeply and comfortably through your belly. When you are done, take your time getting up from the floor, continuing to breath in a deep, relaxed manner.
- Sit comfortably in a chair or lie down on a comfortable mattress in a room that is quiet, with the lights off. Take ten gentle, deep breaths, starting in your belly and progressing all the way to your upper chest. Without pausing, exhale, starting at your chest and moving down to your belly, taking longer to do so than you took to inhale. Ideally, you should try to spend two to five seconds inhaling and twice as long exhaling.
Once you sense yourself starting to relax, tightly tense the muscles of your feet and toes for a count of five, and then relax them. Do the same with the muscles of your lower legs and calves. Repeat this process all the way up your body, moving to your upper legs and thighs, your buttocks, your lower back and abdomen, your upper back and chest, your hands and arms, your shoulders, your neck, and, finally, your jaw, eyes, and face muscles. Throughout this process, continue breathing in a gentle, deeply relaxed manner. When you finish, gently open your eyes and then slowly stand up, continuing to breathe as you have been.
Meditation: Meditation has been scientifically shown to improve relieve stress, the major cause of all illnesses and diseases, as well as to improve overall health and immune function, and to reduce the pain and suffering caused by chronic disease. In fact, in 1984, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended meditation as the more appropriate and effective choice for treating mild cases of high blood pressure, instead of commonly prescribed blood pressure medications. Meditation can offer new insights and improved coping strategies, better enabling you to meet the challenges of the day. Some types of meditation, such as Transcendental Meditation (TM), have even been shown to produce deeper states of physical relaxation than ordinary sleep.
Although there are many types of meditation practices to choose from, all of them have one thing in common: focused attention on the breath. If you are new to meditation, you can begin by sitting up straight yet comfortably and closing your eyes. Place your attention on your breathing as you inhale and exhale. Each time you find your attention starting to wander, simply refocus on your breath. Though doing so may seem difficult initially, with practice it will become easier and easier, and you will easily spend 20 to 30 minutes meditating in this manner. The key is to be gentle with yourself and not force. At first, you may find yourself unable to sit still for more than a few minutes. If that is the case, don’t continue. Instead, each day seek to add to the length of your meditation practice until you reach your goal of 20 to 30 minutes per session.
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are.
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- . Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here (link) or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
- What you think about is what you attract in your life. Watch mindfulness films such as What the Bleep Do We Know www.whatthebleep.comand You Can Heal Your Life www.youcanhealyourlifemovie.comand start using powerful positive affirmations such as “I am learning to relax” and “I can let go of this situation” Say the phrase over and over again until you start to believe them. Never underestimate the power of your mind.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Sinusitis: www.pacificcollege.edu/acupuncture-massage-news/press-releases/807-traditional-chinese-medicine-and-sinusitis.html
Sinus issues respond well to Traditional Chinese Medicine:www.naturalnews.com/031166_Traditional_Chinese_Medicine_sinuses.html
Reflexology and sinus problems: www.ehow.com/how_2155233_locate-reflexology-sinuses-zone.html
Curing Sinusitis with grapefruit seed extract:www.earthclinic.com/CURES/sinus_infection12.html#GRAPEFRUITSEEDEXTRACT_51690
Natural remedies for sinus cure: www.naturalnews.com/028254_sinus_infections_natural_remedies.html
How smoking harms your sinuses: www.everydayhealth.com/ear-nose-throat/sinuses-and-smoking.aspx
Ayurvedic home remedies and sinusitis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=isQ_kcIFB6E
Sinusitis not cured with anti-biotics: www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57378291-10391704/sinus-infections-not-cured-with-antibiotics-study-suggests/
Diet dos and don’ts for sinusitis: www.nutritionresearchcenter.org/healthnews/health-guides/sinus-diet-guide/
Turmeric and Neti pots aid sinusitis: www.naturalnews.com/029600_neti_pot_sinus_infections.html
Link between gastro-oesophageal acid reflux and sinusitis:www.medfors.com.tr/pdf/gastrotuss/gastrotussmonodozliteratur/ASSOCIATION%20BETWEEN.pdf
Anti-biotics no good for sinus and colds: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7294244.stm
Further Information (links and books)
The Sinus Cure: 7 Simple Steps to Relieve Sinusitis and Other Ear, Nose, and Throat Conditions, Debra Fulghum Bruce and Murray Grossan;
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
judith hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.