Sinusitis refers to a swelling or inflammation of the sinus tissue. Usually, sinuses are filled with air. However, when they are filled with fluid, pathogens can quickly breed, causing infections.
Conditions that result in sinus blockage include allergic rhinitis, common cold, small growths in the nose lining known as nasal polyps and a septum deviation in the nasal cavity.
In this article, I present the natural methods that you can use to sinus pain.
Saline nasal sprays (nasal irrigation) break down mucus and debris and make it easy to flush your nose, easing sinus pain and congestions.
People argue a lot of about which sinus pain remedy is proven. The thing is, there is no arguing about the effectiveness of saline sprays.
When you spray saline liquid into your nose, it breaks down mucus, making flushing it out very easy. Besides, one study1shows that saline washes are so effective that you should use them whenever you experience sinus pains.
You are advised to use saline liquid to flush out the nasal passages on a daily basis using a neti pot or any other device that can help keep your sinuses moist.
Not only does the nasal spray relieve sinus pain, but also helps fight colds and allergies.
You can find bromelain in your local pharmacy. Chances are that you will find it in the supplements section.
I know you are wondering: “What is bromelain?”
Bromelain is a protein extract from pineapple stems. Professional fighters have used bromelain for many years to reduce swelling. It follows that bromelain can also reduce the swelling in the nasal passages.
But here’s the catch:
Before buying and using bromelain to reduce sinus swelling, consult your doctor. It is possible that bromelain may interact with some of the medication you are taking. If approved, follow the correct dosage.
Bromelain is pineapple extract that can help reduce sinus swelling, easing pressure and pain.
Inhaling steam helps hydrate your sinuses, ease flushing and makes sinus pressure and pain manageable. Pour the hot water into a bowl, cover your face with a towel and inhale the steam.
Water vapor is very effective at moistening the sinuses. For the best results, add some drops of menthol and eucalyptus in the hot water and inhale it. You can also add menthol and eucalyptus when steaming your bath.
Here’s how this works:
The hot steamy shower or bath will help loosen the debris and mucus that sticks up your nose. This will make flushing the mucus and debris easy and reduce the sinus pressure.
Drinking water is not just beneficial for your sinus pain, as you might have guessed. It helps prevent constipation, keeps your skin and brain hydrated.
Even as you frequently drink water, avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, which dehydrate your body. Everyone is different and the recommended fluid intake differs from one person to the next.
The basic rule of thumb is to drink a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water on a daily basis. If your urine is clear, you are hydrated.
Drinking water is important as it helps keep your sinus tissue hydrated, which reduces inflammation and pain.
Spices, especially the hot ones are known to relieve sinus pressure and pain.
Foods spiced up with hot pepper, curry, mustard, horseradish, and wasabi can really help relieve sinus pain. In fact, the hotter the spice, the better it is at opening your nasal passages.
Allergies tend to worsen sinus pains. A basic way to eliminate allergens from your home is by eliminating dust mites and installing an air filter system.
Additionally, use beddings with allergen barrier, which helps keep the pests out of the bedroom. The result is that this reduces the elements that trigger sinus pain.
With humidifiers, you can keep the indoor air moist, which helps reduce sinus congestion, and pain.
While a humidifier is great, it can worsen the sinusitis if not kept clean. If you are allergic to mold, and you don’t keep your humidifier clean. Then the humidifier will boost mold distribution in the house, worsening the problem.
If you can, only use humidifiers during the dry months and not the humid months. Monitor the humidity level in the room. A humidity of 35% - 50% is ideal. If you notice fog forming on your windows, the humidity is too high.
Massaging your sinus with warm material helps relieve the congestion. So as to get the best outcome from warm compression, you can fill a bowl with hot water, place a towel around your head and inhale the steam.
As you do this, however, take care not to burn yourself.
Remove allergens from your surroundings, especially from your bed as these are known to cause sinus irritation, congestion, and pain.
Since sinusitis is a viral infection, antibiotics do very little in terms of relief. If anything, taking antibiotics increases your resistance to them.
The problem with getting used to taking antibiotics is that you increase the likelihood of antibiotic resistance. Besides, the antibiotics are unsuitable at treating most sinusitis cases.
Most of the infections that cause sinusitis are viral. Only around 2% of the infections are bacterial. In fact, your doctor may advise that you have a seven-day waiting period prior to taking antibiotics.
In one study2, it was found that antibiotics were poor at improving sinusitis symptoms even after 7 days of taking them. In the study, the improvement in the quality of life was the same for those taking placebos and antibiotics.
If taking over-the-counter medication fails to improve the sinus pains, visiting the doctor might be the next best option. The doctor may recommend a CT scan on your nose and sinuses.
If the CT scan shows anatomical problems like nasal polyps or nasal septum in the sinuses, the doctor may remove them surgically.
In case the sinus pain lasts for at least a week and is accompanied by a fever, make it a priority to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. Chances are you need treatment that is more aggressive than natural remedies.
If your sinusitis lasts for a week with a fever, visit your doctor. The doctor will identify the cause and if anatomical, will recommend corrective surgery.
As we have seen in this article, nasal polyps can be very uncomfortable. We have also seen the natural sinus pain remedies including nasal compressions, using humidifiers, eating spicy foods and inhaling steam.
The article has warned against taking antibiotics immediately after getting a sinus congestion or pain as it hardly helps and results in antibiotic resistance. If you use a humidifier, keep it clean and free from mold.
If you get a sinus infection that lasts for at least a weak and is accompanied by a fever, see your doctor immediately. You will likely get a CT scan of your sinuses, after which you might go for corrective surgery.
1 Egan, M. E., Hickner, J., & Ewigman, B. (2009). Saline irrigation spells relief for sinusitis sufferers. Priority Updates to Research Literature (PURLs).
2 Garbutt, J. M., Banister, C., Spitznagel, E., & Piccirillo, J. F. (2012). Amoxicillin for acute rhinosinusitis: a randomized controlled trial. JAmA, 307(7), 685-692.