Sinus pain and sinus headaches are commonly seen after a cold or allergy flare-up. Symptoms are headache or pressure in the eyes, nose or cheek area, or on one side of the head. It affects about 37 million Americans every year. Since this is the fall allergy season and we are also starting to see some colds, let’s talk about those sinus issues.
Explanation of Problem
Sinuses consist of four major pairs of hollow cavities that are all connected together and to the nasal cavity.
They are usually empty except for a thin layer of mucus that covers the mucosa lining the inside of the sinuses. To function correctly, sinuses have to be able to drain properly. The purpose of the sinuses is not known totally but we think that the mucus and cells that cover the mucosa are meant to trap bacteria and other harmful particles. Sinuses might also help humidify the air we breathe, act as insulation for our brain, or have a role on the sound of our voice.
What happens when you have a common cold or a hay fever? The membranes lining your nasal passages begin to produce excess mucus as a way of flushing out whatever is causing the irritation, such as an allergen, and they become inflamed, swollen and irritated. This is what causes the nose to become congested during a cold. The swelling of the mucous membranes is blocking the opening to the sinuses, preventing them from draining and causing increased pressure, pain and tenderness.
Children are more prone to sinus issues because their sinuses are not fully developed and are narrower. Also, people with deviated nasal septum are more likely to experience sinus issues. If you have a deviated septum and repeated sinus problems, including headaches, surgery can sometimes help. Surgery can also be needed if you have growths like polyps that block the sinuses.
You should also be aware of possible complications:
In some cases, bacteria (mainly Streptococcus) normally found in the respiratory passages can grow on the mucus that does not drain properly, causing a sinus infection: the sinuses get filled with pus and mucus that do not evacuate. The signs of an infection are: fever, long-lasting cold over 2 weeks, fatigue, nasal congestion, cough, drainage of pus, post-nasal drip that is often burning, headaches and so on. It requires to quickly see a physician.
HOMEOPATHIC SOLUTIONS: What you can do to keep sinus pain and sinus headache away is to act very early in the process with a homeopathic medicine. It is also wise to control allergies, or actively fight colds, and you can do so with homeopathy as well.
There are many homeopathic medicines that you can use, according to your symptoms. I selected three that are very often used. Take 5 pellets 2 to 4 times a day of the one that suits your situation.
- Kalium Bichromicum 6C: Probably the most frequently homeopathic medicine used for sinus pain. It is appropriate to use when there is a thick, sticky, greenish nasal discharge with excoriated nostrils and sinus pain. You may also feel pressure at the root of the nose.
- Kalium iodatum 6C: Here the pain is more localized at the frontal sinuses and the discharge is burning and watery. The nose is red and swollen.
- Pulsatilla 30C: This is a good medicine for coryza, a nose that is runny during the day and blocked and dry at night. The discharge is bland, yellow-green. Fresh air brings relief.
To further ease your nasal congestion and sinus pressure, here are some tips you can try at home:
- Use warm compresses on your face.
- Prop yourself up to breathe more easily. At night, lie on a couple of pillows.
- Avoid chlorinated pools as chlorine can irritate the mucous membranes.
- Do steam inhalations.
- Place a bowl of water (with one or two drops of eucalyptus oil) on the heater (only if it is safe to do so) or next to your bed.
- Drink plenty of water to dilute the secretions and promote drainage. Warm broths are also very efficient as they hydrate and help loosen the mucus.
- Do nasal irrigation with saline solution.
- Avoid alcohol as it can increase the swelling of the mucous membranes.