Sandstorms come with the transition from winter to summer in the Gulf. It poses health hazards such as sinus allergies and respiratory infections as the dust consists of tiny solid particles floating in the air, which can get past the lungs’ natural defenses and harm sensitive lung tissue. Noticed how everyone around you is getting the flu? Alongside those blocked sinus usually comes an annoying but persistent headache.
You may awaken with a heavy head and tight throat. You may notice that you have a cold, or that the last cold has not gone away completely. You may just have a terrible headache, which hurts even when you roll over in bed. The chances are that you are suffering from sinusitis. It is very common in people between 18 and 45 years of age. The sinuses consist of 8 spaces in the skull bones, under the forehead, the cheekbones and behind the bridge of the nose. They are normally involved in breathing, but when they are inflamed they can fill up with mucus. This is a sticky elastic gel, which helps to protect us from infection and toxins. Healthy sinuses are lined with mucus, which warms and moistens the air as we breathe in. By filtering the dust and toxins, they protect the nose, throat and lungs.
During the course of a normal cold, the inflammation may block the drainage canals for the sinuses, increasing the pressure within them. This pressure causes local pain, headache swelling of the ears and eyes and at times shivering, fever, vertigo, decreased appetite, avoidance of the light and also depression.
Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining. The pain is usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.
A common misconception is that allergies cause a Sinus headache; the truth is that allergies can cause sinus congestion, which may then lead to a Sinus headache.
Causes usually involve anything, which irritates the mucus membranes, including:
- Virus and bacteria
- Air conditioning, too hot, dry or too cold
- Excess bone growth inside the nose
- Nasal polyps
- Facial trauma
- Deviated nasal septum
- Problems with the upper teeth
- Extremely rarely tumours
The traditional medical approach
There are two main principles to this:
- Increase the drainage of the mucus
- Decongestants, antibiotics and antihistamines
Problems caused by medicines
Antihistamines and nasal sprays thicken and dry up the mucus, when the goal should be to dilute it.
The sprays are overused, and should be limited to twice a day for a maximum of 4 days. Often patients continue to use the spray without realizing that it is actually prolonging the problem.
In the end, when the medicine has not worked, doctors may advise surgical drainage.
The chiropractic approach to Sinusitis
Even though chiropractic does not specifically treat sinusitis, those who suffer from this painful disorder often find relief after treatment for other problems. Why is this? If the body is in good order the immune system works better and will give you more resistance to bacteria, viruses and dust, so that the sinuses drain better. This is particularly important, considering that chronic sinusitis has been associated with a lowered immunity.
Chiropractic also lowers stress on the nervous system and the joints. This in turn allows free movement between the skull bones helping to permit uninterrupted drainage of the sinuses
Chiropractic and the Immune System
Many research papers have established the positive effects of chiropractic on the immune system. Scientific research has demonstrated that treating the spine improves the efficiency of the immune system. Moreover, it has been shown that specific spinal manipulation can benefit sinusitis and other nasal problems. The relationship between the nervous system and the immune system appears to be more extensive than was once thought.
A recent piece of research demonstrated that white blood cells, which have a role in protecting against infection, could be influenced by the nervous system, through a complex chain of neuro-transmitters. Modern scientific research is today confirming what chiropractors had already noticed and understood 100 years ago: that a well functioning neuro-musculo-articular system can help us to enjoy good health and notably increase resistance to various illnesses.