Stuffed Up Sinuses, Congestion, Headaches, Hard to Concentrate? A Natural, Ancient Solution
© 2014 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Americans suffer from 1 billion colds a year, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There are also nearly 32 million cases of chronic sinusitis reported by health care providers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year.
Simple and inexpensive nasal irrigation may help relieve painful sinus congestion for millions of Americans.
Among the top symptoms experienced by those suffering from the 1 billion colds a year include:
For the 37 million Americans affected by sinusitis, which occurs when the lining of your sinus cavities (which are in the facial bones around your nose) become inflamed, each year, primary symptoms include:
Facial pain, pressure or tenderness around the eyes, forehead or cheeks
Difficulty breathing through your nose
Headache in the front of the head or around the eyes
Millions more suffer from allergies that also can wreak havoc on your sinuses, leading to facial pain, clogged nasal passages and headaches.
If you’re one of the billions suffering from these stuffed up sinuses, congestion, headaches and difficulty breathing through your nose, you know the toll it can take on your health. For starters, sleeping becomes more difficult, which makes you fatigued during the day and less able to fight off the underlying illness.
The pain and pressure of congestion and headaches can also make it difficult to concentrate and focus on work, your kids and anything other than the pain in your head and sinuses. This can easily make you behind at work or at home, which, coupled with the fatigue, is a recipe for stress and burnout.
Options for Relief - What You Should Be Aware Of
Sinus congestion can be so unbearable that you reach for over-the-counter medications an option for relief such as antihistamines and decongestants. Antihistamines, which are used to dry up excess mucus, can actually cause mucus to become thicker, inhibiting sinus drainage and potentially leading to an infection.
Decongestants, meanwhile, can leave your jittery and may make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Further, if you use over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays too often, your nose may become tolerant to the medication, leading to “rebound congestion.” When this happens you will need more and more of the medication to get relief.
According to the FDA, "Although DXM, when formulated properly and used in small amounts, can be safely used in cough suppressant medicines, abuse of the drug can cause death as well as other serious adverse events such as brain damage, seizure, loss of consciousness, and irregular heart beat."
Teens have been known to take the drug, sometimes downing two boxes of cough pills at a time, for the mild euphoric and hallucinogenic effects.
"The effects vary with dose, and dextromethorphan users describe a set of distinct dose-dependent "plateaus" ranging from a mild stimulant effect with distorted visual perceptions at low doses to a sense of complete dissociation from one's body at [high] doses," says the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Furthermore, when DXM is taken in medications that also contain antihistamines or decongestant ingredients, the effects become increasingly dangerous.
A Simple Solution to Clear Sinus Congestion
Regular use of a neti pot is a soothing way to keep your sinuses clear and breathe freely.
Over-the-counter cough and cold remedies do not cure your sinus pressure, they simply provide symptom relief. Note that, you can get similar results using natural options without risking any negative side effects.
If you’re experiencing colds, sinusitis, allergies or any other ailment that’s leading to sinus congestion consider the following lifestyle tips:
Get losts of rest and drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat moist and avoid dehydration.
Applying warm packs to your face can help relieve pain, and be sure you don't bend over with your head down, as this can increase pain.
Inhaling steam from a kettle or pot of boiling water to open up clogged sinuses and lessen dripping from your nose. Be careful not to get burned.
Use a humidifier in your bedroom to put more moisture into the air.
Blow your nose often and gently to get rid of the germ-carrying mucus.
However, one of the best options for sinus relief has been around since ancient times and still holds true as one of the most effective, safe, and soothing options for sinus health.
Nasal cleansing, also known as nasal irrigation, involves using a neti pot to pour a lukewarm saline solution (pure water mixed with natural salt) inside one side of your nostril while tilting your head sideways so the water runs out of your other nostril.
This simple, inexpensive and soothing technique is actually one of the six purification techniques traditionally done by many prior to doing yoga and many Muslims do it before prayers.
This practice is quickly gaining many modern-day followers across the globe, simply because it feels so soothing. Some even keep their neti pot next to their toothbrush and cleanse their sinuses twice a day, just like brushing their teeth.
Growing in popularity, neti pots even made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, when Dr. Mehmet Oz, the surgeon made famous by Oprah, said in an interview with Healthy Living Magazine:
“When you use it [a Neti pot] properly, it reduces dust and other contaminants in the nose, and it’s a very effective way to clean the sinuses.”
How Does the Neti Pot Work?
According to Daniel Blum, M.D., Otorhinolaryngology, Mayo Clinic:
“Nasal irrigation, also called nasal lavage, is a safe, inexpensive and easy way to relieve symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion, such as stuffiness, dry nose and thick mucus. It works in children and adults, and you can do it yourself.
Nasal irrigation involves rinsing out nasal passages with salt water (saline). Rinsing flushes out thickened mucus and irritants, such as dust and allergens, from the nose. It may also help ease swelling in the lining of nasal passages.”
In short, nasal cleansing using a well-designed neti pot can help you:
It’s an incredibly simple process. The first step is to make your saline solution, which should be made with pure (distilled or purified) water that’s as close to the temperature of your body as you can get. Mix with 1/4 teaspoon of a natural, non-iodized Nasal Cleansing Salt.
Once the mixture has dissolved, add it to your neti pot. Dr. Oz explains the next step in the Healthy Living interview:
“Then, lean over the sink facedown and insert the spout into one nostril. Tilt your head towards the other nostril. The water will seep out into your nose and drain through the other nostril. Empty half the solution into one nostril, then switch and pour the rest into the second nostril.”
Many people prefer to practice nasal cleansing once a day in the morning, as part of their regular hygiene routine (like brushing your teeth and washing your face). However, if you feel an infection coming on, struggle with allergies, or you know the flu and colds are going around, you can cleanse your sinuses with a neti pot up to four times day.
Writes Dr. Blum on MayoClinic.org:
“Nasal irrigation can be performed several times a day, if needed to relieve symptoms. Most people find that nasal irrigation effectively eases congestion when used regularly. Research comparing nasal saline sprays with nasal irrigation found that nasal irrigation provided greater relief. The reason may be that nasal irrigation uses a greater volume of salt water and may be better at flushing out mucus and irritants.”
All Neti Pots are Not Created Equal … How to Choose an Effective Neti Pot
There are many neti pots on the market, find one that is made from sturdy, lead-free ceramic and coated with a food-grade sealant.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Neti pots are completely safe and incredibly easy to use, making them not only useful for relieving stuffy sinuses and congestion, but also helping to prevent it in the first place.
As Dr. Oz continued in the interview with Healthy Living Magazine:
“When you use it [a neti pot] properly, it reduces dust and other contaminants in the nose, and it’s a very effective way to clean the sinuses. Modern studies are showing that it’s as effective as drugs for preventing sinus infections. Regular use of a neti pot is also hugely beneficial for people with nasal allergies and headaches. It just takes all the gelatinous goo out of there.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
FreedomPressOnline.com The Healing Power of Neti