Treatments for Sinus Congestion and Sinus Infections

Treatments for Sinus Congestion and Sinus Infections

Sinusitis (sinus infection) is common and can be acute (lasting up to 4 weeks) or chronic (lasting up to three months and lingering for years). The problem is that many people who have sinusitis often use treatments that aren’t entirely effective. As such, we wanted to take a look at some of the treatments available—from medicines to home remedies to laser treatments from licensed chiropractors—so you can determine what may be the best route for you.

How Does Sinusitis Happen?

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines the small sinus cavities in the skull. Normally filled with air, these cavities also make mucus to keep the nasal passages clear of allergens and pollutants. When inflammation (or swelling) blocks off the sinuses, they trap mucus and air inside them, which can cause pain and pressure and sometimes lead to a bacterial infection that creates sinusitis.

In general, sinusitis results in facial pressure and pain; thick, discolored mucus; and congestion. Acute sinusitis usually happens from a cold or allergies. Chronic sinusitis can happen from year-round allergies, a weak immune system, frequent colds, and smoking, or it could be problems with your nasal passage structure or nasal polyp growths that prevent the sinuses from draining normally.

Common Treatment Options

For treating sinusitis, the key is figuring out the cause and can be a combination of approaches. If your symptoms have lasted more than 10 days, consult with a doctor to figure out what’s causing the problem.

Medical Treatments. Following are some common medicines your doctor may prescribe, depending on the cause.

  • Antibiotics. This is common if a bacterial infection is to blame.
  • Painkillers. Many take over-the-counter pain medications to ease discomfort, but this is not a long-term solution.
  • Decongestants. These medicines lessen the amount of mucus in the sinuses.
  • Allergy medicines. If your sinusitis is from uncontrolled allergies, antihistamines and avoiding triggers can help. Allergy shots may be a long-term treatment that gradually lessens your sensitivity to the triggers.
  • Steroids. In some cases, doctors prescribe inhaled or oral steroids that reduce the sinus membrane swelling.
  • Surgery. Occasionally, for chronic sinusitis, a surgeon can operate to remove blockages and enlarge the sinus passages to makes drainage easier.

Home Remedies

While medicines and surgery may help, sometimes sinusitis can resolve on its own or with simple home remedies and preventative measures.

  • Moisten the sinus cavities. Create an environment with humidity and steam vapors whether that’s draping a towel over your head and a bowl of hot water, taking a hot shower, or using room humidifiers.
  • Apply warm heat. Putting a warm, wet towel or compress on your nose and forehead can relieve some pressure.
  • Rinse the sinuses. Clear out mucus with salt water (saline) nasal irrigation (or nasal lavage) Use bulb syringes or neti pots and distilled, sterile, or cooled-down boiled water.
  • Stay hydrated. Fluids help thin the mucus and reduce sinus blockage. Avoid alcohol; it makes swelling worse.
  • Avoid certain foods. Limit your intake of sugar (even in fruit juices), dairy, refined flour and grains, and salt, all of which make more mucus or dehydrate the body.
  • Rest. Get plenty of sleep so your body can fight infection and speed recovery.

Natural Food and Herbal Remedies

Several foods, herbs, and drinks help you recover or maintain good nasal health.

  • Chicken broth with vegetables. This soothes nasal cavities and breathing and provides important minerals.
  • Spicy foods. Foods like horseradish, mustard, curry, wasabi, and hot peppers clear nasal passages.
  • Herbal tea. Make tea from spices like ginger or turmeric and add raw honey to help recovery.
  • Garlic and onions. These boost immune function, and onions are known for their sulfur content acting as antibacterial aid.
  • Vitamin C–rich foods. Consuming raw foods high in vitamin C boosts the immune system.
  • Apple cider vinegar. In any form, this can help clear out thick mucus in your nasal passage.
  • Hot tomato juice, fenugreek seeds, and lemon palm gargle. Taken daily, these act as anti-inflammatory measures.
  • Echinacea. This herb helps your body fight off viruses and bacteria.

Essential Oils

Essential oils like eucalyptus, oregano, and peppermint also can be highly effective in naturally opening the sinuses, clearing mucus, and eliminating infection. Diffuse them into the air for breathing or rub one drop (of food-grade oil) on the roof of the mouth then drink water.

While home and natural remedies may do the trick for some people, sometimes nothing seems to help. Luckily there is a way chiropractors can help.

What Can Chiropractors Do for Sinus Problems?

“We have found the best treatment for sinus congestion and sinusitis is the MLS Laser,” says Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. “We see 20–80 percent relief within six minutes of the treatment. People feel their sinuses draining and can breathe so much better after getting the laser treatment.”

In addition, the MLS Laser treatment also can treat other sinus-related issues.

  • Sleep Apnea. “Once we’ve done a handful of treatments,” Dr. Gross explains, “patients have been reporting sleeping better because they can breathe. Even if they have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, they finally get more air through their sinuses and feel so comfortable at night.”
  • Allergies. “Patients report that allergy symptoms are so much less [after MLS Laser treatment] that many stop needing daily allergy medication,” notes Dr. Gross.
  • Migraines. “We also notice that many patients get immediate relief from migraine headaches after MLS Laser treatment for their sinuses,” says Dr. Gross. “Inflamed sinuses contribute to severe migraines. Once the inflammation goes down, their headache goes away.”

Dr. Gross concludes, “If people are regularly taking medications or considering surgery because of their sinus problems, I would highly recommend trying MLS Laser. It’s noninvasive, has no side effects, and is a completely pain-free procedure. Being a cold laser, it produces no heat, so the patient does not really feel anything during the treatment.”

So, if you have any questions about sinus pain and ailments, try some of these treatments. But if you’re wondering whether the MLS Laser might be the treatment for you, contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 to learn more so we can help get you back to whole-body health.

Schedule an Appointment
  1. chiropractor near me

    I have found that being a doctor is so rewarding because every single day I see miracles happen in front of my very eyes. If I stick to basic principles, I notice the best results. I focus on effective, research-based therapies. I recommend only the therapies I believe my patients need, and only for as many treatments as I believe they need. I keep up with current research and educational seminars to improve techniques and treatments. I treat each person in my office like I would treat my own family – with respect, compassion, and understanding. When conflicts or problems arise, I expect honest, open communication to resolve any issues, and I promise to do my best to ensure satisfaction. I never take for granted the trust I have earned from my patients.