Patients often present for osteopathy treatment who experience sinus congestion, face discomfort, nasal sensitivity, headaches, post-nasal drip or are prone to chronic sinus infections. When treating patients with sinus conditions, as osteopaths we must consider the function of the sinuses and what role they play in relation to the rest of the body.
Sinuses are hollow cavities in our skull. There are 4 paranasal sinuses which drain directly into the nasal cavity. The paranasal sinuses have been highlighted in the image below.
- Frontal sinus
- Ethmoid sinus
- Sphenoid sinus
- Maxillary sinus
Osteopathic treatment for sinuses addresses the whole respiratory system. An osteopathic treatment will aim to:
- Improve the functional drainage from the paranasal sinuses to the nasal cavity
- Address imbalances through the face, neck, chest and thorax
- Facilitate good breathing mechanics
Normal function of the cranial bones allows the paranasal sinuses to drain freely into the nasal cavity. When the sinuses are blocked by inflammation, a mass or excess fluids, drainage of mucous can be interrupted. Stagnant mucosal fluids can become a hotbed for infection which can contribute to symptoms of pain, discomfort, breathing difficulties and even diminished hearing!
Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat imbalances and restrictions throughout the head, neck and chest that may be contributing to sinus symptoms. Techniques often include a range of gentle hands on osteopathic techniques and will vary for each individual presentation.
An osteopathic treatment will diagnose your unique condition and look to address the underlying anatomical cause.
Sinus infection is most often viral rather than bacterial. Symptoms of a viral sinus infection do not require antibiotics and can ease on their own. Alongside osteopathic treatment, there are a few things you can do at home to help:
- Rest and slowing down
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Elevating your head with an extra pillow when lying down
- Irrigation techniques (neti pot)
Whether it's a long term thing, or fluctuating seasonal symptoms, osteopathy can help relieve your sinus symptoms by addressing the underlying cause contributing to your unique condition.
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