Finding relief for chronic sinusitis can be daunting but is possible if you follow seven “simple” steps, outlined by Dr. Murray Grossan, an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT), in his book, “The Sinus Cure.” Grossan’s treatment program offers hope to the more than 38 million people with inflammation of the sinuses, the most prevalent adult disease in the U.S. However, his program does tend more toward traditional medicine with some glimmers of a more holistic approach.
Sinusitis is basically an inflammation of the mucous membranes and overproduction of mucus caused by an irritation, such a cold or viral infection, air pollution, smoke, allergens, ozone, or dry or cold air. The swelling prevents the cilia (nose hairs) which normally clean the nasal passages from doing their job with the result being the mucus can’t drain out. While some people suffer with year-round sinusitis, it is most common during the winter months.
If you are a sinusitis sufferer, you probably already know what contributes to your problems (infections, allergies, environmental irritants) but Grossan adds blowing the nose too hard, emotional stress and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to the list. According to studies, blowing the nose too hard can make your suffering longer by forcing harmful bacteria into the sinuses. Stomach acid, backed up with GERD, can affect the esophagus and result in sinus infections. Emotional stress is often associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices which can make you more susceptible to illness.
Grossan doesn’t suggest anything new on how to treat sinus headaches, the most common symptom. His offerings include taking pain relievers, over-the-counter nasal sprays for a short period only, prescription nasal sprays, antibiotics and decongestants. Taking medicines with guaifenesin (Mucinex) may help thin thick mucus, making it easier to drain. Try papaya and bromelain buccal tablets to reduce inflammation.
His seven steps discussed with great detail include:
•Step 1: Start by seeing a doctor (preferably an ENT) to get a thorough evaluation.
•Step 2: Try nasal irrigation which can reduce swelling, decrease headache pain and help with cough. His top pick for nasal irrigation is the Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus Irrigator, similar to a WaterPik with a wand for cleaning your nasal passages.
•Step 3: Consider complementary treatments, such as healing foods, acupuncture or herbal supplements.
•Step 4: Get rid of allergens and irritants in your home environment.
•Step 5: Increase healing nutrients and get rid of offending foods in your diet. The offenders include alcohol, chocolate, dairy products, food additives, sugar and yeast. The good guys are berries, broccoli, cherries, garlic and onions, green and black tea, grapes and oranges.
•Step 6: Reduce stress.
•Step 7: Know what strategies (medications, surgery) are effective.
Grossan’s book is definitely a good resource if you have chronic sinusitis. It has tons of useful information but I would question his claim that the seven steps are “simple.”