What are Sinuses?
Sinuses are hollow air spaces in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows, and jaw. They produce mucus, the fluid that cleans bacteria and other particles from your air. Tiny hairs called cilia sweep mucus out of your sinuses so it can drain out through your nose.
What causes Sinusitis?
“-itis” means “inflamed“,
Sinusitis occurs when your sinuses (hollow spaces) are filled with mucus or the cilia (tiny hairs) cannot move the mucus effectively. This can be caused by many factors, such as:
● Changes in temperature or air pressure
● Excessive use of nasal sprays
● Swimming or diving
● Growths called polyps (say: “pawl-ips”) block sinus passages and cause sinusitis.
INTERESTING FACT: When a bacteria or a virus causes a sinus infection, it can sometimes cause the infection to occur after having a cold. This is because the cold virus attacks the lining, causing it to swell and narrow. The body responds by producing more mucus but gets blocked due to inflammation. The mucus buildup provides an opportunity for bacteria to grow.
Acute vs Chronic Sinusitis?
Acute sinusitis is when the symptoms occur for less than four weeks, whereas chronic sinusitis symptoms last longer than 12 weeks.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
- Pain or pressure in the forehead, cheeks, nose, and between the eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
- Cough, which may be worse at night
- Bad breath (called halitosis)
- Thickened nasal drainage.
How can Physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy offers a range of effective strategies to help you find relief from sinus issues. If you’re experiencing discomfort due to sinusitis, physiotherapy uses multiple modalities to alleviate pain, reduce congestion and swelling, and aid mucus drainage.
Here are some ways in which physiotherapy can help:
1. Manual Drainage:
Physiotherapists are skilled in techniques that help clear mucus and promote drainage from your sinuses. Manual drainage involves gentle manipulation and massage of specific areas to encourage the movement of mucus, providing relief from congestion and pressure.
2, Dry Needling:
This technique involves the insertion of fine needles into sinuses and trigger points into the muscles, stimulating blood flow and relaxation. Dry needling can reduce muscle tension around the sinuses, relieving pain and improving drainage.
3. Therapeutic Ultrasound and Laser Therapy:
These modalities can enhance blood circulation and reduce inflammation in the affected areas. They contribute to tissue healing, reducing pain and promoting overall recovery.
4. Joint Mobilization:
Physiotherapists can perform joint mobilization techniques that help improve the mobility of the bones and joints around your sinuses. This can lead to increased comfort and better drainage.
5. Heat Therapy:
Applying heat to the affected areas can help soothe muscles, improve blood flow, and alleviate discomfort. It also aids in reducing swelling and congestion.
6. Individualized Exercise Programs:
Physiotherapists can design tailored exercises that improve posture, breathing, and muscle strength. These exercises can help prevent further sinus issues and promote optimal sinus drainage.
7. Lifestyle Advice:
Physiotherapists can provide guidance on lifestyle modifications that may be contributing to your sinus issues. This could include advice on smoking cessation, proper hydration, and breathing techniques.
8. Duration of Treatment:
The number of physiotherapy sessions required depends on the severity of your condition. Your physiotherapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that suits your individual needs.
Incorporating physiotherapy into your sinusitis management plan can provide you with non-invasive, drug-free methods to alleviate pain, reduce congestion and swelling, and improve overall sinus health. Remember, a collaborative approach between your healthcare providers, including your physiotherapist, can lead to more effective and lasting results.