It is estimated that some 30 million Americans suffer from sinus problems. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucus membranes in the sinus cavities caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, usually the result of a physical obstruction, such as deviated septum or nasal polyps; a cold, a sudden change in weather conditions, or an allergic reaction. Stress and exhaustion, as well as diet are also contributing factors to chronic sinusitis and mucus formation. Regardless of the cause, sinusitis is characterized by swelling of the mucous membranes and increased mucus production, causing the symptoms most associated with sinus congestion, such as the sinus headaches, pressure and pain, along with a stuffy and/or runny nose.
The condition often presents like a common cold that lingers on with constant or worsening nasal congestion and possibly discharge. In fact, sinusitis can be hard to differentiate from a common cold or hay fever and for that reason is often treated unsuccessfully. Because most treatment methods fail to drain the sinus cavities completely of mucus, creating an ongoing pattern of recurring infections, in many cases sinusitis has a tendency to turn into a chronic condition.
In Western medicine, typical treatment for sinusitis is the prescription of antihistamines or antibiotics that may relieve the symptoms short-term, but do little to address the cause of the condition. In addition, continually treating the infections with antibiotics weakens the immune system, creating a vicious cycle and causing further problems. Traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, has been naturally and effectively treating sinusitis for centuries with herbal and acupuncture modalities.
Acupuncture can boost the immune system, and help effectively free the flow in the sinuses giving instant relief during the treatment, while herbal remedies possessing antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties balance and support the organs most involved in fluid metabolism in order to reduce and prevent and the excessive production and congealing of the mucus both in the sinuses and systemically. Dietary recommendations are also be part of a Chinese medicine treatment. In general it is recommended to avoid or limit foods which can contribute to production of excess mucus in the body, such as sugar, dairy products, fried and spicy foods, and red meat. Alcohol and tobacco smoking should also be avoided. This combined approach to treatment of sinusitis doesn’t only offer symptom relief, but helps break the pattern of recurring infections.
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