Inflammation of the sinuses is a very common disease. It is estimated that about 5% of the population suffers from chronic sinusitis.
The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the head situated behind the nose, eyes and forehead. They are lined with a mucous secreting membrane and are connected to the nasal cavity by narrow channels.
If the membrane in the sinuses and nose secretes too much mucous in response to allergy or infection the condition may be called catarrh. If the membrane becomes inflamed the condition is known as sinusitis.
Medication, lifestyle changes and manipulation therapy can all be used to help treat both conditions.
What Causes Sinusitis?
Excessive mucous production is frequently caused by an allergy, commonly occurring in allergic Rhinitis, In this case symptoms usually disappear once exposure to the allergen stops.
The most common cause of sinusitis is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. If the channels connecting the sinuses to the nose become blocked, mucous may collect in the sinuses. In some cases the mucous can be infected with bacteria, worsening the condition. Blockage of the channels is more likely in people with an abnormality like a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Rarely channels may be blocked by a tumour.
People with reduced immunity or those taking immunosuppressants are at an increased risk of sinusitis because they are more prone to infection.
Nutritionistâ€™s clinical experience suggests that food sensitivity is a common cause of sinusitis. Some food, particularly dairy products, seems to increase mucous production in the sinuses causing congestion. Sensitive areas known as trigger points in the face or jaw can increase mucous production in the nose and sinuses leading to congestion.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of Catarrh include:
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
Pain and tenderness in the face which can become worse when bending over or leaning forward.
Nasal congestion and or blockage
Headache and possibly toothache, if the sinuses behind the cheeks are affected.