Saturday, August 21, 2010

Alternative Treatments for Sinus Problems

Sinus pain can be excruciating, and if you suffer from it, you've probably tried every remedy in the drugstore to get some relief. AOL Health talked to the experts to find some pain management tactics you may not have considered.

You love it on your pastrami sandwich -- now try it for sinus pain. The strong-flavored herb actually acts as an expectorant. In addition, it may have antibiotic properties, which can help if you have a sinus infection. To try it, get some fresh horseradish root -- not the type in the jar. You can find it at Whole Foods or other specialty stores. Grate up ¼ teaspoon of it. Place it on your tongue and hold it in your mouth until the flavor fades. (Beware: It's hotter than the jarred kind.) You should start to feel mucus draining down the back of your throat and the pressure alleviating. Spit the mucus out along with the horseradish.

Fenugreek Tea
Fenugreek is another herb that, like horseradish, acts as an expectorant. It may also help reduce inflammation, and it works well as a tea. You can find the leaves in Indian grocery stores or online. Boil 1 teaspoon of fenugreek leaves in 1 cup of water. Drink while it's still warm, like a tea. It may cause you to sweat. Don't use fenugreek if you're pregnant or allergic to peanuts. Fruit EnzymesMurray Grossan, an otolaryngologist in Los Angeles and author of "Free Yourself From Sinus and Allergy Problems Permanently" recommends papaya and pineapple enzymes, both of which are available at health food stores. The papain in papaya and bromelain in pineapple help thin mucus and reduce inflammation, thereby clearing sinuses and airways.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that reflexology can clear sinuses. The points to focus on are on the underside of the four smaller toes, near the outermost joint, toward the lateral side of the toe. Work the area for about two minutes. Proceed gently though -- if you have inflamed sinuses, this area will be tender.
Contrast Therapy
Holistic physician Jade Teta recommends a very simple contrast therapy. Hold a washcloth dipped in hot water to the sinuses for three minutes, then a cloth dipped in cold water for 1 minute. Alternate between the two several times. Because hot opens blood vessels and cold shrinks them, the contrast creates a pumping action that brings blood to the area, helping to relieve congestion and speed healing.

And if all else fails, says Teta, try humming. It increases vibration in the sinuses and therefore increases oxygen and blood flow to the area. "Headache," by Weezer, perhaps?

More on Sinus Pain:

Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sinus headache: Areas of pain

A sinus headache can be caused by an infection (bacterial or viral) or from allergies. Signs that you have a sinus infection include:

~ A fever.
~ Green or gray discharge from your nose that lasts more than 7 to 10 days.
~ A runny or stuffy nose.
~ A feeling of fullness in the ears, or plugged ears.
~ Swelling or puffiness in the face.

Primary Medical Reviewer
William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Updated
July 9, 2008


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