There are many different types of sinus problems that impact individuals. If you are reading this, chances are, you suffer from one or more of these issues. Chronic sinusitis – alone – impacts in excess of 31 million people throughout the United States. That is just ONE type of sinus issue that may be experienced. There are actually many, many more. The good news is, physical therapy has proven to be a highly effective solution for individuals that suffer from one sinus issue or another. Continue reading to learn more.
What are the Most Common Types of Sinus Problems?
There are many types of nasal and sinus-based disorders that impact people. The following highlights those that are most commonly experienced:
- Allergic Rhinitis – This is an inflammation that detrimentally impacts the sensitive membranes that line the nose.
- Sinusitis – This occurs when the spaces located throughout the inside of the nose and within the head – or the sinuses – start to experience inflammation and become swollen. If this occurs for a period of at least 3 months, it is referred to as “chronic sinusitis”. Drainage of the mucus of the nose is typically negatively impacted, which results in the development of a stuffy nose.
- Nasal Polyps – Nasal polyps are a type of growth – which is non-cancerous – that grows within the lining of the nasal cavity and/or the sinuses.
- Sinus Infections – Sinus infections are typically identified as “sinusitis”. In this instance, an infection of some type results in the inflammation of the passages of the nose and/or the sinuses.
- Sinus Pressure – Pressure of the sinuses occurs when the membranes of the passages within the nose experience inflammation and/or become swollen. The pressure may then result in the development of pain and discomfort in the head, in between the eyes, under the eyes, and even down into the cheek region.
How Does Physical Therapy Help with Sinus Problems?
Physical therapy acts as a type of myofascial-based release directly to the sinuses. This is made possible through a technique that utilizes taps or strokes or a combination of both. These movements are directed to the forehead, in most instances. As a result, the sinus cavities open and excess fluid is successfully eliminated.
Additionally, pressure may be applied in close proximity to the nose – between the jaw and the cheekbones. Circular-based motions may then be done towards the ears to perform this massage therapy technique effectively. Within seconds, most individuals with sinus problems will experience some degree of relief. For many, the relief is complete.
Where are Sinus Cavities Located?
We all have four distinct sinus cavities. These are located directly behind the cheekbones, right in the middle of the forehead, immediately between the ears, and immediately behind the nasal cavity.
What Do the Sinuses Do?
The sinuses consist of four paired spaces located within the head. Each of these are connected by channels that are relatively narrow. The sinuses create a very thin fluid – mucus – that drains directly out of the nose through the channels of which they are connected. This aids in ensuring that the nose is kept clean and that it does not include any type of bacteria that could be potentially harmful to the health. Additionally, the sinuses contain very small hairs that directly warm and engage in a humidification process of the air that is breathed in prior to that air reaching the lungs.
What Causes Sinus Pressure?
Blocked passages in the nasal cavities result in sinus pressure. Once an issue impacting the drainage of the sinuses arise, inflammation will start to occur. Immediately thereafter, pain will be experienced. Allergies, colds, environmental conditions, medication sensitivities, and a wide array of other issues may result in the development of sinus pressure.
What Physical Therapy Strategies are Best for Sinus Problems?
We have already touched on the fact that physical therapy is helpful and how it is helpful to those with sinus problems. Now, we are going to go into detail on the actual strategies that physical therapists utilize to successfully assist those with sinus problems. The most common strategies include the following:
- Kinesio Tape – This is a specially-designed tape that physical therapists may elect to place on the forehead and/or the bridge of the nose. It reduces both inflammation and any pain experienced in the sinuses.
- Suboccipital Release – This is performed at the base of the neck. It is designed to stretch from that area down into the tailbone. The purpose and intent of this treatment is to redistribute the fluid of the sinus cavity into other areas of the body so that pressure is released from the sinuses.
- Electrical Stimulation – An accelerated recovery performance machine is used to directly apply electrical stimulation to the areas of the sinus cavities and the regions around the cavities. This opens up the cavities so that drainage may resume.
- Neck Stretches – This stretches out the neck muscles so that the neck relaxes, but circulation gets a boost. Additionally, special nutrients are pushed to the glands that are directly associated with the sinuses. These stretches assist in reducing inflammation, irritation, and pain.
- Sinus Release – This is a tap/stroke procedure that alleviates sinus pressure and helps in promoting drainage of any fluid that has accumulated within the sinus cavities.
Do Exercises Help in Reducing Sinus Problems?
Yes, there are many exercises that aid in the reduction of sinus problems. When exercises are performed, the blood vessels contract. In turn, this helps reducing any accumulation of fluid in the sinus cavities and inflammation associated with that congestion.
Is it Safe to Exercise with Sinus Congestion?
Yes, it is safe to exercise if you have sinus congestion, but it is not safe to exercise by yourself. The congestion may result in the development of dizziness when combined with physical activity. You should work with a physical therapist if you want to exercise. Not only will the professional be able to direct you on what exercises are safe, they will be able to assist you should a complication start to occur.
What Types of Medical Treatments Do People Use for Sinus Problems?
There are many medical treatments utilized for sinus problems. Examples include antibiotics, antifungal medications, saline sprays, steroids that may be sprayed into the nose, drying nose sprays, and even over-the-counter medication designed for allergies – such as Benadryl and Allegra.
Additionally, there are medical procedures – such as surgery. Many people find that physical therapy is the best treatment, though. This is because of the fact that there are no adverse side effects, it is inexpensive, it is safe, and the most effective of all treatments that are currently available.
Contact Us Today
If you want to clear up a sinus problem, we here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy are standing by to assist you. We use a wide variety of strategies and techniques to get to the bottom of your issue and come up with solid solutions that will allow you to overcome them. You may elect to pursue physical therapy on your own; however, if you have serious underlying issues, have been diagnosed with nasal polyps, or nasal cancer, we highly recommend that you get the approval of a medical doctor before stepping away from any medical treatments that you are on.
In addition to physical therapy for sinus problems, we also offer services and treatments for a wide array of other issues. Examples include vestibular treatment, dry needling, custom orthotics, and treatments specific to various components/regions of the body. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today by calling the following number: 303-832-5577