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While sinusitis simply refers to inflammation of the nasal passages, the symptoms and treatments can prove more complex. An acute case of sinusitis (recently occurring) becomes chronic when medical treatments fail to cure the problem after 8 weeks.

The symptoms of sinusitis vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Many of the symptoms for either case are the same, though there are slight variations. With chronic sinusitis, in particular, symptoms last for 8 weeks or more and may include:

  • Facial pain and pressure
  • Nasal congestion due to insufficient drainage of mucus
  • Nasal discharge
  • Trouble breathing through the nose
  • Congestion/cough (may worsen in the evening)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Possible swelling in the eye area or face
  • Headache
  • Ear pain
  • Pain in the jaw and teeth, especially in the top
  • Sore throat
  • Irritability
  • Nausea

If a case of severe sinusitis develops, symptoms such as confusion, double-vision, stiff neck, swollen forehead and shortness of breath may happen as well.

Sinusitis occurs mainly in young and middle-aged adults, although children are also at risk. When the condition does present itself, it can be due to one of four main causes:

  • An infection from a virus, bacteria or fungus
  • Allergic rhinitis (swelling of the lining of the nose)
  • The formation of nasal polyps (growths inside the sinus passages)
  • A deviated septum (when the nasal septum, or thin wall between the nostrils, shifts to one side)

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine offers help for your symptoms of sinusitis--whether acute, chronic or frequently occurring. Your practitioner will want to know the severity and duration of symptoms to determine what the best method of treatment is. There are acupuncture points on the face that can help bring immediate relief from nasal congestion. One set of points lies in the folds of both sides of the nose, at the level of the nostrils. These points may also safely be self-massaged at any point to assist in clearing the nasal passages.

There are other acupuncture points that respond well to self-massage, according to the philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. To help relieve pressure from a sinus headache, try gently but firmly pressing the points located at the beginning of your eyebrows, near the nose. In addition, you can try the same technique with a single acupuncture point found right between your eyes, at the level of the eyebrows. This point is called Yintang and is revered by many acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners for its ability to induce calmness and send energy or Qi in a downward direction; therefore, massaging Yintang is particularly helpful in cases of congestion and pain due to sinusitis, as blockages in the sinus make proper drainage difficult and potentially give rise to other symptoms of sinusitis.

However, if your face feels too tender for this massage technique, there is a point located on the hand that directly aids issues of the face and forehead, including headaches. This acupuncture point is located in the middle of the fleshy mound found between the base of the thumb and the first finger. Feel free to press here for any discomfort in the face, head or sinuses--whether your symptoms are from sinusitis or another condition.

Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help provide relief from your symptoms!

About the Author:   Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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