Sinusitis refers to an inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the paranasal sinuses. If often follows the common cold, influenza and other general infections. Germs which are usually eliminated from body sometimes find their way into these sinuses or chambers on either side of the nasal passage, leading to sinus trouble. The sinuses consist of cavities or chambers contained in the bones situated in the head and face region. The frontal ,maxillary, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses are the paranasal sinuses which communicate with the nose. The frontal sinuses lie on the frontal bone directly above the eyes. The maxillary sinuses are located one on each side of the nose under the cheekbone. The ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses are situated behind the nose or either sideof it. These air sinuses lighten the weight of the skull and give resonance to the voice.
Th symptoms of sinusitis are excessive or constant sneezing, a running nose, blockage of one or both nostrils, headaches and pressure around the head, eyes and face. Sinus headaches are usually felt in the forehead and in the face just below the eyes. The patient may suffer from a low grade fever, lack of appetite, loss of sense of appetite, and toothache. He feels miserable because of difficulty in breathing. The voice is also affected because of the blocked nose.
Sinusitis results from the congestion of the sinus passages due to catarrh. It is caused by over-secretion of mucus in the membranes lining the nose, throat and head. This over-secretion is due to irritation caused by toxins in the blood. A faulty diet is thus the real cause of sinus trouble. When a person consumes certain types of foods or drinks regularly, these, in due course, have a conditioning effect on the entire system. As a result,some persons become more sensitive to certain allergens, whose reaction ultimately turns into sinusitis.
Correcting the faulty diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of sinusitis. Patients should take a balanced diet. Most persons with sinus trouble also suffer from acidity. Their diet should, therefore, veer to the alkaline side. The intake of salt should be reduced to the minimum as salt leads to accumulation of water in the tissues and expels calcium from the body. In the acute stage of the disease, when fever is present, the patient should abstain from all solid foods and only drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices diluted with water on a 50 : 50 basis. After fever subsides, he may adopt a low-calorie raw fruit and vegetable diet with plenty of raw juices. After the acute symptoms are over, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of three basic food groups, namely seeds, nuts and grains ; vegetables and fruits. IN persistent chronic conditions, repeated short juice fasts may be undertaken for a week or so at intervals of two months. Those suffering from sinusitis should completely avoid fried and starchy foods, white sugar, white flour, rice, macaroni products, pies, cakes and candies.
They should also avoid strong spices, meat and products. Butter and ghee should be used sparingly. Honey should be used for sweetening. All cooked foods should be freshly prepared for each meal. Vegetables should be taken in liberal quantities. All kinds of fruits can be taken with the exception of those belonging to citrus group such as lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. Milk should be taken in liberal quantities as it contains calcium which has a marked effect in overcoming inflammation of the tissues. A diet rich in vitamin A is the best insurance against cold and sinus trouble. Vitamin A is the "membrane conditioner" as it helps build healthy mucus membranes in the head and throat. Some of the valuable sources of this vitamin are whole milk, curds, egg yolk, pumpkin, carrot, leafy vegetables, tomato, oranges, mango and papaya. When the sinus trouble has already developed, relief can be obtained by taking vitamin A in large therapeutic doses of 25,000 I.U. per day.
Vitamin C has also proved beneficial in the treatment of sinusitis and the patient should take one gram of this vitamin per day in two therapeutic doses of 500 mg. each. One of the most effective remedies for sinus problems is to eat pungent herbs like garlic and onion which tend to break up mucous congestion all through the respiratory tract. One should begin with small mild doses and increase them gradually. Beneficial results can also be achieved by adding these herbs in moderate amounts to regular meals. Carrot juice used seperately or in combination with juices of beet and cucumber or with spinach juice is highly beneficial in the treatment of sinus trouble. 100 ml. each of beet and cucumber juice or 200 ml. of spinach juice should be mixed with 300 ml. of carrot juice in these combinations.
Cold application over the sinus will give great relief ; alternate hot and cold applications will also prove beneficial. Take pans of hot and cold water, bathe the whole face with hot water - as hot as you can bear - and then apply cold water for short duration. Nasal inhalation of steam for five minutes every hour will also give relief. Yogasanas such as viparitkarani, bhujangasana, yogamudra and shavasana, yogic kriyas , such as jalneti and sutraneti and pranayamas like anuloma-viloa and suryabhedan will be beneficial in the treatment of sinus trouble. Plenty of sleep, adequate rest and fresh air are essential in the treatment of sinus trouble. Patients should avoid the use of perfumes and strongly scented hair oil.