So many people that I speak to have ongoing Sinusitis & Headache issues and don’t know where to start to get rid of these issues for good. If this is you, you need to read this article!
Sinusitis and Headaches are significant issues affecting the quality of life of millions of people in Australia!
So many people suffering from Headaches, Migraines and Sinusitis have no idea how to effectively deal with the underlying causative factors.
When these conditions are not managed effectively:
- Symptoms get more intense and more frequent over time.
- The situation becomes more difficult to manage and requires more treatment to resolve – severe cases require ongoing management to simply keep symptoms at bay.
- Can often lead to the development of other health issues including Anxiety & Depression
- Not only are these conditions painful but they become disabling leading to an inability to undertake normal day to day tasks including work, social outings & family activities. These are significant financial and quality of life costs
To help explain how this happens, I will go over each of these conditions one by one:
Sinusitis is inflammation of the ‘sinus cavities’- the spaces in the front of our skulls. This typically develops after an acute upper respiratory tract infection such as the common cold.
As the viral infection spreads, swelling and mucous congestion develops in the sinus cavities to the point that the drainage channels become blocked. Continued mucous congestion leads to pressure development and the symptoms of sinusitis which may include:
- Blocked nose
- Inability to smell/taste
- Inability to breathe through the nose
- Facial & Ear Pain
- Upper jaw/dental pain
- Nasal Discharge
- Fever & Fatigue
If Acute Sinusitis is not dealt with appropriately to effectively relieve the congestion, then this may eventually develop into Chronic Sinusitis which is more resistant to treatment and contributes to the development of Headaches, Vision Problems, Vertigo, Asthma & other Infections that further complicate the situation.
Tension Type Headaches
Tension Type Headaches are the most common type of headache, and as the name suggests is typically associated with emotional distress or muscular tension and inflammation of tissues in the neck.
Many who suffer from Tension Headaches & Migraine do not receive effective care, with up to 2/3 of cases not being correctly diagnosed and most relying solely on over the counter medications that provide symptomatic relief at best. The effective treatment of headaches requires that the condition must be accurately diagnosed, and appropriate treatment delivered including therapy, lifestyle modification and patient education.
If not effectively managed, the symptoms of Tension Type Headaches will develop and include:
- Pain at the back, sides or front of the head that is described as pressure or tightness spreading into or from the neck
- Can last from 30 minutes to a week at a time
- Fatigue and decreased mental focus
If the underlying causative factors of Tension Type Headaches are not effectively managed, the condition can develop into Chronic Tension Type Headaches and Migraines which are more challenging to treat. Chronic Tension Type Headaches are also more likely to have significant impact on working capacity and lifestyle activities including social outings and physical exercise regime.
Migraines are a common, disabling type of headache disorder that more often affects women especially between the ages of 35 to 45 years old. Migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory chemicals surrounding the nerves and blood vessels of the head.
Migraines can be recurrent and often life-long if not managed effectively and include the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe one-sided headache that is pulsating in quality and due to severity can be disabling
- Aggravated by physical activities and can last for 2-3 days at a time
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Extreme light and sound sensitivity, visual disturbances
Due to the intensity of pain experienced amongst Migraine sufferers, medications are a common method to deal with the pain. Due to this, conditions such as Medication Overuse Headaches are common for Migraine sufferers. This is where medications stop relieving pain and begin to cause headaches, which can lead to using more pain medication and continuing the cycle.
Fundamental Lifestyle Modifications For Lasting Results
Our lifestyles can have a substantial impact and even contribute to the development of many Headaches, Migraines and Sinus issues. Fortunately, with focused effort and planning, we can also make changes to our lifestyle to improve symptoms associated with these conditions for long term benefit!
Common lifestyle modifications include:
- Drinking more water, at least 2L/day
- Ensuring that you get quality sleep at similar times each day for at least 6hrs/night
- Exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week to help reduce frequency or severity of headaches and migraines
- Eating regular meals, not skipping meals, and eating a healthy breakfast
- Reduce stress by avoiding conflicts and resolving disputes calmly
- Avoiding known triggers such as bright lights, odours/pollen, certain foods, over-exertion and physical injuries
Natural Treatments For Headaches & Sinus Issues
Interestingly, despite many people first reaching for pain relief medications for these health complaints, significant studies show that natural treatment methods are more effective in managing pain and providing more long-lasting results for both Sinusitis and Tension Type Headaches.
Some of the treatment methods that we make use of at our clinic to help with these conditions include:
Acupuncture is a powerful treatment technique involving the insertion of super fine needles at specific points in the body to cause a flood of changes to improve overall health.
Specifically for Headaches, significant research shows that Acupuncture has been shown to decrease headache frequency and severity. In the management of headaches, Studies have shown that Acupuncture reduces the need for medication, improves relaxation, promotes the release of endogenous opioids (our body’s natural painkillers) and reduces muscular tension in the neck/back commonly associated with headaches.
When it comes to Migraines, research shows that Acupuncture is more effective than medications, while also reducing the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines.
For Sinusitis, studies show that when compared with anti-histamine medications, Acupuncture has similar effects and also can last for up to 10 weeks after treatment which is a much better long-term solution with very few side effects.
Manual Therapies include treatment therapies such as Remedial Massage, Trigger Point therapy and Cupping therapy that are used to physically manipulate the body in order to create a therapeutic benefit.
It has been shown that time and time again in systematic reviews of scientific research, that Manual Therapies when appropriately applied significantly decrease headache intensity and matches the efficacy of medication including prophylactics and tri-cyclic anti-depressants when it comes to treating tension type headaches.
When it comes to Sinusitis, Manual Therapies such as Cupping have been shown in studies to be superior to medications when it comes to reducing the symptoms frequency, severity, duration and use of medication.
Getting Your Health Back On Track
For all these types of Headache and Sinus issues, it’s important to work with a healthcare professional that is familiar with both diagnosing the causative factors of Headaches, Migraines and Sinusitis but also has the qualifications and skillset necessary to effectively deal with this so that:
- You will see a decrease in the frequency and intensity of your pain
- The issue becomes simpler, requiring less treatment over time
- Your overall state of health improves as you can engage in lifestyle modifications to help you manage your own health
- You no longer have pain and can enjoy the freedom to choose your own work/life balance, including what social outings and family activities you want to partake in. All in all, this leads to an improved quality of life with reduced financial burdens!
If you relate to the above, then you will be glad to know that we deal with these types of health issues on a regular basis and our process is straight forward, involving natural treatment methods that get results both fast and for the long-term.
Sinusitis and Headache issues are extremely common and, in our experience, most people who suffer from them aren’t aware of how to effectively deal with these issues. When appropriate steps are taken, not only are Sinusitis and Headache issues able to be dealt with symptomatically, but they can also be prevented or in the least have the symptoms reduced in intensity and frequency to improve overall health.
In order to achieve the best outcomes for your health, as always, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional. In many cases, there may be multiple issues contributing to your headaches and sinus issues – your healthcare professional is the best person to effectively assess and advise the most appropriate course of action for your situation.
I hope that helps shed some light on the topic! If you would like to learn if we can help you, please call our friendly team on (02) 4709 6727.