When To Visit An Ent
You may opt to visit an ENT if your sinus infection symptoms last more than one month. However, when a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics lasts more than 12 weeks, its definitely time to see a specialist.
If your doctor has treated you with antibiotics, saline, steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants and youre still not better, youve entered into a confusing area. You need a thorough exam of your sinus pathways with a fiberoptic scope and a CT scan to properly diagnose the problem.
If at any point youre not sure whats going on and your primary care doctor isnt sure whats causing the symptoms, see an ENT for a more specialized exam.
What Types Of Water Are Safe To Use
- Distilled or sterile water, which you can buy in stores. The label will state distilled or sterile.
- Boiled and cooled tap water boiled for 3 to 5 minutes, then cooled until it is lukewarm. Previously boiled water can be stored in a clean, closed container for use within 24 hours.
- Water passed through a filter designed to trap potentially infectious organisms. CDC has information on selecting these filters.
What Are Sinus Headaches
Real sinus headaches are almost always from a sinus infection. Sinus infections are common with 10% to 30% of the population experiencing at least one sinus infection each year.
Sinus infections are also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. This occurs when the sinus becomes inflamed. Common symptoms include thick nasal mucous, blocked nose and facial pain. Sinus infections may be caused by an infection, allergy or air pollution. Most cases are due to viral infection. Infections are often transmitted through coughing, sneezing, kissing, contact with contaminated surfaces, food or water or contact with infected animals or pets.
To understand how sinus headaches are confused with migraine its important to know what migraine is.
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Small Studies Show Nasal Irrigation Or Rinsing Helps Sinus Health
Unfortunately, as with most alternative treatments, there are not many large, well-done studies of nasal irrigation. Still, those that do exist generally show a benefit.
Researchers examining the available studies, for example, found just one randomized controlled saline-solution trial with 76 adults meeting their strict criteria, according to their review published in April 2016 in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Although even this one study had weaknesses, it did find that after six months, the irrigation group had slightly better results than a control group.
A study by British researchers published in September 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal , also found the method to be effective. More than 800 patients in several physician practices were randomized to use either irrigation, simple steam inhalation treatments, a combination of the two, or neither. Participants did their method daily at home for up to six months. The researchers found patients had more symptoms improve after using the nasal irrigation than the other methods. People who used the irrigation were also able to reduce their use of over-the-counter medicines and didnt need to see their doctor as frequently.
Migraine Vs Sinus Headache
It isnt always easy to tell the difference between a migraine and a headache, much less a sinus headache, but each condition does have its own set of specific symptoms. While some are shared, others are very distinct to the condition. This creates a strong case for keeping a migraine diary and documenting the details of and surrounding your headaches.
According to Dr. Ailani, the symptoms of migraine and sinus headache are similar because of the region of the brain that is activated during an attack:
Migraine can also have associated symptoms, symptoms that come WITH the headache pain that can be confused for a sinus or allergy problem. You can have a runny nose, watery eyes, your eyes can turn red. These symptoms, called autonomic symptoms, come on because of the area in the brain, the hypothalamus, that gets turned on during migraine.
Following this section are common symptoms for migraines as well as sinus migraine, sinus headaches and sinusitis. As you can see, many of them are identical or nearly identical. Its no wonder that patients struggle to describe their head pain and doctors struggle to diagnose it. The problem is, without a proper diagnosis you cant get proper treatment. If you are diagnosed with sinus headaches but you actually have migraines, it could delay your migraine treatment for years.
What Is Acute Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis is a short-term inflammation of the sinuses, most often including a sinus infection. The sinuses are four paired cavities in the head. They are connected by narrow channels. The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose, cleaning the nose. Typically filled with air, the sinuses can become blocked by fluid and swell from irritation. When this happens, they can become infected.
How Do I Prevent Acute Sinusitis
Do not smoke. Smoking is not good for you or for people around you, since this can cause mucous to become clogged in the nose/sinuses. Avoid being around second-hand smoke, as well as other triggers like animal dander, dust, mold and pollen. Take pains to prevent sinus and other infections by:
- Washing your hands well before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
- Staying away from sick people.
- Treating your allergies, possibly with nasal steroid therapy or immunotherapy .
- Keeping your body and your immune system in good shape by eating well and staying hydrated.
- Using a humidifier if your house is dry or an air purifier. Make sure to clean your equipment regularly.
- Irrigating your nose when necessary with a saline rinse.
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Should I Use A Neti Pot Or Other Nasal Irrigation
Many people swear by their neti pots or sinus rinse bottles, crediting them with relieving headaches, snoring, sinus pressure and other issues associated with nasal congestion or thick mucus.
However, while nasal irrigation is a low-risk treatment, its important to know that it can be counterproductive sometimes. The practice isnt a cure-all for every person or every nasal symptom.
What is nasal irrigation?
Different devices can be used for nasal irrigation squeeze bottles, bulb syringes or a teapot-like instrument called a neti pot but they all perform the same basic function. A mixture of water and salt is poured or sprayed into one nostril and flows out the other nostril, then is repeated from the opposite side. Typically, youll lean over a sink, tilting your head sideways and forward so that liquid doesnt reach your throat.
Most devices are sold with pre-mixed packets that you combine with sterilized water, but your doctor can help you find a safe recipe if youd like to make your own saline concoction from scratch.
When and why to use nasal irrigation
When your nose has thick mucus drainage or mucus obstructions
When youre experiencing congestion from obstructed nasal passages or thick mucus, a neti pot or other sinus rinse method can help manage those symptoms, safely clearing the way for easier breathing.
After nasal surgery
When not to use nasal irrigation
If your nose is too dry
If you notice problems with your Eustachian tubes
The bottom line
Sinus Infections Linked To Nasal Washing
Using Tap Water in Neti Pots and Other Devices Tied to Tough-to-Treat Chronic Sinus Infections
Sept. 12, 2012 — First came the FDA warnings about neti pots and brain-eating amoebas. Now doctors say neti pots and other gadgets that rinse the nasal passages could be behind a growing number of chronic sinus infections tied to tough-to-treat mycobacteria.
Many people swear by neti pots, which look a bit like space-age teapots. Theyâre an ancient and drug-free method for rinsing away congestion from colds and allergies, and recently they’ve experienced a resurgence because of celebrity endorsements and media reports.
The trouble starts when the pots are filled with tap water, which can harbor microorganisms. These microorganisms donât normally cause infections in the body, but washing them deep into the sinuses may give them a chance to start growing in places they normally couldnât reach.
In a new study, which is published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, allergy doctors in New York reviewed 10 years of patient records to find people diagnosed with chronic sinus infections. They were looking for patients who also tested positive for rare mycobacteria, which are related to the germs that cause tuberculosis.
Thirty-three people, about 1% of all the patients in the practice who had bacteria cultured from their sinuses, turned up positive for mycobacteria.
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Spice Up Your Diet To Ease Sinus Pressure
“Many people find that spicy food like peppers or hot mustard opens up their nasal passages and gives them some relief from sinus pain. There is good evidence that capsaicin, which is the active ingredient found in chile peppers, is effective in relieving some types of pain,” says Das. Capsaicin preparations have been investigated for the treatment of some facial pain syndromes and of rhinitis with promising results. But if you have the taste for them, you can try spicy foods to help with sinus discomfort.
Safely Use Nasal Irrigation Devices
Second, make sure you follow instructions.
There are various ways to deliver saline to the nose. Nasal spray bottles deliver a fine mist and might be useful for moisturizing dry nasal passages. But irrigation devices are better at flushing the nose and clearing out mucus, allergens and bacteria, Mann says.
Information included with the irrigation device might give more specific instructions about its use and care. These devices all work in basically the same way:
- Leaning over a sink, tilt your head sideways with your forehead and chin roughly level to avoid liquid flowing into your mouth.
- Breathing through your open mouth, insert the spout of the saline-filled container into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
- Clear your nostrils. Then repeat the procedure, tilting your head sideways, on the other side.
Sinus rinsing can remove dust, pollen and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus. It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of sinus infections, allergies, colds and flu. Plain water can irritate your nose. The saline allows the water to pass through delicate nasal membranes with little or no burning or irritation.
And if your immune system isnt working properly, consult your health care provider before using any nasal irrigation systems.
To use and care for your device:
Talk with a health care provider or pharmacist if the instructions on your device do not clearly state how to use it or if you have any questions.
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Irrigate To Relieve Sinus Pressure
“Salt water irrigation is the best way to cleanse the nose and sinuses this can help prevent or relieve sinus pain. You can use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray, but I recommend using a sinus rinse bottle, neti pot, or bulb syringe irrigation kit that you can get at the drugstore,” advises Das.
Try this commonly-used, easy-to-make nasal irrigation solution with your own sinus irrigation kit: Fill a clean 8-ounce glass with distilled or sterilized lukewarm water. Do not use tap water unless it has been boiled for at least 1 minute . Add 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda. And be sure to clean all equipment and make a fresh batch of solution each time you use your kit.
Is There Really A Sinus Migraine
Technically, the answer is no. There are migraines and there are sinus headaches. They are not the same, but some people have coined the phrase sinus migraine to make the distinction that their migraines seem to have a sinus component. They may be familiar enough with migraines that they know the typical symptoms, so they rule it out because their headaches dont fit that mold. The truth is, there are many different types of migraines and headaches and they often have very similar, if not identical, symptoms.
Dr. Ailani explains, Migraine pain can be located in the temples or back of the head, but often is in or around the eye and can, on occasion, be located under the eye, around the nose, and into the jaw. The reason for this is that the nerve that causes facial sensation and sinus sensation and the one that also causes facial and sinus pain, are one and the same, the trigeminal nerve.
She continues, When this nerve is turned on, you can experience pain- which can be all different types such as pulsating, throbbing, pressure, searing, jabbing, tingling, and burning, anywhere in your head and face. This nerve also connects to other nerves at the back of the neck and in the sinuses. When one nerve decides to be turned on, other connected nerves can follow- where there is a party, all like to join in!
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What Is Sinusitis And How Does It Happen
Sinusitis, or sinus inflammation, tend to happen when too much mucus builds up in the cavities behind your face. This causes one or more of these cavities to become swollen or inflamed, and when severe can lead to bacterial infections. In some people, especially those with allergies or asthma, this recurs regularly, leading to constant pressure around the nose, a bad-tasting post-nasal drip, headache, exhaustion, or other symptoms.
Sinusitis from allergies can be treated or prevented with medication, including allergy pills or mucus-thinning drugs. Some people prone to recurrent sinusitis may need surgery with an ear nose throat specialist to fix the architecture of their nose to allow for drainage of their sinuses.
Whether or not you use medicines or have this surgery, sinus irrigation can be beneficial.
Make Your Own Saline Rinse: Combat Sinus Infections
Looking for a natural way to find relief from allergy or sinus infection symptoms? The use of saline irrigations for the nose and sinuses has been shown to be highly effective in improving allergy symptoms and shortening the duration of a sinus infection.
Typically, for allergy sufferers, I recommend irrigating the sinuses once every day to every other day with 8 ounces of salt water. There is data that indicates over irrigating the sinuses can deplete natural immune cells that reside in the mucus of the sinuses. I would not recommend irrigating more than once a day.
The advantages of irrigating includes:
- Keeping the nose clean
- Flushing out irritants out of the nose on a regular basis.
Sinus infections frequently occur when swelling from irritants, allergens, or viruses causes blockage of the opening of the sinuses, thus preventing proper aeration and drainage of the sinuses.
Once a sinus infection occurs, the irrigations can also serve to flush out the pus from inside the sinuses and keep the sinuses open. Typically, during an active sinus infection, I would recommend that the saline concentration of the irrigation be increased one and a half fold if the patient can tolerate it.
Salt itself has a property of preventing bacteria from growing . During an acute sinus infection, rinsing the sinuses 2 to 3 times per day is effective.
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Bad Headache After Sinus Rinse
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Many symptoms of a regular toothache are similar to those of a sinus toothache. NeilMed sinus rinse usually comes in powder form. See your doctor if your dentist doesnt find a dental cause for your toothache. To treat a sinus infection, its important to understand the underlying cause. If home remedies arent effective, prescription medication is an option. It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. The surgeon can widen your sinuses by either: You should be able to have FESS within 18 weeks of your GP appointment. But if that doesnt work, here are six other hacks to try.
Tooth pain is a common symptom of sinusitis.
Pain Talk to your doctor if your sinus congestion or infection persists after treatment or if any of your symptoms worsen. Here’s what left brain vs. right brain means. The congestion and pressure that accompany a sinus infection can cause discomfort or pain in your upper teeth.
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Hot liquids such as soup and tea may be especially soothing.
The pain is usually felt in the upper rear teeth that are closest to the sinuses.
It happens when fluid gets into the sinuses and puts pressure on the upper teeth and jaw.
I Know What It Is Now What
Once you understand the checklist youll have a much better idea of which category you fall into. Of course, youll want to confirm this with your doctor for an official diagnosis. If you think that you are one of the majority and that your sinus headaches are actually migraine then its time to see a headache specialist. The good news is that with good treatment and support from a specialist you can significantly improve your condition.
Many people with headaches and sinus complaints self-treat with over the counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen/paracetamol. In most cases, migraine-specific medication and personalized strategies are far more effective.
A range of treatment options are available depending on the severity and frequency of your headaches.
One of the most effective types of medicinal migraine treatments are called the triptans. Ninety-two percent of people from the SAMS study were candidates for triptans, but only 12% were using them.
Triptans require a doctors prescription and can be very useful if headaches are not very frequent. For more severe and frequently recurring cases there are preventative treatment options which help prevent attacks before they occur. There are medicinal and non medicinal preventives which you should explore with your doctor.
A word of caution: migraine overall is poorly managed.
Many people still havent been diagnosed. Fewer receive quality treatment.
IF YOU HAVE MIGRAINE DO THIS NEXT BEFORE THINGS GET WORSE
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