By Dana Ullman MPH, CCH
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Imagine a type of torture where there is great pain in what seems to be the very center of your skull, when facial tenderness and pain is experienced by simple touch, where eyes ache and feel like they are coming out of their sockets, and where there’s pain in the teeth and even a sensation as though the teeth are too long. Many people today feel this type of torture too frequently because these people suffer from chronic sinusitis.
There are eight sinuses, or air-filled cavities, in the skull. These sinuses lie behind the eyes, the nose, and fore head. Each sinus is connected by a nasal passage in order to drain mucus and aid air exchange.
Sinusitis is most often the revenge of a lingering cold or allergy, which can impede proper nasal drainage. This congestion becomes a breeding ground for infection which then causes the lining in the sinuses to become inflamed and swollen. Other problems that can create congestion leading to sinusitis are polyps, a deviated septum, large or inflamed adenoids, an ab scessed or inflamed tooth, or a change in air pressure from flying or swimming.
Sinusitis can create its own revenge too. Unless it is successfully treated, it can sometimes lead to ear infections, bronchitis, or pneumonia.
The conventional medical treatment for chronic sinusitis primarily is antibiotics and surgery, the big guns of the medical arsenal. Expectorants, decongestants, analgesics, antitussives, irrigation, and cortisone nasal sprays can also be used. The fact that about one in seven Americans suffer from chronic sinu sitis suggests that these conventional treatments are not very effective. They are at best palliative, except in a small number of cases of obstructive chronic sinusitis which modern surgery can now correct. These are the relatively rare obstructive cases are usually caused by a deviated septum, a polyp, or a cyst.
Is there an alternative to this “skullduggery?” Absolutely. The Homeopathic Alternative Homeopathy is a natural medical system that utilizes ex tremely small doses of substances from the plant, mineral, or animal kingdom to augment a person’s natural defenses. Rather than inhibiting or suppressing symptoms, homeopathic medicines are prescribed for their unique ability to cause, when given in overdose, the similar symptoms that the sick person is experienc ing.
Homeopaths, like modern-day physiologists, recognize that symptoms represent defenses of the body to infection or stress. Therefore, instead of suppressing symptoms with conventional medications, homeopathic remedies are individually prescribed based on their capacity to mimic the symptoms the sick person is experiencing. Ultimately, these natural medicines strengthen the person’s own defenses enabling them to regain health more rapid ly.
Homeopathic medicines are considerably safer than conven tional drugs. Although there has not yet been any formal con trolled studies testing the use of homeopathic medicines to treat sinusitis, there is 200 years of successful and safe clinical experience in treating people suffering from this condition. A recent review of 89 double-blind, randomized clinical studies testing homeopathic medicines was published in The Lancet (Sep tember 20, 1997), and it showed that homeopathic medicines were 2.45 times more effective than placebo.
Homeopathic medicines are often effective in treating the acute symptoms of sinusitis, although professional “constitution al care” is usually necessary to cure chronic sinusitis. Consti tutional care refers to individualized treatment of a person’s entire health, physical and psychological, past and present. This professional homeopathic treatment can lead to a significant reduction in the frequency and intensity of acute sinusitis attacks and can often even lead to a total elimination of their occurance.
If one does not have access to professional homeopathic care or one simply seeks to empower themselves with self-treatment, the following remedies are quite effective in treating acute sinusitis. Please note that although several of these remedies are known poisons, they are sold only in such high dilutions that they are known to be non-toxic.
Arsenicum (arsenic): People who need this remedy feel throbbing and burning pains in the sinuses. Their pains are aggravated by light, noise, movement, after midnight, and may be triggered by anxiety, exertion, and excitability. They may feel relief by lying quietly in a dark room with the head raised on pillows and exposed to cool air. Their teeth may feel long and painful. They may feel nausea and experience vomiting concurrent with their sinusitis. They tend to have a great thirst, but they tend to drink frequent sips, rather than gulps.
Belladonna (deadly nightshade): This remedy is effective for people whose head feels full, as if it could burst. The pain usually resides in the forehead or around the eyes. There is throbbing pain that is worse by jarring, touch, bending forward, lying flat, or motion of the eyes and is relieved by gradually applied pressure, sitting up, or bending the head backwards. Another characteristic symptoms of people who need this remedy is when the sinus pain appear strongly and rapidly but then disap pears temporarily, only to repeat the process of coming and going pain. The eyes are also sensitive to light and the face is flushed. They are apt to feel dizzy which becomes worse when stooping.
Hepar sulphur (Hahnemann’s calcium sulphide): Rarely indicated at the beginning of a sinusitis condition, people who need Hepar sulphur begin sneezing and then develop sinusitis from the least exposure to cold air. Their nasal discharge is thick and yellow. The nostrils become very sore from the acrid discharge, and their nasal passages become sensitive to cold air. Concurrently, they may have a headache with a sense of a nail or a plug that is thrust into the head along with a boring or bursting pain. Their headache above the nose is worse from shaking the head, motion, riding in a car, stooping, moving the eyes, or simply from the weight of a hat, but is relieved by the firm pressure of a tight bandage. The scalp is so sensitive that simply combing the hair may be painful.
Kali bichromicum (potassium bichromate): The distinguishing feature of people with sinusitis who need this medicine is that they have a thick, stringy nasal discharge. They have extreme pain at the root of the nose that is better by applying pressure there. The bones and scalp feel sore. Dizziness and nausea when rising from sitting and the severe pain may lead to dimmed vi sion. The pains are worse by cold, light, noise, walking, stoop ing, and in the morning (especially on waking or at 9 am) or at night. They prefer to lie down in a darkened room and feel better by warmth, warm drinks, or overeating.
Mercurius (mercury): People who will benefit from this remedy feel as though their head was in a vise. The pains are worse in open air, from sleeping, and after eating and drinking. The pains are also aggragravated by extremes of hot and cold temperature. The scalp and the nose become very sensitive to the touch. Their teeth feel long and painful, and they may salivate exces sively. The nasal discharge is usually green and too thick to run. It is offensive smelling and acrid.
Pulsatilla (windflower): When the head pain is worse when lying down and in a warm room and is better in cool air, this medicine should be considered. The sinusitis may begin after being over heated. Stooping, sitting, rising from lying down, and eating can aggravate the head pain, which is often in the front part of the head and accompanied with digestive problems. They get some relief from slow walking in the open air or by wrapping the head tightly in a bandage. This condition is commonly experienced when the child is in school or the adult is at work. The nasal discharge is often thick and yellow or green.
Spigella (pinkroot): People who develop sinusitis with a sharp pain that is worse on the left side may need this medicine. They tend to get sinusitis after exposure to cold or cold, wet weath er. They feel pain from warmth or when they stoop or bend the head forward, and they feel some relief by cold applications or from washing with cold water.
DOSAGE: Take a dose of the 6th or 30th potency every two hours during intense symptoms and every four hours during mild symp toms. Some type of relief is commonly observed after one dose. Consider changing homeopathic remedies if observable benefit is not attained within 24 hours.
Homeopathic Combination Remedies
In addition to the remedies listed in this article, sinusi tis sufferers can also obtain benefit from using one of the numerous homeopathic formula products which are available in most health food stores and an increasing number of pharmacies. Homeopathic formula products are mixtures of many of the above described remedies. These products may be useful when you don’t know which individual remedy you need or if that individual remedy isn’t immediately available.
Although sinusitis sufferers may feel like hiring a plumber to unplug their nose and drain their head, homeopathic medicines provide a basically safe and often effective alternative.