I found a follow-up study on this procedure that revealed only 50% of patients who went through the operation would do it over again. This didn't seem to me to be a resounding success story. To make matters worse, I read plenty of horror stories online about botched operations. So I elected to manage the symptoms by myself without surgery.
My treatment plan consists of two parts. Firstly, kill off the infection by steam inhalation using essential oils. Secondly, to prevent recurrence, build up the immune system and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Please don't expect any quick fixes. It's hard work; almost a full time job to get rid of the infection initially. You'll need to be determined and persistent to succeed.
If you can only do some of the things in this plan, then opt for steam inhalation with essential oils, leaving the window open at night and daily walks incorporating the Buteyko method. These are by far the most effective treatments for chronic sinusitis in my experience. But every part of the treatment plan below helps.
|Steam Inhalation with Essential Oils |
Use a few drops of Tea Tree Oil, Olbas Oil and Oil of Oregano in a bowl of boiling water, cover your head and inhale for 5-10 minutes. Keep tissues handy. You'll need to do this 2-3 times a day for 2-3 weeks until nothing more comes out and you can inhale clearly.
CAUTION: Wait 2-3 minutes after the water has boiled to prevent burning the inside of your nose with hot steam.
|Daily Walks |
Get out and get some fresh air, away from traffic. 30 minutes minimum, ideally 1 hour. The longer the better really. While you're walking, practice the Buteyko method. (see below)
|The Buteyko Method |
This breathing technique helps to open the airways and is officially approved by the Ministry of Health in Russia to treat asthma. You can learn more about it here http://www.normalbreathing.com.
Sleep with the window ajar so you get fresh air all night. Depending upon your breathing difficulties, sleeping on one side may also be beneficial.
Slow down, get to bed early. Reduce and/or avoid the causes of stress. This enables body to beat the infection.
|Inclined Bed |
Consider a sloped or inclined bed. It supposedly has many health benefits. However, the main benefit for chronic sinusitis sufferers is that it makes it easier to breathe at night.
|Regular Warm Showers |
The steam helps to clear out the sinus passages.
|Regular House Cleaning |
Dust and vacuum your house regularly, use hypo-allergenic vacuum cleaner bags, wash everything at 60°C to kill dust mites.
|Zinc and Vitamin C Supplements |
Take regularly to build up immune system to avoid colds/flu. Vitamin C is also an antihistamine.
|Raw Onions, Hot Chilli Peppers and Ginger |
Nibble on these foods when you feel blocked indoors. They're natural antihistamines and will unblock the sinuses.
|Warm Garlic Oil |
Lying down, pour warmed garlic oil into the affected ear. This can help to prevent or eliminate ear infections. Warmed heat pads placed on a sore ear can also help to relieve the pain.
For the steam inhalation treatment to be effective, you must buy good quality essential oils with strong antibacterial properties. Go for the original brands (see photo above). They're more expensive, but you'll get good results. Don't waste your time steaming with cheap imitation oils; they're a gamble that won't pay off.
|Tea Tree Oil||Thursday Plantation (Australia)|
|Oil of Oregano||Zane Hellas (Greece), or Enerex (Canada)|
Antibiotics and nasal steroids do work well initially, but with use over the longer term, their effectiveness soon reduces and they become useless. I certainly didn't want to become dependent upon these drugs, so I did some research to find natural alternatives. Vitamin C, raw onions, garlic and hot chilli peppers are your natural substitutes. Get organic if you can as they are more powerful.
Everybody, including the ENT specialist, told me that nasal rinses were the way to go. I duly purchased the NeilMed nasal rinse kit and started treatment. It seemed to work. There was a lot of gunk coming out of my nose and my breathing cleared for a few hours. The trouble was, there was no end to it. Every day, the same routine with no reduction in the amount of mucus or gunk produced. After about 2 months, I stopped, realising that this treatment was futile.
While nasal rinsing gives immediate relief, in the long term, it exacerbates any sinus problem. I concluded that the mucus is there for a reason; to trap and kill bacteria. When you wash it all away with a saline solution, the bacteria and/or allergens get a free pass into to your nose. Then the cycle repeats ad-infinitum.
When you have a sinus infection, you tend to blow your nose a lot. This puts a lot of stress on it and it can end up getting rather sore and red. If some blood comes out, this may be a sign that you're blowing too hard and that you've damaged the sensitive nasal lining inside your nose. But there's another way! I know this sounds disgusting, but you're much better off snorting and then spiting or swallowing rather than blowing your nose. It's very effective at clearing the nasal passages and you won't damage your nose.