The Sinus Cavity
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we did not have sinus problems to be concerned about? But, what are those hollow places in the facial bones and skull good for, anyway--besides creating all that watery, thick stuff? Do we really need the sinuses that much? If you struggle with sinus problems, like excess mucus, green snot, allergy and its clear mucus--actually histamine--,sinus pressure, sinus drainage, etc., you do well in getting to know how your sinuses function.
Let's now take a close look at the sinus cavity:
Functions of the sinuses
- reduce the weight of the skull and insulate it
- add resonance to the voice
- serve as a "crumple zone" protecting the eyes and brain
- warm and humidify the air passing through the nose
There are four pairs of sinuses
Their names are:
the frontal sinuses--over the eyes in the forehead
the ethmoid sinuses--between the eyes and are like a honeycomb
the maxillary sinuses--below the eyes in the cheekbones
the sphenoid sinuses--near the center of the head
Description of the sinus cavity
They are lined with a complex mucous membrane called the mucous covered in epithelium; the latter is involved in the absorption and secretion of various substances. This membrane lining swells and thickens when irritated, creating mucus to repel whatever is irritating them, e.g., pollen particles. Which in turn can produce an allergy reaction and pressure in the cavities. All the sinuses have a small opening called ostium, which connects with the nasal cavity. When their lining membrane swells it can block these small openings and stop the flow of and air to and from the nasal cavity, thus creating pressure and pain. Should this condition remain for more than a few days the mucus can stagnate and become a breeding ground for a bacterial infection. When this mucus is eventually released some of it it can appear as green snot. In some cases this type of infection can require an antibiotic to eradicate the culprit germ, otherwise it could spread and infect other respiratory organs in the chest area and in some cases produce phlegm, if the immune system gets overloaded, and can develop into a case of bronchitis. It can all start from a simple cold un cared for, sinus headache, or sinus pressure allowed to continue for several days unattended.
Nasal Cavity and Upper Respiratory Tract
a - vertebrae, b - esophagus, c - trachea
d - cricoid cartilage, e - laryngopharynx, f -
pharynx, g - nasopharynx, k - tongue,
l - hard palate,
o - superior turbinate,
p - middle turbinate, q - inferior turbinate
The nasal and sinus cavity membranes have thousands of very small hairlike organelles called cilia. They are capable of rhythmic beating like oars. And they keep the sinus cavity clear and clean from debris, pollutants such as house dust, excessive drainage. The latter is often caused by an allergic reaction to the environment. On the other hand sinus congestion can take place as mucus secretions accumulate and begin to build pressure. If allowed to continue the mucus can stagnate and cause bad breath and potentially other problems. Should congestion develop into a sinus infection, phlegm could appear in the lower respiratory system and there the cilia would also be there moving this phlegm toward the throat. The sinus cilia beat toward the natural sinus openings, while the nasal cilia beat backward, both at 16 beats per second. Some sinus disease specialists go as far as saying that most sinus problems, including sinus pressure, sinus headache, etc., could be averted if the cilia were working properly. Hence the importance of keeping them healthy, and one way to do this is keeping the nerves serving them unimpeded. When rhinitis, also called hay fever, and sinus pressure are present the cilia's proper functioning helps these ailments. Any OTC medication that would harm or impair the cilia in anyway should be avoided. It becomes then clear that mucus that begins to congest the sinus cavity should not be allowed to develop into a sinus pressure condition thus risking sinusitis.
Sinus and nasal cavities relationship
The eight sinus cavities are arranged as rooms which connect to a central passageway, the nasal cavity. In fact all sinus cavity drain into the latter. Unless mucus and air are constantly moving between them there will be stagnation of the mucus and potential sinus disease the making. The best way to keep those two elements flowing is by: keeping the cilia doing its work unobstructed, drinking plenty of fluids, using a nasal rinse, whenever deemed necessary, and avoiding such conditions as sinus pressure, drainage, sinusitis, colds, etc. The symptoms of rhinitis can be better handled when the nasal cavity and passages are kept clear and the cilia working properly.
Keeping the sinus cavity healthy
It becomes obvious that a person should make sure that air and mucus are constantly flowing, unobstructed, between the nasal and sinus cavity. Chronic sinus pressure should be promptly cared for. This is a "must" for sinus health and the prevention of sinus infection symptoms such as coughing yellow mucus. To help achieve this, sinus acupressure, also known as sinus pressure points, is very valuable. It is easy to learn and to apply. "Three Steps to Sinus and Mucus Relief" being offered at the end of this page has a chapter on sinus acupressure. The illustrations in this publication pinpoint the sinus acupressure points with explanations, which can often bring sinus pressure relief when implemented. Herbal teas from echinacea and astragalus can help prevent sinus infection. Knowing the sinus pressure symptoms could help prevent also many a sinus infection, PND, excessive drainage, etc., when acted upon promptly. To relieve sinus pressure soon is basic in sinus health care. Sometimes dry mucus and contaminants accumulate in the nasal cavity and it can become a real problem. One must always keep in mind that wrong foods can be a source of sinus problems or exacerbate existing ones.
When the air is too dry and the sinus cavity membrane do not receive enough moisture they swell and can prevent mucus form flowing freely and create sinus pressure. Should this be allowed to exist for very long it could cause some of the sinus problems already mentioned, above. For this reason when the air is very dry it is advantageous, especially at night, to keep a cool steam humidifier going to help maintain the sinuses clear and properly moist, thus helping to avoid sinus pressure and other sinus issues. It should be noted that rhinitis also produces a swelling of the nasal cavity membrane, but for a different reason, and therefore it may not be helped by additional air moisture. Yellow mucus coughed is sometimes caused by dry air. Knowing a technique to quickly relieve common sinus pressure can be very helpful in keeping your sinuses healthy. It should be recognized that rhinitis, although not ordinarily a serious condition, it can be the cause of a nasal or sinus infection--if the irritation of the cavities membranes produced by viruses or other contaminants is left unattended there can develop a need for excessive mucus treatment.
When pollens, house dust, smog and other air pollutants in the environment or colds and flu can cause sinus irritation, drainage, especially when sinus pressure and allergies are involved. it is good to seek the advise of a physician if the irritation causes constant sinus infections, pressure, phlegm, or drainage. If it is determined that the cause of the problem is allergies, for example to house dust, consideration can be given to receiving regular allergy injections, after the necessary allergy tests are made. Whenever a person experiences recurring bouts with sinus irritation, a symptom of which can be sinus drainage, she/he could consider fasting. It gives the immune system a much needed boost by having the body concentrate its vital energies in the immune system. Also the food we eat can affect the health of the sinuses, since some foods cause mucus. It always pays to care for our sinus cavities by keeping them healthy, and preventing some conditions like sinus pressure can help a great deal in this respect. Knowing the meaning of the color of mucus can help to detect a sinus condition early on and thus be able to nip it in the bud.
One natural remedy to keep the sinuses clear--and avoid sinus pressure--that has proven beneficial in many cases is a sinus rinse. It can be purchased as an OTC remedy at any pharmacy. For those interested in a more effective, thorough rinse the Sinupulse can be the answer. For more information click here. Then there herbs that can also help clear congestion one of them is thyme used as a potion. Food, however, can play a major role in the cavity's health.
The membrane covering the sinus cavity should receive its full share of nerve energy to be able to function properly. Because of this the spinal cord should in no way be impeded in carrying this vital energy. This means that some specific bones running parallel to the spinal cord should be properly aligned to avoid exerting pressure on the latter. This proper alignment would contribute, in some cases, to the sinus cavities health, help to eliminate sinus pressure, etc. See below: