Monday, August 26, 2013

Passive Aggressive Public Service Announcement

This information cost me and my insurance company about ten thousand dollars in services and testing. So I am going to share it with everyone.

How to Treat Clogged Sinuses

This is a pretty fun pic.   It shows how the maxillary sinus drains at the top.
What usually happens is that little duct section swells and backs up the whole thing. But since it's off on a branch it doesn't block the air passage. Your whole sinus can be full and you can still breathe through your nose.
This is what nobody tells you-
Using saline will just flow right past the blockage, or often fills up the sinus even more.
But inhaling Afrin into the sinuses dries out the tissues which facilitates reinfection.
The proper method involves both.

If you squirt a little Afrin up high into the nostril or put it on a q-tip and stick it up there, and breathe gently rather than snort it- you can get it right on that duct. Wait ten or fifteen minutes- it will shrink and then you can rinse out the sinus.
Put a few squirts of saline up there, tip your head different directions, including bending over, and blow it all out. The salt water will loosen the biofilm. Rinse repeat. (works way better in the shower.)  Then breathe quickly in and out of your nose to dry it and check for remaining debris.

Blowing your nose removes mucous from your sinuses, but deposits it in your nostrils.
And every time the mucous dries and cracks the skin, the infection starts over.
There are also pockets in there that collect mucous, and perpetuate the immune respone.  Swells the tissues, especially in the bulby end.

After rinsing your sinuses, put some saline on a q-tip and wash out your nostrils too.
If you still have drying problems after that, put some olive oil on a q-tip and wipe that up there.   Moisturizes the tissues and soothes the nerve.  Very nice.

Proper periodontal care is also crucial.   Your upper teeth and nose share the same nerves.
This is what happened to me-  a bad tooth tweaked the nerve, which closed the duct, which backed up the sinus and my whole face was affected and it took me months to sort it all out.

Seriously- I went to four ENT's to learn this.  The first three gave me MRI's and offered me surgery.   The last one was retiring and actually had no computer and looked in my nose (with a regular not camera scope). immediately found the lesion , and gave me a photocopied sheet of paper with nose cleaning instructions.
She was so old-school she recommended a rubber bulb and cooking your own salt water, but saline is cheap.

Way cheaper than MRI's.

Update:  please use saline without benzalkonium chloride.

For the record-  I snored from the time I was an infant until I was 50.  That's the reason I went to ENTs and why they wanted to cut out my swollen turbinate tissue.
Once I started doing this-  I was able to sleep with my mouth closed.  I still marvel every day.

Edit #3:  here's a fun video about sinus anatomy... heh.