As spring rolls around, allergies and hay fever cause problems, and so do lingering strains of colds and flu. Maybe you are one of the 40 million people in North America who are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms from chronic sinusitis?
It translates to a lot of Kleenex, Flonase and Sudafed!
Do you have moving headaches or shocks in your scalp, dental pain or a foul odor that no one else can smell?
Are you experiencing some of these uncomfortable problems:
* Sinus pressure
* Cheek pain
* Eyeball pain
* Pressure behind the eyes
* Puffy eyes
* Nasal dryness
* Stuffed up nose
Today I’m reviewing some popular devices that help with chronic sinusitis:
Neti Pots- There are plastic and porcelain ones, I suggest the porcelain kind. Neti pots and other ‘nose’ devices discussed below are better than oral decongestants like pseudoephedrine because they don’t raise your blood pressure or causes spaciness or insomnia. I’m not a fan of plastic neti pots, the ceramic ones are easier to sterilize with boiling water whenever you want to, and also they have more weight and seem easier to handle. Ceramic is just nicer than plastic, unless you’re traveling and need to stuff it in a suitcase.
But they work superficially, addressing nasal and maxillary sinus problems (around your cheekbones) not those of the ethmoid (near the bridge of your nose) or sphenoid sinuses (behind your eyes). Luckily those conditions are rare, and you’ll need a CT scan of your sinuses to uncover ethmoid or sphenoid sinus problems.
Pro- It’s affordable and readily accessible at health food stores and pharmacies. No set up is required, other than having warm distilled water and special neti salt.
Con- You have to tilt your head in an awkward position and this is problematic if you have neck or back pain. You need to buy distilled water. Please don’t skimp and use tap water because your sinuses are not equipped to defend against pathogens very well. For example, people have died from a brain-eating amoeba found in tap water so use distilled.
Pro-It flushes you out really well, and is more efficient than a neti pot. Many people claim it helped them after years of congestion. It comes with individual packets of salt with baking soda, which is instantly alkalinizing. You control the pressure or “flush” by squeezing the bottle yourself.
Con- You may get a sinus headache afterwards and some people say it causes a sensation similar to the feeling you get when you jump into a pool and water gets up your nose, but this goes away. It’s made of a flimsy plastic container.
Navage Nasal Irrigation- Getting used to this device takes a try or two. It has a “pulling” effect rather than a pushing effect like other devices. It sends water up one nostril and literally suctions it out the other.
Once you get used to the sensation you can reap the benefits.
Pros- It doesn’t require awkward head positions. Some reviews from people online say it changed their life, and helped get them wean off years of nasal sprays and/or steroids.
Cons- You have to buy their proprietary brand of salt pods and the sensation of suction can feel bizarre. You also can’t control or adjust the flow.
This could help you get more comfort if you are dealing with chronic sinus infections, allergies or nasal congestion. Like the other systems, it moisturizes and cleans nasal passages. It has a nice LED display and a fairly large 24-ounce water tank. When you buy the whole system they give you a 30-day supply of their proprietary “SinuAir” saline solution. There is a dual spray and rinse function, pulsating mist spray and pusating and cleansing rinse.
Pros-It’s pretty easy to use, and you can lean forward unlike with a Neti pot. Customer service is pretty good if you have any concerns, and the set-up is simple, you can have it up and running in a few minutes.
Cons- It is electric and ‘noisy’ compared to a Neti pot which is completely silent. It’s more expensive than a Neti pot but more efficient too. This is the strongest of these products and really washes out your sinus cavity, but it does sound like a tiny lawn mower.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.