This month our topic is sinusitis. My husband had it recently, and it was a good reminder of how absolutely crappy it is.

The sinuses are air-filled cavities inside the skull. Various theories on their function include: that they help warm and moisturise air before it reaches the lungs, that they make our heads lighter, that they help with voice resonance and that they serve an immune function.

Amazing isn’t it, how much there is still to learn about the human body?! Our sinuses can become inflamed for many reasons, including from allergies or infections. As well as pain over the affected sinus, symptoms can include headache, runny nose, and sometimes a sore throat and a cough.

Because of a shared nerve supply, infection of the maxillary sinuses (the ones either side of the nose) can also present as toothache. If it’s an infection, in most cases the cause is viral, which mean antibiotics often aren’t helpful.

Osteopathy can’t fix sinusitis, but we can often assist with managing the symptoms that come about because of congestion and pressure. Something as simple as massage techniques to the face can help. As osteos, of course we can do a lot more than that – we make sure your neck and upper chest are moving well, we can teach you some breathing techniques, we can do some dry needling.

Osteopaths always ask the question – why? Why does this particular person get sinus? If it’s always on one side – why? Is that sinus not draining well for some reason?

When my husband woke up on a recent Sunday with sinusitis, it was after he’d had a cold for a couple of days prior. I gave him a treatment which focused on loosening up his upper neck, and lots of sinus drainage techniques. It wasn’t a miraculous cure, but he went from being in bed feeling awful, to being up and about. The sinus congestion and associated pain settled down significantly for him.

So, if you suffer with sinus, especially if you’re a chronic sufferer, keep osteopathy in mind. It’s not a cure, but by addressing the congestion and pressure of the sinuses with manual therapy, we should be able to reduce your symptoms and help you get through it.