According to the National Institute of Health, 32 million cases of chronic sinusitis are reported every year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans spend about $5.8 billion a year for health care costs related to sinusitis. Sinuses are hollow spaces, or cavities, located around your eyes, cheeks, and nose. These cavities are lined by a mucous membrane filled with air and are connected to the nasal cavity. Their purpose is to lighten the anterior portion of the skull and act as chambers that add resonance to the voice. Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose and sinuses. Chronic sinusitis is difficult to treat and responds more slowly to antibiotics and at times, may not respond at all.

The sinuses are located in four places, frontal sinuses over the eyes in the brow area, maxillary sinuses inside each cheekbone, ethmoid sinuses just behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes, and sphenoid sinuses behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes. Normally, the sinuses are filled with air, but when it gets blocked, the sinuses are filled with fluid and the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the nose becomes inflamed, blocking the drainage of fluid from the sinuses into the nose and throat. This blockage gives the bacteria an opportunity to grow in the sinuses, which results in an infection and the mucus cannot drain itself from the sinuses. Any condition that obstructs sinus drainage can cause sinusitis.

There are two kinds of sinusitis, acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than three weeks and majority of the people who develop acute sinusitis are able to cure themselves without antibiotics. Chronic sinusitis lasts about three to eight weeks and is very difficult to treat. Some factors that may cause chronic sinusitis are upper respiratory tract infections, allergies, smoking, air pollution, asthma, acute sinusitis, and viral infections, including colds. Bacteria and fungi are more likely to grow and become infected in sinuses that are blocked. Any of the previously mentioned causes of chronic sinusitis may encourage the growth of the bacteria, because all of them block the sinuses and nasal passages.

The blocked sinuses and nasal passages give rise to symptoms similar to a cold. Pain is also associated with chronic sinusitis. Some of the symptoms of chronic sinusitis are runny or stuffy nose, facial pain and pressure, headaches, cough, cough that produces mucus, fever, tooth pain, and congestion. Each of the four sinuses, frontal, maxillary, ethmoid, and sphenoid also have their own specific symptoms if affected. For example, if there is pain when your forehead is touched over your frontal sinus location, then that means that your frontal sinuses are inflamed. Pain in your upper jaw and toothaches is a result of an infection and inflammation in the maxillary sinuses. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis can last 3 to 8 weeks or even longer. The symptoms rarely ever disappear completely due to its severity. Those who suffer from chronic sinusitis always have a low level of sinusitis symptoms, such as headaches, colds, and congestions, which will follow you around in day-to-day activity.

Prevention of chronic sinusitis would be the key to avoid suffering. The National Institute of Health says, “You cannot prevent all sinus disorders—any more than you can avoid all colds or bacterial infections.” However, from the Vedic Health perspective, sinus infections are completely preventable and so are colds. Ayurveda has the ability to not only prevent, but also cure all sinus disorders. Some of the preventative measures that can be taken are avoid breathing dry air, avoid being around anything that you are allergic to, avoid smoking, treat colds and other nasal congestions quickly, and drinking plenty of fluids. Although these preventative measures are not 100% effective, they may reduce the number of sinus attacks within a year or help relieve some sinusitis symptoms. Furthermore, those who are more prone to sinus congestions should avoid heavy, cold, and sticky foods. These food qualities are more likely to create blockage and cause sinus infections.

Western medicine is not able to find an instant relief and cure, without side effects, for chronic sinusitis. According to Ayurveda, all illnesses within the human physiology occur when an imbalance arises in the physiology. Diet and routine alone can prevent and heal sinusitis. Furthermore, with a strong immune system, all illnesses can be avoided, because the inner intelligence of the body will be lively enough to fight off all illnesses before it manifests.

Due to the fact that western medicine is not able to help relieve symptoms of chronic sinusitis, Ayurveda can reinforce the body’s own inner intelligence and a strong immune system through diet, sleep, daily routine, and herbal preparations. All in all, a strong immune system means no chronic sinusitis.