The sinus cavities that are most prone to infection and inflammation are located between the eyes and on either side of the nose. The prominent symptoms of sinusitis are a purulent nasal discharge from the front and back of the nose and into the throat, a stuffy nose, forehead and facial pain, and a feeling of fuzziness or heaviness of the head. The sinus areas may be tender to the touch. Chronic sinusitis is often caused by repeated infection from the commonly occurring influenza viruses. Some of the problem with this condition is anatomical. The openings into the nasal cavities are narrow, so if there is already inflammation, continued infection and inflammation make the nasal cavities more susceptible to blockage. This results in stagnation of fluids in the nose and sinuses.
Repeated invasions of influenza and the varieties of the common cold denote a weakness in the lung Qi. These infections interfere with the movement of the lung system, which in turn causes the fluids to collect in the sinuses. Acupuncture treatment for sinusitis is based on the presenting symptoms. When symptoms are acute, treatment is based on clearing the phlegm from the nasal cavities and regulating the flow of lung Qi. If the phlegm is yellow or green this indicates heat or infection, and points are selected to help the body clear this heat. An herbal prescription may also be necessary.
Diet can be a contributing factor in the development of chronic sinusitis. During non-attack periods or when symptoms are mild, treatment is directed at building lung energy to prevent the invasion of pathogens (viruses). Part of the acupuncture point prescription will also be directed at other bodily imbalances that are contributing to the sinusitis. It is also important to strengthen the digestive system and avoid foods that are difficult to digest or promote allergic reactions.