Many patients come to the clinic for the treatment of sinusitis problems. These often feel like pain located in the forehead, eyeballs, cheeks, temples, teeth and even the back of the head and neck. Feelings of being ‘blocked’ or ‘stuffy’ similar to cold or flu are typical descriptions. There also may be headaches.
What are Sinuses?
They are air filled spaces within bones of the face. Their purpose is debateable but the following are suggested
- Decreasing the relative weight of the front of the skull, and especially the bones of the face. The shape of the facial bones is important, as a point of origin and insertion for the muscles of facial expression.
- Increasing resonance of the voice
- Providing a buffer against blows to the face.
- Insulating sensitive structures like dental roots and eyes from rapid temperature fluctuations in the nasal cavity.
- Humidifying and heating of inhaled air because of slow air turnover in this region.
There are four pairs of sinuses:
- In the Frontal bone above the eyes
- In the Ethmoid bone behind the upper nose
- In the Sphenoid bone behind the eyes and more central than the Frontal
- In the Maxillary or cheekbone
The lining of the sinuses is similar to the upper respiratory tract and is subjected to the same infectious processes and allergic responses. Oedema (swelling) or tenacious mucus as well as slowing of the ciliary movement may affect the discharge of secretions out of the sinuses, fluids build up, the passage of air is blocked, and unequal pressure results, leading to pain.
The nerve junctions to the sinuses are in the upper back area and need to be evaluated when assessing sinus complaints.
- The goals are to relieve obstruction and pain
- Improve venous and lymphatic flow from the area
- Effect reflex changes
- Improve mucociliary clearance
Several gentle Cranial osteopathic techniques are designed to aid all of these symptoms.