A group of four pockets surrounding the nasal area make up what's known as the sinuses. These cavities are air-filled and work to keep the interior of your nose protected and moisturized through mucus production. Sinus problems can lead to a build-up of pressure and congestion, leaving you with discomfort and pain. You can relieve sinus congestion and get rid of pressure using natural methods at home.
Causes of Sinus Congestion
There are four different types of sinuses-- ethmoid, maxillary, frontal and sphenoid. Each of these sinuses contains channels through which mucus travels to the nasal cavity. When your sinuses drain properly, mucus goes through an opening known as the ostium, which allows it to drain into the throat. When any one of these channels becomes blocked it results in congestion, a symptom of a condition known as sinusitis. According to Harvard Medical School, in the United States alone, approximately 20 million people develop sinusitis at least once in a year.
Health Conditions Leading to Congestion
Sinus congestion is often associated with colds, but a head cold isn't the only health condition that can cause that. Allergy sufferers often battle sinus congestion as a common symptom during allergy flareups. Upper respiratory and sinus infections can also cause sinus congestion. In addition to blockage in one or more of the sinus cavity channels, having a cold, allergies or infection can cause your sinuses to become inflamed, which further compounds congestion.
Natural Methods for Clearing Sinus Congestion
Although over-the-counter decongestants can help relieve congestion and sinus pressure, there are natural methods that you can use to clear out your sinuses. Inhaling steam a few times daily is an effective and simple solution. Pour boiling water into a bowl or sink and create a tent over the water and your head. Inhale the steam up to four times over the course of the day, for a period of 10 minutes each time. Help to loosen mucus by drinking lots of water and applying a warm compress over your forehead, nose and cheeks. Sleep with your head slightly elevated so that mucus can drain, rather than pooling in the sinuses.
Natural Methods for Avoiding Sinus Congestion
Sinus congestion, whether you suffer it occasionally or chronically, is unpleasant and uncomfortable. You can take steps to reduce or prevent sinus infection once your sinuses are clear. Use a homemade nasal saline rinse made with 8 ounces of lukewarm distilled water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda. Use your nasal saline rinse up to three times daily for a maximum of 10 days in a row to keep your sinuses congestion-free.