The sinuses are 8 hollow spaces in the bones of the forehead, cheeks and temples. These spaces are coated with mucous membranes, which drain mucous in the air passages to help trap foreign particles such as dust and microbes. When sinuses become inflamed they cannot drain properly causing back up, pressure and possible infection. Risk factors include chronic allergies, abnormal structure in the sinus area, and rapid changes in altitude/pressure (flying, diving, etc). Sinus headaches cause dull, deep or severe pain in the area of the forehead and cheeks and are typically worse in the morning and better by afternoon. Being that the primary risk to the sinuses is allergies, the root of the cause of sinus problems most often lies in improper function of the immune system. This would explain why many people can breath the same air, and only a few end up with sinus trouble. The immune system over reacts to a begnin element (cat dander, pollen, etc) while at the same time is not able to rid the body of the likely sinus infections which might cause the patient to seek the “aid” of antibiotics.
Chiropractic and Sinus Problems
Chiropractors aim to assist the body in functioning properly by removing interference to the nervous system. Ruling out abnormal structures (nasal polyps or bone spurs), chiropractic becomes a viable alternative for helping people with sinus problems. It is well known that chiropractic is effective for headaches, and numerous studies also point to the relationship between the immune system and nervous system and how chiropractic can enhance the functions of both. In addition the mucous membranes of the sinuses themselves are controlled by the brain and nervous system.
Folweiler DS, Lynch OT. Nasal specific technique as part of a chiropractic approach to chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995;18(1):38-41.
Cady RK, Schreiber CP. Sinus headache or migraine? Considerations in making a differential diagnosis. Neurology. 2002;58(9 Suppl 6):S10-S14
Hack, GD, The anatomic basis for the effectiveness of chiropractic spinal manipulation in treating headache. Abstracts from the 15th annual upper cervical spine conference. Nov. 21-22, 1998. CRJ 199:VI(1).
The effects of upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV positive patients. Selano J, Hightower B, Pfleger B, et al., CRJ-Vol3 No 1 1994.