By Justin Phillips, D.C.
Early in the year always seems like a primary time for sinuses and congestion. Many people are fighting colds, nasal congestion, chest congestion, or allergies and these issues usually last a while. With the weather hot one day and cold the next, our body is constantly trying to adapt and our immune system suffers. If you are like me and don’t like taking multiple medications for extended periods of time, here are a few things you can do to naturally fight sinuses and congestion.
- Stay Hydrated – There is a debate between cold and hot liquids for congestion, however, there is no real evidence to support that either is more effective. However, warmer liquids do tend to sooth the throat a bit more and they are better for adding herbal teas, honey, or lemon.
- Use a Humidifier – Humidifiers help break up congestion by adding moisture to the air, which helps thin mucus in your sinuses. They are even more effective if you are able to use some essential oils with them. Eucalyptus oils are helpful to break up phlegm so definitely use it if the humidifier allows it. Hot vs. Cold air humidifiers have little to no difference, but I would suggest using “Cold” air for children to prevent accidental burns from warm mist.
- Boost Your Immune System – If your congestion is cold-related, try adding some extra vitamin C to help you get over your cold symptoms faster. Also, herbs like eucalyptus oil (mentioned above) and Menthol are great when seeking fast, short-term sinus relief. Try rubbing Menthol balm under your nose or adding eucalyptus oil to a bowl of steaming water, hang a towel over your head, and inhaling the steam for about 10 minutes.
- Eat Some Garlic – Garlic is believed to have antifungal and antibacterial properties which are useful in treating congestions related to colds. Try sautéing garlic with vegetables or adding a couple cloves to a steaming glass of water and inhaling the steam.
- Chiropractic Adjustments – The purpose behind each adjustment is to increase motion in the spine, and relieve pressure off nerves to allow the body to function optimally. The sinuses are primarily affected by nerves exiting the spine in the top of the neck (specifically the 2nd vertebra or C2). This is a common area adjusted by chiropractors and has shown to have widespread benefits including relief from sinuses, headaches and neck pain.