Brrrr…Winter is definitely here! Images of snuggling under furry, warm blankets and staying toasty warm by the fire (or heater) with a hearty soup, come to mind. However, for many people these icy temperatures and change of season can mean the onset of painful symptoms of sinusitis and/or allergic rhinitis.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining inside the sinuses which can be acute or chronic. When the sinuses become blocked and fill with fluid, germs can grow and cause symptoms such as sinus headache, sinus pain, nasal congestion, ear ache and/or blockage, thick or watery nasal secretions which are sometimes yellow or green. Blocked sinuses can be caused by the common cold, hay fever or nasal polyps (small lumps inside the nose).

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, happens when you breathe in something to which you are allergic, and the inside of your nose becomes inflamed and swollen.

Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis are linked to each other, because allergic rhinitis causes your nose to become blocked, and in turn blocks the sinuses. Symptoms may include: headache; sneezing; itchy and or/sore red and watery eyes, irritability and fatigue.

The symptoms of sinusitis and allergic rhinitis are often very similar.

Here’s what the World Health Organisation says about allergic rhinitis and sinusitis.

How can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture can be very effective in treating all types of sinusitis (acute, chronic, allergic or infectious) and allergic rhinitis. Acupuncture can help to address the current congestion and inflammation while boosting your immune system to help prevent future attacks.

The effects of an acupuncture treatment can be so potent that you may notice immediate relief during or directly after the treatment. This is a result of acupuncture’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions on the body which helps reduce the inflammation in the sinus cavities and decrease pain levels. The release of endorphins which may be secreted during an acupuncture treatment can help reduce your pain and often leave you feeling very relaxed and sometimes even euphoric.