When you have a sinus infection, one or more of your sinuses becomes inflamed and fluid builds up, causing congestion and a runny nose. This common condition affects millions and for the most part, is easily treatable. However, in some cases, it can lead to uncomfortable or painful conditions that can last for a long time. It’s time to understand what a sinus infection is, the causes and symptoms of it and ways to treat it effectively. Here is your go-to guide for sinus infections to help you stay healthy.
The Structure And Functions Of A Sinus
As per anatomy, sinuses are empty cavities within the skull bone and are situated around the nose. They are lined with cells that secrete mucus, a protective fluid that prevents the sinuses from drying. There are several effective Yoga asanas for the sinus which maintain sinuses in good health.
While the exact function of sinuses is unclear, they are believed to be involved in humidifying the air that we breathe. It is important to keep them healthy by employing means like nasal exercises, Yoga poses for the sinus, preventing overexposure to pollution etc.
Why Do Sinus Infections Occur?
Sinuses located around the nose are directly exposed to unfiltered air that is inhaled. Resultant exposure to pollutants and harmful fumes present in the air make sinuses highly prone to developing an infection. Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is characterized by nasal pain, nose block, headaches and often pain around the nose. While the direct causative factors of infections are mostly bacteria, virus and fungus, there are several phenomena which serve as trigger factors for sinus infection to take place. These trigger factors are mentioned below:
1. Nasal Deformities
Deviated Nasal Septum, nasal polyps, deformities in nasal turbinates may obstruct normal breathing. This can cause secretions to accumulate within sinuses that could in turn lead to infection.
2. Occupational Hazard
Recurrent exposure to air pollutants is a professional hazard for many people. Traffic constables, roadside hawkers, construction workers, employees working at chemical processing factories may be more prone to developing a sinus infection.
3. Suppressed Immune System
People who are currently battling or have previously suffered from illnesses like HIV infection, Tuberculosis, COPD, recurrent respiratory disorders generally have a weak immune system. An immune system that cannot fight against harmful agents is a major cause of recurrent sinus infections.
4. Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes the thickening of mucus within the respiratory organs. Thickened mucus will block the nasal sinuses and lead to infection.
5. Seasonal Occurrence
Most people who suffer from sinus infections recurrently, often complain that their troubles increase as the season changes. The transition of weather according to changing seasons is a common trigger cause for sinus infections.
While these are the most common causes of sinus infections, people may experience sinus attacks due to other causative factors as well. There are several easy ways that can be practised at home, to keep sinus infections at bay. The utility of Yoga for sinus health is unquestionable. Performing Yoga for sinus problems is a great way to maintain a healthy respiratory system.
Effective Yoga Poses To Battle Sinus Disorders
Yoga is a holistic form of exercise having beneficial effects on several health disorders. There are many benefits of Yoga for sinus problems. Patients suffering from acute or recurrent attacks of sinusitis are likely to find relief with the help of Yoga. Described below are some of the most effective yoga asanas to get rid of your sinus troubles.
1. Anulom-Vilom Breathing
Anulom Vilom is a form of breathing exercise involving keeping one nostril closed and breathing alternately through each nostril. Regular practice of Anulom-Vilom helps in the decongestion of sinuses and prevents sinus infections.
How To Perform:
- Sit cross-legged on the floor without bending your back.
- Place the left palm on your left knee.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply from your left nostril.
- Now release your right thumb and use your right ring finger to close your left nostril.
- Exhale gradually and evenly to release all the air from your right nostril.
- Now inhale from your right nostril again while keeping the left nostril blocked.
- Release the ring finger and close your right nostril using the thumb.
- Exhale all the air through your left nostril.
- Repeat this several times till you feel your sinuses getting cleared.
Mastyasana is named so due to the fish-like pose that is assumed while performing this asana. Matsyasana is one of the best poses in yoga for sinus headache. The final position of the head while performing Matsyasana helps to drain the sinuses and prevent any infection.
How To Perform:
- Begin by lying down on your back with both your palms placed beneath the buttocks.
- The legs should be kept straight in a relaxed position.
- While taking a deep breath, elevate your chest and shoulders and at the same time draw your elbows closer.
- Rest your body weight on your elbows and place the top of your head on the ground.
- The neck should be completely extended and shoulders should arch backward.
- Continue breathing gradually up to 5-10 counts before returning to the original resting pose.
Kapalabhati, also known as skull shining breathing, is another effective breathing exercise taught by Yoga experts. It is one of the best breathing exercises in Yoga for a blocked nose.
How To Perform:
- Sit in a relaxed position while keeping your back straight in a room that is devoid of any disturbances.
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
- While keeping your mouth closed, exhale in short and sharp bursts till you cannot exhale any more air.
- Beginners may perform repetitions of 60 exhalations per minute and graduate to 100 exhalations per minute.
- Remember to stop Kapalabhati the moment you feel even the slightest discomfort.
The camel pose is one of the best poses in Yoga for sinus troubles. The position of the head during Ustrasana helps in the natural drainage of sinuses, thereby preventing infection.
How To Perform:
- Kneel on the floor and keep both ankles fully extended so that the soles of both feet are facing upward.
- Maintain some distance between both knees and place both palms on the hips.
- While inhaling, bend backwards very slowly and straighten your elbows so that the palms are close to the heels.
- Hold each ankle with the corresponding hand and allow your neck to fall back naturally without effort.
- Avoid over bending of the spine or neck while performing Ustrasana.
Paschimottanasana is one of those Yoga asanas which provides stretching and exercise to almost every muscle in the body. The seated forward bend is one of the most effective poses of Yoga for a blocked nose.
How To Perform:
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight ahead and kept parallel to each other.
- Keep your back straight and the toes and both arms at the side of the body.
- While taking a deep breath and raise both arms in the air and stretch upward.
- Now bend your back forward while exhaling, in an attempt to hold your toes.
- Bend as much as you can without forcing yourself.
- Hold your legs at the toes, ankles or shin, wherever your hands can easily reach while bending.
- Lift your neck slightly upward and maintain this position for some time.
6. Simha Mudra Pranayama
Simha is the Sanskrit word for ‘Lion’. Simha Mudra Pranayama is rightly named so because the facial gestures while performing this breathing exercise, resemble those of a lion. Simha Mudra Pranayama has a therapeutic effect over congested sinuses, as it helps to drain excess mucus discharge that may be accumulated within.
How To Perform:
- Sit cross-legged or in any other comfortable position, preferably on the floor.
- Place your palms on the knee with all fingers extended.
- Inhale gradually and deeply through the nose.
- Exhale with force through the mouth while making a noise that sounds like ‘haa’.
- Stick the tongue out as much as possible as if trying to touch it to the chin.
- Up to 10 repetitions of Simha Mudra Pranayama may be performed at a time.
These Yoga asanas and breathing exercises help to relieve sinus troubles by allowing the flow of excessive mucus discharges that accumulate within the sinuses. There are several other beneficial yoga poses for sinus problems that help to keep a healthy respiratory system. Patients complaining of recurring sinus troubles are often advised by doctors to practise Yoga along with mainstream medical treatment for their health.
Preventive And Wellness Tips To Avoid Sinus Infections
It is important to work towards avoiding infections altogether rather than treating them later. Here are a few easy tips to keep sinus infections at bay:
- Practise Pranayama regularly under the guidance of a certified Yoga therapist
- If your schedule necessitates continuous exposure to the external environment, cover your nose with a mask
- Seek prompt medical treatment for any respiratory troubles you may be having
- Include more foods in your diet that help to increase immunity
- Consume detox teas and infusions that are rich in antioxidants for a healthy respiratory system
- Yoga and Pranayama are very beneficial for preventing as well as curing Sinus infections
- Always consult with a certified Yoga therapist to perfecting the techniques of performing various asanas
- Consulting with a doctor for prompt medical treatment is very important to treat sinus infection
- Identifying the precise trigger factor for sinusitis helps in treating the condition in a better way
- Do not perform any Yoga asanas or Pranayama exercises if you start experiencing any health trouble due to it
There are numerous benefits of yoga for sinus troubles. Yoga is a very effective form of exercise to maintain the good health of the respiratory system as a whole and not just for sinuses. Practise Yoga and Pranayama for a healthier and more fulfilling living.