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Sinus & Congestion – a sticky problem

ID-10076006The most recent virus to do the rounds has had the common symptom of profuse mucous. Some people have had vomiting during the virus because of this, but many people have been left with ongoing congestion, sinus symptoms or a lingering cough seemingly for weeks. Some have said they just wonder where it all comes from!

I do tend to find that a constitutional remedy at the end of this type of virus is the best course of action and that has certainly held true in many of the cases I’ve treated recently. This means giving the remedy that fits the person rather than the cold and sinus symptoms and is a big reason that having a consultation at some point is so useful.

It may mean that homeopathy can help resolve an ear infection, a tummy upset or, in the case of this virus, the ongoing mucous quite often all with the same remedy. Remember we treat the person not the symptoms, even though in home prescribing there can be a tendency to talk about symptoms and not people!!

This most recent virus has certainly been tricky and slow to resolve in some cases, but in others a well-chosen constitutional remedy has done the job quite quickly.

There is, of course, a list of single remedies which can be very helpful for sinus and congestion and they are always worth trying first. Sometimes a remedy given early will make all the difference and in those of you with reasonably strong immune systems this can be enough to resolve the problem.

Just as a rule of thumb if symptoms are very intense don’t waste time home prescribing, get on to your homeopath. If your cold/sinus has lasted more than a week and your home prescribing is not really helping, again contact your homeopath. Finally, if symptoms move on to a bad, chesty cough and/or shortness of breath and the energy is very low check in with your GP.

Here then are some of the more specific remedies for sinus and congestion which may help with acute cases.  If symptoms persist consult your homeopath:

Arsenicum (Ars Alb): This remedy typically presents with throbbing and burning pains in the sinuses. The nasal discharge also burns and they end up with a very sore, dry nose. Pains are worse from light, noise, movement, after midnight, and the sinus infection/congestion can be brought on by anxiety, exertion and excitability. Symptoms may feel better by lying quietly in a dark room with the head elevated. They often feel better for fresh air at this point. The teeth may feel long and painful and they may experience nausea and vomiting with the sinusitis. There may be a strong thirst, but these patients tend to take frequent sips, rather than gulps.

Belladonna – This is a remedy associated with fever so this symptom is likely to be present at least at the beginning. The head feels full, as if it would burst. Pain is usually throbbing and mainly in the forehead or around the eyes. This is worse by jarring, touch, bending forward, lying flat or moving the eyes and is better by gentle pressure, sitting up or bending the head backwards. They may feel dizzy, which becomes worse when bending over. Symptoms may be intermittent. There is light sensitivity and the face is often flushed. Frequently (but not always) right sided symptoms.

Hepar Sulph – These patients are super sensitive to becoming sick if they get cold, with sneezing often the first symptom. The nostrils become very sore from the burning, thick, yellow discharge and they may have a headache like a nail or a plug with boring or bursting pain. The discharges are usually offensive and the odour is described as being like old cheese. (With ear discharge I’ve noticed it can smell like wet dog!) Sinus pain is felt above the nose/on the forehead and is worse from shaking the head, motion, riding in a car, bending over, moving the eyes or from the weight of a hat. However, it feels better by firm pressure. The scalp is so sensitive that brushing the hair may be painful. Pain is a big feature of any Hepar Sulph sickness and it is often out of proportion to the symptoms. “Exquisitely painful inflammation in the sinuses” is how it is described in some of the books and with this pain will come irritability!

Kali Bich –This is the classic sinus picture of headache and pain. Most of the sinuses are affected and the facial bones can become very sore on bending over. They have extreme pain at the root of the nose that is better by applying pressure. The bones and scalp feel sore and there may be dizziness and nausea when rising from sitting and the severe pain can affect the vision. There is thick, sticky, yellow or yellow-green mucus which is difficult to blow out and which can be stringy or ropy! There is often post nasal drip, which may mean waking with a sore throat or snoring. There can be a feeling of complete nasal obstruction and a nasal sounding voice. They feel better lying down in a dark room and for warmth and warm drinks. The pains are worse from cold, light, noise, walking, bending over and in the morning (especially on waking or at 9 am) or at night.

Kali Mur is a tissue salt and along with Natrum Mur and Ferrum Phos makes up our TS Acutes tissue salt combination. This is my “give this if you don’t know what to give” remedy, particularly at the beginning of an acute illness, and has been a favourite in clinic for over fifteen years! Kali Mur is especially indicated when there is white nasal discharge, a white coating on the tongue and sinus problems. Ear congestion or pain accompanied by a crackling noise are indicators and symptoms may be worse from cold air and damp weather and improved by relaxation and warmth. Use the tissue salt combination or use the single remedy – they will both bring benefit if the symptom picture fits. TS Acutes is also particularly good if there is fever and/or ear pain.

Merc Sol – People who need this remedy feel as though their head is in a vice. The mucous in this case is particularly in the frontal sinuses. The pain is worse in open air, from sleeping, after eating and drinking and from extremes of hot and cold temperature. The scalp and the nose are very sensitive to touch and the teeth feel long and painful. The nasal discharge is usually green and too thick to actually run. It is greenish, slimy and sometimes offensive smelling/tasting. There may be excessive salivation and you see this most often in babies and small children, with offensive breath. The sinus pain is generally worse at night.

Kali Sulph is another tissue salt but is also often used in 30c and is very similar to Pulsatilla. There is marked obstruction and while the whole person is generally worse in a warm room, the nasal symptoms improve. Again the mucous is thick, yellow and sticky. If Pulsatilla doesn’t help but you feel the remedy is right, try Kali Sulph.

Pulsatilla These patients are likely to be a bit sooky and weepy with the pain. The congestion may come on after being overheated and may extend to the ears, with a sense of fullness and popping. The head pain is usually worse when lying down and in a warm room, from bending over and rising from lying down. It can also be worse after eating. The pain is often in the forehead and can be accompanied by some sort of digestive issue, such as a tummy upset. They sometimes feel better from walking slowly in the fresh air or by wrapping the head up tightly. The nasal discharge is often thick and yellow or green. Thirst is usually low.

Silica – Silica can be good for that almost chronic sinus, which seems to last for months after every cold. The nose is often full of hard, dry crusts which bleed if knocked or picked. People who do best on Silica are commonly chilly and worse from cold weather.

Sulphur – These patients may have thick yellow discharge sometimes offensive or blood-tinged. They may also present with dry, stuffed up nose with crusts inside the nose. They are usually worse during winter and indoors and better outside. This is a good remedy for hay fever attacks which settle in the sinuses – you hay fever sufferers will know what I mean by this.

Finally if you can’t pick a remedy from this list, consider our Congestions combination (a selection of the most frequently indicated remedies) or TS Sinusitis (the indicated tissue salts for sinus and congestion).

Take your remedies three or four times a day for three days but if no change at all in that time and after trying a couple of other remedies, I do recommend consulting your homeopath because there are many remedies for sinusitis but the best remedy is the remedy that fits you as a person, rather than just your symptoms.

Melanie Creedy is a UK trained and Australian Registered Homeopath (AROH). She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.
Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a  suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.