Posts Tagged ‘sinus headache’
Dec 4, 2012
Qi is the body’s energy (Qi is pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”)
There is a mystical aspect to qi. In Chinese philosophy, qi is the building blocks of the universe. Energy combines and multiplies. It is the universal energy present in all living things as well as nature.
But there is a practical aspect to qi as well. Qi is the energy we use to keep us healthy. It allows us to work, grow, exercise, and reproduce. Imbalances in the qi can lead to many health issues.
Qi needs to be abundant and circulate through channels in the body or else illness occurs. In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when qi stops, there is pain and illness.” Lifestyle habits such as poor diet, overwork, and stress or a person’s constitution can affect the amount and flow of qi. Chinese medicine and acupuncture focus on correcting these imbalances.
Imbalances of Qi
The main imbalances of Qi are Qi vacuity, or too little Qi or the Qi circulation in the channels can be impaired. This is called qi stagnation.
Those with too little qi may experience the symptoms of frequent colds, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, soft voice, poor digestion, a weak pulse, and pale tongue. This is also true often for people with chronic respiratory infections or autoimmune conditions, such as asthma, eczema, chronic bronchitis, or sinusitis and chronic sinus headaches.
Qi stagnation, when the qi is not circulating well, can also cause frequent colds and makes it difficult to fight them off. Those with qi stagnation will often get a cold after a stressful or emotional situation. They also may be prone to headaches, irregular bowel movements, ribside pain, and painful menstrual cramps.
Jun 11, 2012
After suffering for months from horrible, nagging sinus headaches, further complicated by the cumulative stress from caring for my 17-month-old child, I chose to give acupuncture a try. It has been one of the best health decisions that I have made for myself. When I was first diagnosed with sinusitis many months ago, I was prescribed antibiotics and other medication, which did help me recover from the terrible cold and relieve my sinus symptoms. However, since then, every time the weather changed, I was completely debilitated by a horrible sinus headache. I was afraid of future never-ending cycles of antibiotics (or even Tylenol), but caring for my child required me to be functional at full capacity. I was very afraid of the horrendous sinus pain, and was desperate for long-term relief. I did a lot of research and came across acupuncture, including articles that Joe Alban has published online on this topic. I decided to give acupuncture a try, as my doctor has told me acupuncture is a safe alternative from western medicine (i.e., no harm in trying).
Joe is not only very skilled in his techniques (I have never suffered any bruise; I could barely feel the needles), he is very informative and has educated me a great deal about acupuncture. The treatment room is clean and comfortable. Most importantly, after 6 or 7 treatments, I am already feeling drastic improvements of my condition. It is very encouraging for me to know that my body can be restored in a holistic manner, and it is capable to repairing itself. I am very happy to report that my sinus headache, even though it is still present from time to time (as I am not completely through with my treatment), has now become very manageable. Without the sinus pain, I am again able to engage in other activities (such as pilates) which more directly help me reduce stress and improve physical back pain. I am also able to enjoy the outdoor again with my child without the fear of feeling sick simply because the weather changes. I thank Joe and acupuncture for setting me back into a positive health cycle. I highly recommend Joe’s practice to anyone interested.
Apr 18, 2012
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a chronic infection of the sinuses that causes nasal congestion, sinus pain, and headaches. Chronic rhinosinusitis, commonly called chronic sinusitis, affects your energy, sleep, and work. Some research suggest that chronic sinusitis can even lead to depression and anxiety.
Conventional medication often is not completely successful in treating the symptoms. Many patients have been turning to acupuncture Chinese medicine for help. In our New York City acupuncture clinic, we often use acupuncture, acupressure, and herbs to reduce the symptoms of sinusitis, especially during the spring allergy seasons which can exacerbate the sinusitis symptoms.
A comprehensive approach to chronic sinusitis
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, it is important to include many of the modalities used in acupuncture therapy. I use acupuncture, acupressure, and sometimes Chinese herbal remedies to help relieve the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis, help people reduce medication, and avoid surgery.
The acupuncture therapy targets acupuncture points on channels that help reduce pain and pressure in the sinuses. Acupuncture points can be located on the arms or legs on channels which travel to the sinuses. These points are LI 4, LI 11, Lu 5, SP 9, ST 36, St 44, GB 34, and SJ 5. For some people, acupuncture points on top of or near the sinuses are needed. These points can include LI 20, ST 4, Bi Tong, and Yin Tang.
Acupuncture points selection is based upon the imbalances which cause the condition. For example, acupuncture discusses the circulation of energy, or qi, in the body. If there too little qi, a common cause of sinus headaches, then the qi should be boosted with ST 36 and SP 9. But if there is more heat which often happens with inflammation, acupuncture points such as LI 11 or ST 44 should be selected.
Acupressure on the neck, head, shoulders, and back helps to increase circulation, decrease pain, and drain the lymph. I will also instruct my patients on a self acupressure routine for patients to perform on their own. Often, patients will begin to feel relief after a few acupuncture sessions.
It is important to understand that acupuncture is not an either or when it comes to your conventional therapies for chronic sinusitis. The first goal to is help you feel better. When you are consistently feeling better you can work with your physician to reduce the amount of medication.
Research on the Integrative East West Medicine approach
A paper was recently published examining an east west integrative treatment protocol for patients with recurrent chronic rhinosinusitis (1).
The treatment involved a combination of the patient’s current therapies, most often nasal corticosteroid spray and nasal irrigation in addition to acupuncture, acupressure, dietary modifications, lifestyle modifications, and self-acupressure. As you can see, the researchers used a pretty comprehensive approach.
The study was small with only eleven patients. But it showed potential for this therapeutic approach. The patients, overall, reported improvements in their physical functioning, social engagement, less needing to blow their nose, and an improvement in their ability to concentrate. I hope that larger studies will be conducted to further explore the power of acupuncture to relieve symptoms, reduce dependence on medications, and help people avoid surgery.
1. Suh JD, Wu AW, Taw MB, Nguyen C, Wang MB. Treatment of recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitis with integrative East-west medicine: a pilot study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;138(3):294-300.
Jan 17, 2012
Acupuncture can target chronic pain in any location of the body. Sometimes, an acupuncturist will put needles in the place of the pain. But other times an acupuncturist will place needles far away from the location, such as in acupuncture points on the legs and feet for chronic headaches.
The primary way acupuncturists can focus the treatment for chronic pain in specific places because of the acupuncture channels. Acupuncture channels connect different parts of the body and run along different places in the body. The acupuncture channels create a type of map that interconnects different regions of the body.
For example, the Large Intestine acupuncture channel starts on the hand, up the forearm, through the shoulder to the face. This is why LI 4 on the hand can be very effective for frontal and sinus headaches.
On the other hand, the Gall Bladder channel runs from the toes, along the sides of the body, and then to the sides of the head. This is why Gall Bladder 34 near the knee can be effective for headaches on the side or temples.
Auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture, is particularly effective for chronic pain.
In acupuncture, the ear lobe provides a map of the body with points for specific areas and organs.
In ear acupuncture, the best way to target the chronic pain is to find the most sensitive points in the ear for that region and place the needle in that acupuncture point.
Nov 9, 2011
Acupuncture is very effective at treating chronic migraines, tension headaches, and sinus headaches. Acupuncture therapy has been used for over 2000 years to treat chronic headaches.
How does acupuncture treat headaches?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine scholars theorize that health is based upon balance in the body. Imbalances can cause long term illnesses and pain. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by correcting these imbalances in the body. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can then works to heal itself.
Physiological, acupuncture works to reduce pain and inflammation through regulating neural pain pathways, stimulating the release of natural pain relievers in the body, such as opioids, as well as regulating pain relieving opioid receptors. Many studies have also shown acupuncture to have a anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the circulating inflammatory hormones in the blood (1).
Chronic headaches and migraines there is often a terrible cycle of tension and pain. The muscles tense up in reaction to the pain and then the pain causes the muscles to tense up more. Some believe this cycle of pain further exasperates the decreased blood flow to and from the skull, which may be one of the causes of migraines. Acupuncture cuts off this cycle of tension and pain by relaxing the muscles and relieving tension.
Acupuncture is also very relaxing. Most people feel very calm during the treatment and this lasts for a period of time afterwards. Over time, treatment helps influence you to be calm and increase your ability to deal with stress. This is because acupuncture does not separate the body and the mind. The mind influences the body, and the body influences the mind. So in treating the body we also relax the mind.
What are the most common imbalances that cause headaches?
When comes to headaches, the imbalance is often rooted in the circulation or production of the body’s energy called qi (pronounced chee). Qi needs to be abundant and circulate through channels in the body or else illness occurs.
In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when qi stops, there is pain and illness.” When there is stress, trauma, or other illness, the qi circulation can slow down and become stagnated. Someone with qi stagnation will have headaches that are intense, worse with stress, neck pain, ribside pain, possible insomnia, and digestive problems.
Another imbalance can be too little energy, or what is called qi deficiency. If there is too little energy, then people will feel tired, get bloated after they eat, and have a weak pulse.
Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and acupressure all help to build more qi and smooth the flow of qi.
What is acupuncture treatment like?
An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a specific and accurate diagnosis. The root imbalance of the condition and by asking in depth questions, taking your pulse, and examining your body. By targeting the exact root of the condition leads to the most successful treatment.
I combine acupressure, Chinese medicine massage, with the acupuncture to create greater results and a stronger sense of relaxation. Usually people will feel some relief after only a few weekly visits.
Research on Acupuncture for Headaches
A recent metanalysis of 31 studies, showed that acupuncture was more effective than both medication and placebo acupuncture (2). For those who do not know, a metanalysis is a more definitive study which examines many many previously performed studies. The studies showed that acupuncture was stronger than placebo acupuncture for reducing headaches, and even stronger than medication for reducing headache frequency, intensity, and overall physical function.
1. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869.
2. Sun Y, Gan TJ. Acupuncture for the management of chronic headache: a systematic review. Anesth Analg. 2008 Dec;107(6):2038-47.
written by Joseph Alban
edited: November 7, 2011
Oct 5, 2011
Below is in-depth information about conditions we commonly treat. No list can be complete. If you do not see your concern please call and ask us about it.
Many of the diseases on this list are linked to articles we’ve written.
- Chronic pain
- Chronic low back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Shoulder pain
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Frozen Shoulder
- Atopic eczema
- Pompholyx eczema
- Nummular Eczema
- Perioral Dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome
- Overactive bladder
- Interstital cystitis
- Bladder Spasms
- Frequent Urination
- Post Prostate Cancer Recovery
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Acupuncture for IVF
- Painful and Irregular Cycles
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Poor Digestion
- Nausea and morning sickness
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Apr 18, 2011
In my last post I wrote about five things I am doing to control my allergies this season.
This weekend I added a 6th: humming. It works great and it is easy. I was inspired by a small study that theorized humming can reduce sinus headaches and reduce inflammation.
So keep humming. It won’t mess up your hair!
Jan 5, 2011
I am always searching for simple remedies for my patients to prevent colds, flu, and sinus infections. That’s why I was excited to see a short article last month in the New York Times that discusses how humming can help to relieve sinus infections and headaches.
Humming reduces sinus inflammation by stimulating the release of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule in the body which helps smooth muscle relax and vasodilation to increase blood flow. Less inflammation means the body recovers quicker and can fight off infections.
Many of my acupuncture patients have asthma and allergies, making them more susceptible to sinus infections especially during the winter months. I often recommend self acupressure to supplement the acupuncture treatment. Some traditions of qi gong and acupressure self care include humming certain tones to help stimulate the healing process. Now we know that the humming can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Oct 8, 2010
This fall is very cold and rainy here in New York, easy to catch a cold. In my last post I wrote about acupuncture for the common cold. In this post, I will discuss Chinese herbs and herbal formulas.
It is important to take the herbs that are right for you, as well as purchase high quality herbs. So before you take any herbs, it is important to consult a trained herbalist.
Gan Mao Ling: Gan mao means “common cold” in Chinese. This herbal formula is great for preventing and treating common colds. Take it preventatively when there is a cold going around or if you have a cold. It is best to treat are sore and itchy throat, and a little cough. If you are sweating gan mao ling may not be strong enough.
Yin qiao san: Yin qiao san is stronger than gan mao ling. If you are experiencing a light fever and light chills, sweating, and a sore scratchy throat, this may be a good formula for you. Gan mao ling is better for mild colds and also to prevent a common cold. Yin qiao san is better for stronger colds and it is best to take the herbs early in the cold.
Bi yan pian: Bi yan pian is a powerful formula for nasal congestion and sinus headaches. This can be used during the cold. It can also address the nasal congestion and runny nose that follows a cold.
Ling zhi: Ling zhi, also called reishi, is a mushroom that is used to boost immunity. This herb is best to take in small doses as a way to prevent getting a cold. It won’t help that much after you get a cold. It will help to give you immune system a boost to prevent the cold from coming on.
Oct 4, 2010
Here are some acupuncture points and acupuncture point combinations that help reduce the common cold. Lung 5 and Lung 7 are effective for reducing cough and chest congestion. If there is a lot of chest congestion, Lung 1 may be helpful, along with cupping on the back. LI 4 helps to relieve sinus headaches. It can be combined with Urinary bladder 7 and Yin Tang, which is on the center of the forehead. Spleen 9 also can help relieve sinus headaches. For sore throats, Lung 7 and Kidney 6 are very helpful. St 36 helps to boost overall energy levels. Stomach 40 can help with post nasal drips and phlegm in the throat. The combination of Gall bladder 41 and San Jiao 5 can help to fight off an early cold that is starting to become more severe. San Jiao 5 can also help sore throat.
In my next post I will write about Chinese herbs and herbal formulas that can help fight and prevent the common cold.