This article was first published on the "Why Homeopathy?" website.
Sinusitis can be an uncomfortable condition. I like this description of the condition, given by Dana Ullman, on his healthy.net website.
“Imagine a type of torture where there is great pain in what seems to be the very center of your skull, when facial tenderness and pain is experienced by simple touch, where eyes ache and feel like they are coming out of their sockets, and where there's pain in the teeth and even a sensation as though the teeth are too long. Many people today feel this type of torture too frequently because these people suffer from chronic sinusitis”.
“Sinusitis is most often the revenge of a lingering cold or allergy, which can impede proper nasal drainage. This congestion becomes a breeding ground for infection which then causes the lining in the sinuses to become inflamed and swollen. Other problems that can create congestion leading to sinusitis are polyps, a deviated septum, large or inflamed adenoids, an abscessed or inflamed tooth, or a change in air pressure from flying or swimming.
And, emphasising the need for effective treatment, Ullman says:
Sinusitis can create its own revenge too. Unless it is successfully treated, it can sometimes lead to ear infections, bronchitis, or pneumonia.
So just how effective is the conventional medical treatment for Sinusitis?
Conventional Medical Treatment
NHS Choices says that two-thirds of people with sinusitis do not need to see their doctor. It says that as a viral infection it clears up on its own in 2-3 weeks. So for “mild sinusitis” it recommends over-the-counter painkillers such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (Nurofen) to relieve a headache, high temperature, facial pain or tenderness. So for a mild problem, conventional medicine is recommending drugs that can have serious side effects.
Perhaps in recognition of the damage these pain killers can do, it retracts this advice, slightly, by reminding us that children under 16 years should not take aspirin, and that ibuprofen is not recommended for people with asthma, stomach ulcers and heart failure.
For unblocking the nose it recommends nasal sprays or drops, decongestant medication, although NHS Choices admits that these “won’t speed up you recovery from sinusitis and should not be used for more than a week at a time”. So again there is a recognition that this treatment can be injurious to health.
When eventually you see a doctor, when you have severe or persistent sinusitis, NHS Choices outlines the following treatment options:
NHS Choices says that your GP may prescribe a course of antibiotics if your symptoms of sinusitis are severe, of if they haven't improved after 7 days. For the serious adverse reactions and resistance to antibiotic drugs, click here.
NHS Choices says that Antihistamine drugs may be recommended in cases where sinusitis is associated with an allergy. NHS Choices admits to the side effects these drugs can cause in another webpage.
Steroid sprays or drops
NHS Choices says that steroid drops or sprays are usually prescribed if you're diagnosed with chronic sinusitis because they can help reduce your swollen sinuses. Again, this treatment is mentioned without reference to the side effects these sprays can cause. Some information on this can be found at this website.
NHS Choices says that surgery is used “if all other treatments have failed”. The surgery described is called ‘functional endoscopic sinus surgery’ (or FESS), where an endoscope, a thin tube with a lens at one end, is inserted into your nose. This allows the surgeon to see the opening of your sinus drainage channels. The surgeon will then either remove tissue, such as nasal polyps, that are blocking the affected sinus, or inflate a tiny balloon inside your nose to open up the drainage passages from your sinuses. The surgeon “may also insert a self-dissolving implant into your sinus, which expands to hold the sinus open and deliver a steroid called mometasone directly to the sinus lining”.
So conventional medicine appears able to offer little other than ameliorative drugs, which so many patients find to be ineffective, or giving just temporary relief. And of course, for these meagre benefits, they can all have serious effects on our health.
In contrast, homeopathy has safer and more effective treatments to offer someone who is suffering with Sinusitis, and can avoid the necessity for an operation.
There are a number of remedies known to treat people suffering from Sinusitis, remedies that can actually quickly overcome the condition, and eventually cure it. These remedy descriptions are taken from Roger Morrison’s book, “Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology”. The first two of these are probably the most important remedies.
Kali Bich. Ethmoid and all other sinuses affected. Thick, sticky, yellow or yellow-green mucus which is difficult to evacuate. Stringy mucus. Post-nasal discharge. Fullness at the root of the nose. Complete nasal obstruction; nasal tone of voice. The nose itself appears to bulge with the stubborn mucus.
Mercurius Vivus. Especially frontal sinusitis. Greenish fluent discharge. No resistance to infection; every cold he is exposed to results in sinusitis. Dirty, coated tongue, generally whitish discolouration. Excessive salivation. Offensive breath. Pains generally worse at night.
Aurum. Chronic sinusitis and nasal catarrh. Deep sinus pains, expecially at the right side of the root of the nose, with a boring sensation. Pains worse at night. Fetid discharge. Nasal ulceration.
Belladonna. Generally right-sided symptoms. Almost always associated with fever, flushed face, cold hands and feet. Extreme pain upon stooping or bending the head forward. Worse: for mothing and jarring. Sinusitis associated with Meniere’s syndrome.
Causticum. Chronic nasal obstruction and post nasal discharge. Constant mucus sesation and a desire to clear the throat. Almost always some degree of hoarseness. Nasal discharge may be absent or thick and even bloody. Nasal obstruction and catarrh better during rainy weather.
Cinnabaris. Sinusitis with acute pains from the root of the nose extending or shooting outward or above the eyebrow. Much post-nasal discharge but scant discharge through nostrils.
Hepar Sulph. Sinusitis with obstructive and thick nasal and post-nasal discharge after every exposure to cold or uncovering the head. Offensive discharges, odour like old cheese. Exquisitely painful inflammation of the sinuses.
Hydrastis. Thick, ropy or stringy yellow discharge. Especially post-natal discharge. Swelling and obstruction worse on the left side.
Kali Iodatum. Recurring sinusitis with pain through the face, especially at the root of the nose. Inflammation and burning inside the noise, worse with each inhalation. Hay fever with thin, excoriating coryza which eventually ends up in a sinus infection. Yellow or greenish discharge and post-nasal discharges. Worse: right side, warm room.
Kali Sulph. Acute and chronic sinusitis with marked nasal obstruction. Generally worse in a warm room but the nasal symptoms improve. Thick and sticky yellow mucus. Snorting.
Lac Delphinum. This recently discovered remedy has a strong effect on the sinuses. Painful sinsitis often associated with vertigo.
Lemnor Minor. Chronic nasal obstruction, especially during cold, damp weather. Swelling of turbinates; nasal polyps. Thick nasal and post-nasal discharges from mildew exposure. Smell absent. Putrid odour and taste from mouth and throat in the morning.
Lycopodium. Right sided siusitis and nasal discharge. Severe nasal obstruction, expeicially at night and during sleep. Thick nasal discharge, yellow and crusted. Frequent colds.
Medorrhinum. Chronic rhinitis and sinusitis expecially in damp weather. Thick nasal discharge and post-nasal discharge which drain into the throat causing constant desire to hawk and scrape. Worse: cold, damp weather. Better: at the seaside. Children with constant thick, joicy, green nasal discharge.
Psorinum. Frequent colds from the slightest exposure to open air or cold. Long lasting nasal catarrh after every cold. Worse: in the winter. Better: wrapping the head warmly. Wearing a fur hat. Severe hay fevewr with aphthae in mouth and rawness in nose. Thick and offensive nasal or post-nasal discharge.
Silica. Chronic sinusitis, lasting months after every cold. Post-nasal discharge; purulent discharge. Frontal sinusitis. Chilly and worse from cold weather. Sinusitis associated with vertigo.
Spigella. Generally left-sided symptoms, especially frontal sinus. Severe stabbing pains in forehead which radiate backward or are felt as if in or behind the eye. Worse: cold, damp weather. Smoke. Face may appear swollen.
Sticta. Chronic or acute catarrh extending especially into the frontal sinuses with severe nasal obstruction. Constant urging to blow the nose though nothing is evacuated. Nasal secretions rapidly dry, causing hard crusts in the nose. Dry and full sensation through nose; dry mouth, throat and palate. Hay fever; sneezing paroxysms; influenza - each end in sinusitis.
Sulphur. Chronic and acute sinusitis with thick yellow discharge; sometimes offensive or blood-tinged discharge. At other times, dry obstruction with crusts inside the nose. Worse: winter. Indoors. Also hay fever attacks settling in the sinuses. Better: open air. Sometimes burning pains or soreness in the bones of the sinuses. Nasal polyps. Nasal ulcers.
Teucrium. Tremendous tendency for recurring nsal polyps, expecially affecting the right side. Constant inclination to blow the nose with no discharge. Prickling and tingling in the nose, especially at the root of the nose.
Thuja. Thick, generally clear or greenish post-nasal discharge with obstruction. Worse: left side. Cold, damp weather. Marked left frontal headache, often boring or nail-like. Pain into the teeth on blowing the nose.
This symptom pictures clearly show that Sinusitis is not a single disease, with a single set of symptoms that cannot be treated with a single remedy. One of the reasons for homeopathic treatment being so much more superior to conventional treatment is that homeopaths have looked deeply into this condition in order to individualise the treatment.
Randomised Controlled Tests (RCTs)
Conclusions. This study substantiates the reliable efficacy and good tolerance of Euphorbian composition S nasal spray in therapy of chronic sinusitis. In addition it demonstrates maintenance of a high standard of methods and acquirement of meaningful test results to indeed be feasible in homeopathy.
Sinfrontal led to incremental savings of euro 275 per patient compared with placebo over 22 days, essentially due to the markedly reduced absenteeism from work. Incremental utility amounted to 0.0087 QALYs (95% CI 0.0052, 0.0123), or 3.2 quality-adjusted life-days (QALDs). Bootstrapping showed that these findings were significant, with Sinfrontal being dominant in 99.9% of simulations. The results were robust to a number of sensitivity analyses. In the secondary analysis, Sinfrontal led to incremental cost savings of euro 511 and utility gains of 0.015 QALYs or 5.4 QALDs compared with placebo. Compared with antibacterials, Sinfrontal had a significantly higher cure rate (11% vs 59%; p < 0.001) at similar or lower costs. The results of this economic evaluation indicate that Sinfrontal may be a cost-effective treatment for AMS in adults.
Efficacy of a Complex Homeopathic Medication (Sinfrontal) in Patients with Acute Maxillary Sinusitis: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Clinical Trial (2007)
Conclusion. This complex homeopathic medication is safe and appears to be an effective treatment for acute maxillary sinusitis.
Homeopathic treatment of patients with chronic sinusitis: A prospective observational study with 8 years follow-up (2009)
Conclusion. This observational study showed relevant improvements that persisted for 8 years in patients seeking homeopathic treatment because of sinusitis. The extent to which the observed effects are due to the life-style regulation and placebo or context effects associated with the treatment needs clarification in future explanatory studies.
Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis: a double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy (2007)
Results. In the homeopathic treatment group, the average sum score dropped from initially 12.1+/-1.6 to 5.9+/-2.0 points after 7 days. In the placebo group it decreased from 11.7+/-1.6 to 11.0+/-2.9 points. The homeopathic treatment resulted in freedom from complaints in 90.3% of the patients and improvement in a further 8.3%, whereas in the placebo group, the complaints remained unchanged or became worse in 88.9% of the patients. Only one adverse event occurred in one patient from the placebo group.