Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fibro and Sinus Issues

Post Nasal Drip is a common symptom of Fibromyalgia, but why?

Fibro increases allergies and the reactions we have to mold and yeast. Yippy!

So what is the function of our sinuses and why do they make us drip out our nose or down our throat constantly? Well I did a bit of research. ( A few days worth!) I found out that no one seems to know what Sinuses actually *do*. How awesome is that? LOL

What I did find interesting is Sinusitis, a condition that can match Fibro for symptoms. I've heard it said by some doctors that Fibro is just a really bad sinus infection. .... uh huh. "A blocked sinus can cause major migraines, bad breath, and chronic fatigue." Well what about muscle aches and pains? "Chronic Fatigue can atrophy the body." .....uh huh.

I read the report of this guy and rolled my eyes through most of it. Of course in all fairness I only understood a tiny bit of what he was saying. Medical Jargon can smack me around sometimes... I usually print it out and seek out one of my doctors like a kid learning to read in kindergarden.

Okay, back to the point. I may think that these Sinus Theory doctors are wrong about most of what they say but there could be something to the Sinus Theory. So I checked it out and I'm bringing you some quotes from my findings.

About Sinus Function: (Taken from

The sinuses are hollow spaces located in the face and skull. They appear in pairs on either side of the face. Depending on the type, the sinuses vary in size from tiny to the size of a walnut. The four sets of sinuses are:

Frontal sinuses. Located in the forehead. There are two of these sinuses, one per side of the forehead. The frontal sinuses vary greatly from person to person in both size and shape.

Maxillary sinuses. Located in the cheeks between the teeth and the eyes. There are two of these sinuses, one in each cheek. These are the largest of the sinuses, and each can be roughly as large as a walnut.

Ethmoid sinuses. Located on each side of the nose between the eyes. There are between 6 and 12 of these sinuses on each side of the face. These sinuses are very small.

Sphenoid sinuses. Located deep behind the eyes, towards the middle of the skull. There are two of these sinuses, one per side. The size, shape and volume of these sinuses vary greatly from person to person.

The function of the sinuses is not entirely understood. ( that just about everywhere!)Most physicians agree that the sinuses are useful for reducing the weight of the skull while preserving bone strength and shape. The shape of the sinuses and nasal cavity also serve to add resonance to the voice. In addition, sinus cavities may help reduce the damage sustained during a head trauma by absorbing some of the impact.

Like the nasal cavity, the sinuses are lined with mucous membranes – moist layers of tissue that secrete mucus. This mucus helps remove foreign particles that enter the sinuses. The sinuses also have cilia, tiny hairs which push the mucus back into the nasal cavity through small openings (ostia). This drainage is not based on gravity, but rather the efforts of the cilia. From the nasal cavity, the mucus can be removed from the body through either the nose, throat or mouth.

The ostia are very small, and can easily become blocked, preventing the normal drainage of mucus from the sinuses. This often occurs due to the inflammation produced by a cold or allergy (an exaggerated reaction of the immune system to certain foreign invaders that it mistakes as a threat to the body), excessive mucus production or growths such as polyps (bulging growths that develop in the lining of mucous membranes). After the ostia are blocked, inflammation or an infection can occur in the sinuses. This condition is called sinusitis. The air trapped in the sinuses during this condition can cause painful facial pressure, headaches or toothaches. now we know why the Sinuses are naughty. What about Sinusitis?

Taken from WebMD

Who Gets Sinusitis?

About 37 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of sinusitis each year. People who have the following conditions have a higher risk of sinusitis:

Nasal mucous membrane swelling as from a common cold
Blockage of drainage ducts
Structure differences that narrow the drainage ducts

Conditions that result in an increased risk of infection such as immune deficiencies or taking medications that suppress the immune system.

In children, common environmental factors that contribute to sinusitis include allergies, illness from other children at day care or school, pacifiers, bottle drinking while lying on one's back, and smoke in the environment.

In adults, the contributing factors are most frequently infections and smoking.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis?

The primary symptoms of acute sinusitis include:

Facial pain/pressure
Nasal stuffiness
Nasal discharge
Loss of smell

Additional symptoms may include:

Bad breath
Dental pain

Acute sinusitis may be diagnosed when a person has two or more symptoms and/or the presence of thick, green or yellow nasal discharge.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis?

People with chronic sinusitis may have the following symptoms for 8 weeks or more:

Facial congestion/fullness
A nasal obstruction/blockage
Pus in the nasal cavity
Nasal discharge/discolored postnasal drainage

Additional symptoms may include:

Bad breath
Dental pain

Yikes, huh? I get pretty bad allergies so I'm checking more and more into this as a reason for "really bad days".

I had the bad breath bit but started to use a saline nose wash nightly before bed. After a week my breath was back to normal. If you have bad breath, however, this isn't necessarily indicative of sinus troubles, it could be something more along the lines of liver damage. Especially if you take too much ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Our livers are pretty regenerative don't panic, just take NSAIDS and acetaminophen and aspirin out of your daily pill intake for a bit. (Consult your doctors first!)

Other than the saline nose wash I use, I've seen saline drops recommended as well as vaporized steam.

The first step of course is to get the diagnosis from your doctor...but a saline wash never hurt anyone.

Hope this helps! Be well my friends.

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