This post is one of a series about the ongoing health issues I have had recently beginning in February 2011.
Probably the most useful thing I’ve tried during my ongoing sinus problems has been Nasal Irrigation with a simple saline solution, and I have to say that I’m kicking myself because I nearly tried it pretty early on, but decided not to. I only started shortly before I went to see the Ear Nose and Throat specialist, who backed it up as the best solution for a lot of sinus problems. Interestingly it also parallels the advice that is routinely given out for helping children with colds, where again the medical profession recommends using a saline solution squirted up the nose to clear the nostrils.
At it’s simplest you can irrigate your nose by snorting water from your cupped hands, but it’s probably not very efficient. From there the next level up is perhaps the traditional neti pot which you fill with saline solution and pour into one nostril and out the other. There is a particular technique for doing this, which some people can master, and some people can’t.
Needless to say modern technology has produced a lot of modern versions of the neti pot which apply the saline solution by a number of techniques, and in the end I went for one of the more “gadgety” and expensive options and went for the SinuPulse Elite, but it does work remarkably well.
The basic principle is that you fill the water tank with distilled water (we have a nice little routine going of boiling the kettle, letting it cool and filling water bottles) and then add one of the premixed saline sachets. The device then pumps water up one nostril, and it drains out of the other, and then you reverse the process. It doesn’t take too long to do, and in effect cleans out the mucus that would otherwise end up dripping down my throat as part of my ongoing post nasal drip. It doesn’t stop my sinuses producing the mucus, but it deals with the results.
This brings me on to a little aside, if you’re a creationist, I’d love to know what you think God was thinking when he designed the human sinuses, because for a being that walks on two legs they are remarkably badly designed, indeed they work a lot better on an animal that walks on four legs… In particular one pair of sinuses drains from the top! This of course becomes quite important when you’re flushing your sinuses out with water, as I found initially when hours after having finished the process I’d bend over to pick something up and suddenly find water dripping out my nose. I’ve since got into the habit of bending over the bath after I’m done to get most of that water out.
It’s also interesting that even after blowing your nose quite how much extra mucus the Nasal Irrigation manages to flush out, and whilst the sinuses fill up again during the day, the whole process certainly keeps the worst under control.
Certainly there are competing products such as the Grossan Hydro Pulse, and simpler mechanical solutions, I’d certainly recommend the SinuPulse Elite as being a pretty straightforward solution to easily clearing out the gunk that has been clogging up my sinuses for months, as I said above, I’m just kicking myself I didn’t try it sooner!