Sinusitis: Reducing inflammation & swelling

Craniosacral therapy can help alleviate sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a common condition, where the mucus of the sinuses (hollow spaces above and behind the nose, and in the cheeks) become painfully inflamed and swollen.  The swelling often partially, or completely, blocks the small openings (meatuses) to the sinuses, that allow mucus to drain into the nasal passages.

The sinuses (cavities) are normally filled with air. They are lined with epithelial tissue that secretes small amounts of mucus to flush out toxins, pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungus), and allergy producing substances (allergens).  However, when the openings become obstructed, the mucus builds up, further blocking the openings, and creating a breeding ground for the pathogens that have invaded these cavities.

Craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding can help the body to release the mucus build up in a gentle and effective way.  Let’s first look at the various causes.

Sinusitis has many different causes.

Sinusitis may be caused by

  • viral infections (most common)
  • bacterial and fungal infections
  • a deviated septum
  • previous trauma to the nose, face, or head
  • whiplash injuries
  • polyps
  • other structural defects from old injuries to the nose, face, or head
  • chronic respiratory allergies
  • tooth infections
  • braces altering the shape of the face (alignment of facial bones)
  • TMJ dysfunction

Infections and allergens irritate the tissue that line the sinuses, causing inflammation and swelling, with increased mucus production.

A deviated septum, polyps, and trauma to the nose, face, or head may distort, and decrease the size of, the openings to the sinuses (meatuses), blocking the outflow of mucus.

Wearing dental braces, dental implants, or dentures, may alter the shape and size of the meatuses by shifting the facial (or head) bones.

Tooth infections may destroy the upper gum to allow pathogens to invade the maxillary sinuses right above the upper gum.

TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) syndrome; may shift facial bones (as well as head bones) to cause a change in the size and shape of the sinus openings.

Whiplash injuries during sports activities, outdoor play, or car accidents may induce muscular tension and distortion of the membranes (meninges) that envelop the spine and brain as one unit.  These membranes attach to the inside of the skull, the first two neck vertebrae, and the sacrum and coccyx.

Distortion of these membranes during the whiplash event creates traction on the skull bones and may shift them.  The facial bones may shift as well because of their intricate connection with the head bones.

The many different causes of sinusitis require different, or multiple, treatment approaches.

Over-the-counter medications may help to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the sinuses.  Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial and fungal infections.  Surgery may be employed to remove, or correct, obstructions such as polyps or a deviated septum. All these methods come with a cost in the form of side effects, impaired digestive functions, or permanently altered bony structures (surgery).

However, there are plenty of natural methods, such as herbs, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy, to clear up sinusitis, as well as ward off future cases of sinusitis.

Craniosacral therapy is particularly well suited to not only help the body to heal from sinusitis, but to correct obstructions caused by trauma (old or recent).

Trauma may lock up the head and facial bones.

Trauma distorts the connective tissue (fascia, ligaments, tendons, etc.) that weaves through and envelops every cell, tissue, organ, and other structure of the body, causing it to shorten, harden, and restrict the movement of everything it covers and envelops, including bones and joints.  Moreover, it distorts the shape and function of all these structures as well.

In the case of sinusitis, trauma to the head or face can distort the relationship of the head and facial bones and change the shape and size of the openings to the sinuses.  Mucus can no longer freely leave the sinuses and builds up, providing a hospitable environment for bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens to multiply and flourish.

The body responds with inflammation, swelling, heat, and pain in its attempt to rid itself of these unwelcome critters, rather unsuccessfully.

The head and facial bones are intricately connected and move relative to each other.

The head and facial bones are connected to each other via connective tissue in the form of sutures.  Moreover, the head (cranial bones) are lined by another form of connective tissue, the most outer layer of the meninges.

With trauma to the head or face, the sutures and meninges become distorted and may remain so temporarily or long term.  As they become distorted, they lock up the head and facial bones, reducing their ability to move and shift relative to each other. Read more…

Yet, this movement and shifting of the cranial and facial bones is necessary at all times to accommodate the strain exerted on them by the many neck and facial muscles that attach to them.

Craniosacral therapy helps to reestablish proper mucus flow out of the sinuses.

The key is to restore mobility to the cranial and facial bones in order to open up the sinuses and reestablish proper mucus flow.

Craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding gently but effectively help the body to release the tension and distortion in the connective tissue to promote normal cranial and facial bone movement.  The sinus openings resume their normal shape as well, allowing the mucus to flow out freely.

Proper mucus flow will reduce your vulnerability to future sinus infections and increase your ability to heal from them.


A sinus infection may (rarely) spread upward to the brain. Hence, immediate medical advice and/or treatment is warranted if you experience symptoms such as

  • pain and/or swelling around the eyes
  • swollen forehead
  • changes in vision
  • severe headache
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing
  • stiff neck.