Treating sinus pressure is big business in the United States. Patients spend an average of $5.8 billion (yes, with a B) per year on treatment for sinus issues. One major expense is surgery. About half a million Americans go under the knife for sinus issues each year. Why are sinus treatments so expensive?
One major issue is that sinus treatments often prove to be very temporary or completely ineffective. There is no real cure for sinus problems. Plus, misdiagnosis is common. Many cases of chronic sinus issues turn out to be migraines. Why the confusion?
Why the Confusion Between Sinus Pressure and Migraines?
Sinus pressure causes headaches, right? Sure, it’s possible. However, always thinking of the connection as being unilateral, or just going in that direction, can easily lead to misdiagnosis. Sometimes the headache is a sign of migraines, and sinus pressure is just one more symptom.
How can you determine if your sinus problems are actually migraine related? The American Migraine Foundation offers 3 diagnostic inquiries:
- Are the headaches disabling (i.e., you can’t work or you miss social events)?
- Are you nauseous during your sinus problems?
- Do you suffer from sensory sensitivity?
If even two of these three other symptoms are present, you have a greater than 90% chance of being a migraineur rather than simply having sinus headaches.
Why is this information important when it comes to seeking care for your sinus pressure? Quite frankly, it is because the success of care depends on knowing the underlying problem. You can’t treat sinus issues and expect to feel better if you are actually suffering from migraines that have sinus pressure as one symptom.
What Causes Migraines with Sinus Symptoms?
If you are one of the many sinus sufferers who is actually dealing with migraines, it may sound like bad news at first. After all, migraines can be a chronic and debilitating condition. Since people who don’t get migraines don’t understand them, you may be dealing with the social stigma that comes along with this condition. It may even affect your ability to hold down a job.
While migraines are difficult to cope with, there’s actually an upside to the diagnosis. Migraines are a neurological condition. That means you can get help by boosting your central nervous system, and that can be done in a safe and natural way. How? By making sure your atlas is properly aligned. What is the atlas?
Sinus Pressure and the Importance of the Atlas
If your sinus pressure is migraine related, the atlas plays an important role. Atlas is the nickname of the C1 vertebra. It’s located at the base of the skull, and that’s where the name comes from. It holds up the head, just like the mythological Atlas balanced the weight of the world on his back. Because of its important location, the atlas can have a powerful effect on the body.
First of all, it protects the brainstem. This is where the spinal cord and brain meet. It is both a hub for the signals being sent throughout the body as well as the center of control for the majority of the body’s involuntary processes (i.e., breathing, swallowing, sleeping, etc.). If a misalignment causes the brainstem no longer to function properly, the result can be migraines, sinus issues, and more.
Another problem relates to blood flow. Since the vertebrae in the neck are responsible for facilitating blood flow to the head, misalignment may affect how much oxygen certain parts of the brain are receiving. This can result in problems with things such as the immune system (leading to overreactions that are responsible for many allergies and sinus issues) or the pain-sensing portions of the brain (which can be a factor in conditions ranging from migraines to fibromyalgia).
So it becomes clear that sinus issues can be one symptom of a far-reaching problem with the nervous system. So how can you approach this problem from a new angle, one that may result in both immediate and long-term benefits?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Sinus Pressure
Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in adjusting the C1 vertebra. The process starts with precise measurements of the atlas taken using diagnostic imaging. There will also be a physical examination. Combining the results of these tests, the practitioner will develop a safe and gentle adjustment that is unique to you.
Because the adjustments of upper cervical chiropractic are so gentle (there’s no cracking or popping of the spine), it works “under the radar.” In other words, the body doesn’t sense a major movement and immediately start working back toward where it was. This allows atlas adjustments to hold longer, giving your body the time it needs to heal from damage that may have been caused by the misalignment. This is why many patients see both immediate results as well as long-term benefits from this form of care.
It also makes upper cervical chiropractic very cost-effective when compared to many of the traditional forms of sinus pressure care. Additionally, it is non-invasive, so it is definitely something to consider before having an elective surgery that may not even completely resolve your sinus issues.
To learn more, contact an upper cervical practitioner in your area to schedule a consultation. That will help you to determine if this subspecialty of chiropractic care is the best option for you. You may be about to take your first step on the path to natural sinus pressure relief.