Written by Alastair Sherlock, Osteopath

31 January 2023

10% of all antibiotic prescriptions are for sinus infections. These can be very painful and cause symptoms such as severe headache, pressure behind the eyes, otitis media (glue ear) amongst others. If mucus drainage is impeded, infection can set in. Factors affecting drainage include skull bone immobility, head positioning, cervical lymph chain restriction and thoracic outlet occlusion from postural depression of the clavicle. The sinuses are air spaces in the frontal skull bones. These aid delivery of mucus to the nasal cavity and have some frontline immune functions in mounting an immune response to viruses and bacteria.

I have treated sinus issues multiple times. How I achieve this is by restoring the mobility of the skull bones. These all come together at joints that form a solid union between the two bones called sutures. They allow for the normal expansion and contraction of the skull thereby aiding sinus function. Following this, it is essential to give that fluid now somewhere to go. Neck musculature especially scalenes at the front if under tension can restrict lymph drainage away from the skull and back into the thoracic cavity, so ensuring these are not unduly tight further assist the drainage. The fluid then reaches an area of the body called the thoracic outlet or inlet. Here the fluid can empty into the main circulatory system for elimination, running under the clavicle. Making sure all of these interdependent regions of anatomy are working functionally together you enable drainage to occur optimally. There are usually pelvic restrictions that lead to one side of the body being more tense than the other and I have most often seen a correlation between that and which side of the head is not draining properly.

Winter is notorious for flu and rhinovirus to be causing the sinus infections and now with covid an additional threat is prevalent. Summer is not without its issues either with hay fever and mould also causing further chances for infection. There are definitely two peaks to the year that I see these issues arise. The good news is there is a lot we can do to resolve it. Wishing you all fresh air!

If you have sinus problems and need help, make a booking with Alastair here.