Do you suffer from sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) often?
Does a cold or allergic reaction usually turn into a sinus infection?
Do you experience skull pressure, deep headaches or feeling of ear clogging or stuffiness?
Do you notice that when changing between sitting, standing, or laying down that your sinus blockages shift but don’t drain?
…Do you also grind your teeth or clench your jaw?
Hey, me too! I’ve got some helpful and practical ideas to help you relieve and prevent further sinus infections. Read on…
I’ve been searching for years to understand, relieve and prevent sinus pressure. From allergies to seasonal colds to pollution, if you’re a chronic sinusitis sufferer, you can recognize immediately the symptoms and frustrations of having yet another bout of sinusitis. It’s been quite a journey because this path of understanding has woven through Ayurveda, biomechanics, movement psychology, neuroscience, and osteopathy but I’ve finally organized a share-worthy epiphany for relieving and preventing sinusitis. It is more simple than you may think and surprise!!! It’s movement based.
Your sinuses are all connected, indicating that the bones of the face have particular positions in which to facilitate proper function of the sinuses. Considering that the bones of your face should articulate just like every other joint in your body, it makes sense that proper articulation of the facial bones supports proper sinus function. Sinuses become inflamed as an immune response to viral or bacterial infection like a cold. Excess mucus is produced to flush out bacteria and irritants but when mucosa-lined sinus cavities become inflamed and their pathways become blocked, mucus gets trapped inside the sinus cavities. If the facial bones are not articulating well, those blockages stick around much longer than they should and sinusitis is more likely to form.
How this relates to those who grind or clench their teeth is simple. Excessive tension of the facial muscles will prevent the facial bones from articulating naturally and thereby prevent the sinuses from draining properly. Other reasons the facial bones may be dysfunctional range from braces to broken noses but for specificity, the exercises below are geared towards those of us who clench or grind our teeth. That’s not to say they won’t help though!
8 exercises for relieving sinus pressure
Where the real work begins…
Circling back to the teeth clenching and grinding aspect of this problem, you need to change the habit of holding jaw tension in order to have long lasting results for your sinuses. For some, grinding happens at night and for others, clenching is a stress response. In some cases the jaw clenches because it doesn’t know how to move well. No matter what is going on, the habit of tension must change. My personal recommendation for successful habit change is a combination of reflection, intentional meditation, action, and forgiveness. Charles Duhigg’s model of habit change has been life-changing for me but I mustn’t leave out self-compassion. Changing a habit is hard and the average person will fail 7-12 times before finding success. Here are some reflective questions that may help guide your way to habit change:
Do I really think I can change this habit?
Do I care enough to make the change?
Why do I clench or grind my jaw?
What stimulus am I seeking when I clench or grind?
What’s the reward for clenching or grinding? Pacification? Rumination? Stress relief? Gaining control? Repetitive rhythm?
What’s an alternative movement?
Is there a particular environment or situation that triggers clenching or grinding?
What can I do to track how often I clench or grind?
What’s a mantra, word or cue I can use to alter the trajectory of this habit?