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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy and sinusitis: what at skull level?

Osteopathy and sinusitis: what at skull level?

Many people turn to an Osteopath for sinusitis and sinus congestion.

My personal experience with this disorder began in April 2013 when I went to OCCF in San Diego for one of my collaborations with Dr. Viola Frymann. On that occasion I saw Dr. Frymann treat two patients for flu and colds and for sinusitis. Impressed by the fact that patients had chosen to go to an Osteopath in the first instance for such a disorder, I expressed my amazement to her and she calmly told me 'I am surprised to know that in Europe patients do not immediately go to the Osteopath for these disorders. These patients, just lying on the table, were very congested, with significant breathing difficulties and, the patient with sinusitis, also had facial pain. Dr. Frymann performed treatment on the skull, neck and rib cage. About 20 minutes after the end of the treatment, the patients could breathe through their nose and said they felt significantly less facial pain than before.

The next day the patient who also had a fever problem called saying that the temperature had returned to normal.

This experience demonstrated and made me think about how much osteopathic manipulation can do for congestion.

Since then I have dedicated myself to treating various people with these problems, obtaining increasingly better results.

Osteopathy can be very effective in helping the body resolve these problems.

Let's now look at how sinus congestion can arise.

One of the key principles on which that part of osteopathy which is the cranio-sacral is based is that the bones of the skull are not fused, welded, and that the sutures are designed in such a way as to allow a small mobility. The small movement that occurs in the skull has a millimetric range. The movement is rhythmic and describes an oscillation and flow similar to the movement by which the rib cage expands and contracts during breathing. The proper movement of the skull bones is considered important for overall health, not just that of the head.

In case of sinus congestion some of the smaller bones of the skull act like a piston for the sinuses as they move.

When the skull sutures lose elasticity, this piston-acting "mobility of the skull bones" may decrease. The result is that the sinuses become unable to drain the mucus which consequently accumulates in them. If function is not restored, then the sinuses become congested and more susceptible to infection. Sometimes, decreased mobility may not be a problem until something, such as an upper respiratory tract infection, stifles the body's ability to drain the sinuses due to increased mucus production. Part of this is due to a variation in the degrees to which the piston motion occurs. The more these vary, the more difficult it will be for the body to drain even in the absence of infections.

Osteopaths, after a careful osteopathic evaluation, will work to free the sutures, restoring normal cranial mobility and thus allowing the necessary pump-piston action. This action will facilitate drainage, improve blood circulation and engage the body's healing mechanism which will thus take less time to resolve problems.

This is only part of the osteopathic diagnostics in treating sinus congestion. Other factors are certainly also evaluated such as venous and lymphatic congestion of the skull, involvement of the trigeminal nerve which innervates the sinuses, restrictions of the rib cage and many other components.

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