Sinus Clearing Protocol

What is Sinusitis?

Small amounts of mucus are normal in the nose and sinuses as this mucus acts to trap and filter bugs from the air like a spiders web (natural air filtration).

Sinusitis is a build up of excessive amounts of this mucus in the sinus and nasal passageways. The excessive mucus prevents airflow and creates increased ‘pressure’ in the sinuses which causes significant discomfort and pain. Furthermore if the bugs trapped in the mucus are not cleared they can cause sinus infection and further fucus buildup creating a vicious cycle of chronic sinusitis.

What causes Sinusitis?

There are many things that can cause a build up of mucus in the sinuses.

– Allergies: Allergies cause an increase in mucus production on the nose. This increase in production can sometimes overwhelm the normal mucus clearing processes and cause blockage

– Structural changes: a deviated septum or small nasal passages can reduce the normal clearance of mucus. If mucus can not be cleared normally it can build up causing sinus congestion

– Mouth breathing: nasal airflow is important to aid normal clearing of mucus and bugs in the nose. If you can’t breathe through your nose you can’t flush the sinuses with clean fresh air

How can we treat sinusitis?

In order to treat sinusitis we need to remove the traffic jam of mucus from the nose and sinus passages. This often involves treating the cause (e.g. allergies), loosening the mucus (ultrasound and saline) and clearing the mucus (sinus clearing protocol). In people with recurrent sinus issues establishing a regular sinus hygiene program will help flush the sinuses on a regular basis to PREVENT further build up of excess

mucus and sinus infections.

What is the Sinus Clearing Protocol?

Our Sinus Clearing protocol uses sequential breathing exercises to;

A) open to nasal passage
B) increase nitric oxide release
C) flush the nostrils and sinus passages

For best effect our sinus clearing protocol is used in combination with therapeutic ultrasound which acts to first loosen the mucus making it easier to clear.

Why do we have mucus?

Mucus, Phlegm Secretions… They are all the same thing.. But what are they? And why do we have it?

This is actually my favourite topic of all time – I know, a little disgusting, but once you understand mucus, you will love it!

When we breathe in we breathe is not only air but everything being carried by the air. This includes up to 350 000 particles of dust, pollen and bacteria jus to to name a few. But if we breathe in soo much junk… why are we not sick all the time? Mucus!!

Every person has mucus in the lungs. On average most people produce/make around 100-150mls of mucus per day. This mucus coats the inside of the lungs and acts like a spiders web to the lungs. As we breathe in all the of the dust, bacteria and pollution get caught in the mucus like a spiders web to stop it going further down into lungs. The lungs then have an escalator (picture an escalator in the shopping centre) that carries the mucus (with all the bad things in it) up the lungs to the throat, where it is then tipped into the stomach and the stomach acid kills all the bugs, germs and pollution! Neat hey!

But now you can imagine if you have a lung disease that causes damage to the escalator that clear the mucus (COPD, smoking, PCD, ILD) or an excess of mucus in the lungs (bronchiectasis, CF) you end up with mucus (with all of the bad stuff stuck in it) not being able to be cleared from the lungs where it grows into respiratory infections and pneumonia!

So without mucus and a good mucus clearance we really are in a lot of strife! It is our first and greatest respiratory defence mechanism and super important to maintaining good respiratory health. If you want to improve your mucus clearance to prevent harbouring of bugs and pollution in your lungs contact your local respiratory physiotherapist 🙂

What is Bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that effects the bronchioles of the lung causing them to produce and retain more sputum and increase your chance of chest infections... But wait.. Huh? What are bronchioles?

In order to understand bronchiectasis I find it best the use the analogy of the lungs being like a tree.

The alveoli (air sacks) of the lungs are like the leaves of a tree. They are where the magic happens, where all the good gasses like oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer into and out of the body (us or the tree) into the atmosphere. The bronchioles, on the other hand, are like the branches of the tree. They are the pipelines and their job is primarily just to carry all the gasses and nutrients out to the leaves.

As mentioned above, bronchiectasis is a disease of these branches of the lungs. Something happens in the lungs to damage these branches. This can be anything from smoke inhalation, cystic fibrosis, recurrent infections or a significant respiratory illness as a child! Now when these bronchioles are damaged they enlarge and with with enlargement the cells lining the walls of the pipes produce more mucus. The key word here being more mucus. Some mucus is good - actually great! Without mucus we would all die very quickly. But it is this excess mucus that really builds up and starts to cause problems.

To find out why this causes problems stay tuned for our next Blog post... What is mucus and why do we have it?

Remember - Physiotherapy is the first line treatment for bronchiectasis and effectively clearing this mucus is the best way to improve bronchiectasis and stop further chest infections!

 

 

 

The Dysfunctional Breathing Cycle

The Cycle of Breathing Dysfunction 💫

Dysfunctional breathing is a condition in which breathing mechanics become stuck in a self perpetuating cycle of breathing imbalance which results in a system not able to adapt to the challenges of daily life.

This is a cycle where...

1) "a trigger" causes changes to breathing mechanics
2) changes to breathing patterns cause symptoms (from unsatisfied breathing to chest pain)
3) these symptoms cause anxiety
4) anxiety causes further changes to breathing mechanics
5) further changes to breathing mechanics cause more symptoms.. and so on.

But how does something like this happen?? As you can see from the diagram there are two places it can start.

1) stress induced.
This is where a psychological insult causes an increased period of anxiety which starts the breathing dysfunction. This can be anything from a prolonged stressful period at work to post a traumatic incident.

2) pathology induced.
This occurs when a illness causes a change in breathing mechanics which can start the dysfunctional breathing cycle. Common examples include a period of uncontrolled asthma, IBS, and post pulmonary embolism.

Once on the cycle it can be extremely difficult to break without specialist treatment. This involves:
A) recognising the cycle
B) treating the trigger (e.g. new asthma puffers or counselling)
C) working with a trained physiotherapist to break it!

#functionallungs #physiocanhelp