Sinusitis (Acute)

Acute sinusitis (acute rhinosinusitis) is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

Acute sinusitis is a condition in which the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen. This swelling obstructs the sinus openings and prevents drainage of mucous; resulting in difficulty breathing through your nose, a sensation of swelling around your eyes and face, throbbing facial pain and headache.

The most common cause of acute sinusitis is the common cold (a viral infection). Other causes include bacterial and fungal infections.

If sinusitis persists, it can lead to serious infections and other complications such as asthma flare-ups, chronic sinusitis (sinusitis lasting more than eight weeks), meningitis, vision problems, aneurysms or blood clots, and ear infection.

Seek professional healthcare if your sinusitis symptoms don’t improve within a few days; if you have symptoms that are worsening; you have a fever higher than 38.1 ° C (100.5 ° F); or have a history of recurrent or chronic sinusitis.

Seek emergency medical care if you have:

  • Pain or swelling around your eyes
  • Swelling at your forehead
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Double-vision or other vision changes
  • Neck stiffness
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis

Possible symptoms of acute sinusitis include:

  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Thick, yellow or greenish discharge (mucous) from the nose or back of the throat
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around your eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead
  • Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Cough, which may be worse at night
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Treatment of Acute Sinusitis at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of acute sinusitis treatment are to drain sinuses, reduce discomfort associated with sinus inflammation and identify possible triggers and causes to prevent sinusitis recurrence.

Conventional treatments for acute sinusitis are primarily to reduce symptoms, and include a variety of medications including saline nasal spray, nasal corticosteroids, nasal, over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers. Rarely, antibiotic or antifungal medications and immunotherapy may also be used. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.

For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your acute sinusitis symptoms.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:

  • Identifying specific treatment goals
  • Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
  • Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to acute sinusitis treatment may be to:

Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors are covered by most extended healthcare plans.


Acute sinusitis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 9]. Available from: