Sinusitis (Chronic)

Chronic sinusitis (chronic rhinosinusitis) is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

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. Sinusitis is described as “chronic” if the symptoms persist for eight weeks or longer, or recur regularly.

Chronic sinusitis may be caused by infections, allergic reactions, nasal growths called polyps, deviated nasal septum, facial trauma or may occur as a complication of other chronic health conditions such as asthma, heartburn or human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection.

If sinusitis persists, it can lead to asthma flare-ups, meningitis, vision problems or aneurysms (blood clots).

Seek professional healthcare if your sinusitis symptoms do not improve within a week, or your symptoms do not respond to treatment.

Seek emergency medical care if you experience:

  • 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 Chronic Sinusitis

Possible symptoms of chronic 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 Chronic Sinusitis at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of chronic 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 chronic 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 chronic 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 chronic 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.


Chronic sinusitis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Mar 7]. Available from: