WEDNESDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- When used in tandem with standard Western treatments, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure and dietary changes may spell significant relief for patients battling chronic sinusitis, a new pilot study suggests.
The authors say that their study is the first to explore the potential of combining Western medicine with Eastern therapies among these patients, who experience swollen and inflamed sinuses, facial pain, headaches and impaired breathing.
"Our study was small, looking at a handful of patients who were not benefiting that well from standard treatment," acknowledged study author Dr. Jeffrey Suh, an assistant professor of rhinology and skull base surgery in the department of head and neck surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"And my take on alternative treatments is that Western medicine is effective for the majority of patients," he added. "But for those who don't get complete relief, adding in a more holistic Eastern approach that includes exercise, improved sleep, a better diet, and acupuncture and self-administered acupressure seems to provide an alternative that can have great benefit."
Suh and his colleagues report their findings in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology.
The authors point out that chronic rhinosinusitis is a very prevalent condition in the United States, with nearly 30 million American adults diagnosed with the disease in 2010 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The acute version of the disease is typically due to infection, experts say. However, the chronic form (namely, cases enduring past 12 weeks) is thought to stem from a variety of environmental and anatomical causes (such as the presence of polyps or a deviated nasal septum), thereby complicating treatment efforts.
Such efforts usually include
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