I have patients that have been told they have a sinus infection, when what is really causing their runny nose and headache is a problem in their neck. I’ve written about sinus infection and a great non-drug way to treat it. Believe it or not, the neck can cause symptoms that look and feel a lot like a sinus infection. Please don’t take my word for it! One of my foundational principles is to educate my patients.
A runny nose is a response to some kind of irritant. The body responds to physical irritation by secreting fluid. If the eye gets something in it or if it get scratched, tears begin to flow. If the back of the heel gets rubbed by a poor fitting shoe, the skin secretes fluid and a blister develops. When the skin gets badly sunburned it blisters.
When there is a problem in the body, messages are sent to the brain about the trouble. Sometimes we “feel” these messages as pain, however most of the time we are never aware of them. It is very common for a person to have some sort of problem for years before they “feel” it. The body has been telling the brain about the problem from the beginning, but it is not until the “volume” gets loud enough that the person becomes aware of it.
When something is wrong in the neck, messages are sent to the brain. As I explained, sometimes a person feels these messages as pain and sometimes a person does not feel anything. These messages cause the brain to tell the neck muscles to tighten up. The brain will continue to send the neck “tighten up” messages 24/7. Often the person is completely unaware of the messages going to and from the brain. Frequently as I am working on my patients they will feel the pain and tightness in an area where they had no idea anything was wrong.
When the brain begins to tell the neck muscles to tighten up, the neurological pieces are in place to cause a sinus condition that is often misdiagnosed as a sinus infection. Check out this short video I put together to explain how this happens:
So how do you know if your runny nose is really neck trouble? Well, did treatment for the sinus infection work? If it did then it probably wasn’t a neck problem. So if the treatment for your sinus infection has not been working, have your neck checked out. Better yet, have your neck checked before you start taking medication!
I’d love to answer your questions and hear your thoughts. Leave a comment here and I will be happy to answer you!