Surfer’s Sinusitis “The NETI POT”
I receive quite a few email about treating surfers sinusitis with the Neti Pot and how exactly to sinus flush. Hopefully the Net pot in action picture is not viewed during dinner. I can see the scenario now, the Midwestern starlet comes to Hollywood hoping to make it big and her first break is nasal irrigation. Dream big! Here are a couple emails and my response that hopefully will better describe the sinus flush and the Neti Pot:
Hello Dr. Jude,
I’m an acupuncturist/Surfer in Long Island, New York. Wild, we do actually have waves and a great surf scene. I’ve noticed among my patients and also among my fellow surf family that the Neti Pot is awesome to use after surfing and pretty much before bed time if you are experiencing chronic sinusitis. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Neti-pot. Its a ceramic little tea pot looking thing and you place bottled water in it with a bit of sea salt and you gentle place it in one nostril and coordinate your head and lean back so that the saline solution can fill the sinus and drain from the other nostril over your sink.
I do this every time I surf and when the weather dries me out in winter… so far so good all is well.
(Not to shabby, Swellmagnet has a New York contingency. Hey Pie, Surf where you live Kook! Just kidding, welcome to the South Bay waves, check out El Porto next time you land at LAX)
Dear Dr. Jude,
I am a long-term surfer, living and working here in LA for the past 10 years. I have been surfing religiously since 1989, but over the past 8 years I’ve found myself increasingly sensitive to changes in the water, especially around here (venice/SoBay).
At first it was reactions to obvious/thick red tide with multi-day screaching headaches; total sinus blockage without drainage and sneezing. Now, any sign of redtide in neighboring water (playa del rey for example) sets me off. when the water’s opacity changes (and signals the presence of some bacteria or algea?) the symptoms return. There have been many days where the water appeared normal, just a little murky perhaps, and i got sick. i confess i’ve had trouble keeping myself out of the water, unless it was clearly red or the waves were truly awful.
It always seems to take about 10-15 hours for the symptoms to fully manifest, meaning, i get no sleep, since it always strikes at night. my sensitivity has intensified and the congestion/headache is pretty much chronic. my ears have been crackling for months and months.
I have no preexisting allergies of any kind, that i know of.
Medication-wise, I’ve taken benadryl and claritin and various inhalers at times, over the years. But pseudoephedrine makes me feel like i am going crazy with amplified nervousness and the inhalers are short-term.
I am pushing 40 now and after almost 10 years of returning/chronic sinus irritation and infection, I’m beginning to get paranoid that a more serious condition/damage could be in the works.
Any thoughts/recommendations would be truly appreciated! Thank you for your time.
Here is my reply to the last email
Thanks for the email.
Your symptoms, nicely described, definitely put your diagnosis as chronic sinusitis.Your treatment plan is currently reactive. You plan to only treat the symptoms when they pop up. To optimize this plan, I would add 600mg of Motrin three times a day when the symptoms return. This will help with the raging headache and frontal sinus pressure. Also, Sudafed has various over the counter derivatives that you might find helpful; this drug and the related drugs really help dry up your sinuses after your sessions.
So here is my advice, if you want to keep surfing beyond 40 years you need to be PROACTIVE about your health. The one simplest solution for your chronic sinusitis is the Speedo competition nose clip. The Speedo clip has a tighter grip than the others on the market which helps with duck diving and wipeouts. Amazon sells these clips; purchase a few because the shipping cost usually equals the $3.00 cost for the clip and they do tend to disappear. I absolutely guarantee that if you wear a nose clip every time you surf you will never have another surfer related episode of sinusitis. You probably already read my article but just in case you have not, check it out:
The only other proactive solution to your sinusitis is nasal irrigation with the Neti pot after every session. Nasal irrigation works great: turn you head so it’s parallel to the ground dump the water from the Neti pot into one nostril and let it drain through the other nostril. Youtube demonstrates nasal irrigation but start with wikipedia here:
So most important: purchase the Speedo nose clips right away and your sinus problems will resolve. Give the Neti pot a try, the nasal irrigation will clear your sinuses but the flush takes a little getting used to.
Email me back with an update or any questions.Surf Safe!
More info on the "Neti Pot"
About 50% of the emails I receive are from surfers with sinusitis so hopefully we can put this topic to rest.
To learn how to use the Neti pot, with an added laugh bonus, take a look at this youtube clip (its hilarious):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQm7YpxgOnA&feature=related Email Dr. Jude with your questions