Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu (oddharmonic) wrote,
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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Adventures in TENS, or more sinus relief.

As mentioned in previous posts, Vogon has a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit that we've used on my back with great results, but now we've moved to trying it on my sinus pain.

Last night's round of thunderstorms had my left maxillary sinus [1] feeling like something was trying to escape it (think the alien coming out of the guy's chest in Aliens), which is a bit worse than par for my sinus flareups. I took a Tavist in the early evening but still spent most of the evening miserable and fuzzing in and out of alertness.

Somewhere after 2100, Vogon suggested trying the TENS unit to help my muscles relax and help my sinuses drain. (Earlier in the week, he showed me how to physically open where my sinuses open into my nose by using the muscles around my nose, which helps but only when I can concentrate enough to do it.) He applied a facial elctrode pad to each cheek just below the orbital socket and outside the edge of my nose and adjusted the intensity and frequency until we felt it was best for us. (He felt it was too high when I had resonance in my upper teeth, but my teeth are *very* sensitive so it didn't bother me.)

Within a few minutes, my sinuses began draining. The feeling of post-nasal drip flowing freely is -- uck -- nausea-inducing, but the lessened sinus pressure was worth it. When I had it with the nausea and I still wanted to cry from the sinus pain, we stopped the TENS and I took a few minutes in the bathroom to let the nausea win.

After that, I was finally sleepy but still in pain, so Vogon put me to bed with a Tavist, Dramamine (both my regular defense against sinus flareups), a 5-HTP and a melatonin (the combination makes me sleep soundly), half a graham cracker and a glass of water (the former to put something in my stomach, the latter to wash everything down and help rehydrate me). As I was nodding off, I noticed it was only 2340, which was much earlier than I expected it to be. Slept through to 0830, when Laurel woke up and woke me up by patting my head firmly and talking directly into my ear. I've never felt this good so soon after a flareup.

1. Brief anatomy lesson: the maxillary sinuses are behind the cheeks and below the eyes, which is what most people associate with sinus pain. The frontal sinus is in the center of the forehead, the ethmoid sinuses are roughly between the inside of the eye sockets and the bridge of the nose and the sphenoid sinus is further back in the head just in front of and slightly below the pitituary gland. In my case, the majority of my problems are with my maxillary sinuses.
Tags: 615.845_tens, 616.212_sinusitis


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