Deviated Septum refers to the condition where the nasal septum (the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half) is slanted or tilted to one side. The symptoms are typically nasal congestion or stuffiness in one side of the nose. Mild deviated septum is actually very common, 80% of people have it. Moderate to severe deviated septum may lead to nasal problems.
Deviated septum can be typically diagnosed through an X-ray or by nasal endoscopy. Currently, the main treatment for deviated septum is septoplasty, which is a surgical procedure. Due to the surgery involved, quite many people with deviated septum are not keen to undergo the procedure unless it is really serious.
Deviated septum is not a major illness, but the symptoms (of nose congestion) can be very annoying, and also may lead to related problems like sinus infections.
In my personal experience, the deviated septum itself is not the main cause of nose blockage. After all, air molecules are tiny, no matter how narrow is the nose passage, definitely air can pass through it. It is the associated problems of nasal turbinate swelling, and also other nose tissue (such as polyps) swelling and blocking the nose passage that causes the main problem of nasal blockage.
I have compiled a list of natural treatments and remedies that I have personally tried and found to relieve the symptoms of deviated septum. Hope it helps, and if you have other tips, you are welcome to leave a comment below.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding deviated septum or other medical conditions.
1) Nose Unblocking Exercises
I have previously blogged about this on Amazing method to unblock stuffy nose. This should be the first method you try since it is totally free and does not require any special equipment.
Basically, pinch your nose and sway, until you are almost out of breath, then breath in through your nose. This has scientific basis, by allowing carbon dioxide to build up and naturally clear your nose by constricting the blood vessels in your nose.
Another method is Nasal Septum Mobilization invented by Dr Alan Mandell. It is quite a novel method, so far I have only seen it on his YouTube channel and not anywhere else. I think it may work for people with Deviated Septum as a natural remedy. Basically, the way it works is by moving the septum so as to create a “motion” to unblock the nose.
2) Nasal Sinus Rinse or Spray
Due to deviated septum, there is a high chance that mucus / dust particles can get “stuck” on the side of the nose that is narrower. Without help, it can be stuck there for a long time and lead to sinus infections, nose blockage, or allergic reactions.
One way to loosen the mucus and wash away the dirt particles is via Sinus Rinse. This is actually a modern version of Neti Pots, which is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic treatment. The classic brand for Sinus Rinse is NeilMed, which is very convenient with pre-packed saline salts for the sinus rinse. (Rinsing with pure water is not recommended as it will be painful. Adding saline salts will make the rinse more comfortable as it has the same osmotic pressure as the human body.)
A related method to sinus rinse is sinus spray. It is a low-volume method of spraying salt water into the nose. The advantages is that it is more convenient to perform (no need to be near water source or sink). The disadvantage is that it may not be as effective as the high-volume sinus rinse in terms of dislodging particles in the nose.
3) Vicks Inhaler
Vicks inhaler is a menthol-based scented stick, that has the effect of creating a “cooling” effect in the nose, hence immediately creating a sensation of the nose being unblocked. It also has mild decongesting properties. I find that it does reduce the symptoms of nose block due to deviated septum.
The above 3 methods are considered non-medical in nature. Basically, safe to try as long as you follow the instructions in the labels.
4) Decongestants / Anti-histamines
When the nasal blockage is serious, one may try decongestants, which can typically be found in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. An example is pseudoephedrine, which can be found in medications like Robitussin, or Clarityn-D.
Anti-histamines can also help to reduce nasal turbinate swelling due to allergy. (Nasal turbinate swelling, also known as nasal turbinate hypertrophy, makes deviated septum worse by making the already narrow nasal passage even more congested.) Clarityn-D also contains the anti-histamine loratadine.
It is usually not recommended to use Afrin nasal sprays or similar products. It is well known that it can lead to “rebound effect”, meaning that your problem becomes worse when stopping the spray.
The above are just personal natural remedies that I have tried, and found effective in combating deviated septum symptoms. Hope it helps!