I have some medical training and have a theory on this that I'd like to share. I have this condition myself as well.
Here is what I believe is happening:
1) The nasal membrane becomes inflamed (fills with blood), caused by any stimulus. The stimulus could be almost anything and will vary by person (e.g. exercise, temperature, etc), but one common cause may be that the immune system is on high alert
due to the body being in a run-down state, e.g. low on sleep, so that any normal stimulation like exercise or even just walking around outside, will cause it to sense something normal in the air and wildly overreact to it because it was already just waiting to find something that could be a cause of your run-down state. So now it's sensed something in the air at the same time that you got slightly more tired than before due to the walking / exercise, and it associates the two because of that, incorrectly, and panics and calls in the body for help by requesting increased blood flow. This is similar to the way in which your digestive tract will overreact to almost anything in your food when you're feeling run-down, and invoke diarrhea, because it's thinking, "what's going on? Why is the body tired? Is there a food contaminant in me? Let's look for anything that could possibly be a contaminant, and if anything even slightly unusual is found, flush the system". In the cause of the nose, the reaction is essentially the same: fill with blood to bring white blood cells to the site, and flush the system via mucus which occurs when more blood reaches the nose.
2) So now you have increased blood supply to the nose (inflammation), and greatly enhanced mucus production, usually watery mucus, purposely because thick mucus wouldn't be very good at flushing anything out of the nose. This state you're in is essentially what's known as vasomotor rhinitis, which just means that something has caused the nose to request increased blood supply and start producing mucus. Nearby areas can also do the same thing, such as the eyes
3) However in persons with a deviated septum, one of the turbinates (the one on the side the septum is deviated toward) will now begin touching the septum, because the turbinate is now larger than usual because it's filled with all the blood it's requested. This causes the nasal membrance of the turbinate to panic and say, "I feel it! I feel the invader we were looking for!" because its nerves feel the septum touching it and misidentify the feeling as feeling a foreign body in the nose. The turbinate nerves that are feeling the septum will send out a tingling feeling because any time the body feels something foreign on it that needs removal, it will tingle or itch hoping you scratch it. The reason scratching an itch provides itch relief, is that the small amount of sting you apply to the area with your fingernails registers as pain, which is a higher priority sensation than a tingle, so the nerves will start sending the pain sensation to the brain instead, causing the itch to stop (they can't send two sensations at once). So the system is designed that way, it wants you to scratch to remove the foreign body, so it starts tingling. However an internal itch, like one in the nose, isn't accessible to your fingernails like your skin is. Even if you could reach it, the "foreign body" in this case does not exist, it's your own septum. And because you're unable to stop the septum from touching the inflamed turbinate, a cycle is created: the nasal membrane was inflamed (filled with blood), the turbinate swelled from the blood, the enlarged turbinate touched the deviated septum, the turbinate became more irritated from touching the septum because it was on high alert
already, the turbinate begin to tingle in reaction to the "foreign body" it perceived touching it, and now the irritation (tingling) causes the body to continue the heightened blood flow to the area and increase the mucus production on that one side even more than before. Because the turbinate won't stop touching the septum, it will continue producing mucus trying vainly to flush out a foreign body, and continue requesting more blood. I call this septal rhinitis, because apparently there is no existent name for it.
So now, what to do about
There are two things in need of addressing in order to make the you feel better:
1) You want the watery mucus (runny nose) to stop
2) You want the annoying tingling to stop
However the tingling is preventing the mucus from stopping, so we can disregard #1 and focus on #2. Here are ways to stop the tingling. These are mostly already mentioned in this thread, I'm just putting them in one place and explaining why and when they'll work.
1) You can stop the tingling temporarily by "scratching the itch" chemically. Apple cider vinegar steam, icy hot, and various other things mentioned in this thread are all ways to do this. The hope is that the tingling will stop long enough for the turbinate to begin unswelling, and by the time the sting from the chemical subsides the turbinate will now be small enough to no longer touch the septum. This may or may not be the case, it depends how deviated your septum is, and how swollen it was to begin with; therefore it will vary not just with person, but even over time. One day this might work temporarily (20 minutes or less) because turbinate doesn't unswell enough in time before the sting that replaced the tingle dies down, another day it might totally fix the issue because the turbinate does unswell enough in time. Of course, you could just sit there inhaling apple cider vinegar steam for 3 hours straight if you really wanted to, thereby giving the turbinate a huge amount of time to unswell; that should work in theory. But keep your head upright because keeping your face downward increases blood in the nose due to gravity
2) You can stop the tingling by physically separating the turbinate from the septum manually. You can actually reach up your nostril far enough with your finger to add additional space. This is possible because although the septum contains bone, the front of it is cartilege which is pliable. You only have to reach up about
an inch. You will know if you've reached far enough because it will hurt slightly because of the passageway narrowing (which is because you're feeling your septum), and after you remove your finger that nostril should have increased airflow. This can cause immediate relief from tingling if it works, however the spacing may go right back to where it was a while later, or 10 seconds later, so like the first solution it may or may not last long enough for the turbinate to have unswollen. Wash your hair before doing this. Also, obviously, if it hurts a lot then stop and try something else
3) You can stop the tingling by physical separating the turbinate from the septum another way, by using a breathing strip that pulls the outside of the nose, including the base of the turbinate, away from the center where the septum is. Whether this works will depend on the narrowness of the bridge of your nose, how swollen the turbinate is, and how deviated the septum is. Keep the strip on until the turbinate has unswelled. You'll know when this is the case because your nose won't have run at all for an hour or more. While you're doing this, although this should go without saying, don't run around outside or do whatever it was that started all of this, because you'll only be reaggraving your nose and not allowing the turbinate to unswell
4) You can stop the tingling by physical separating the turbinate from the septum another way, by pushing a cylinder of tissue up both nostrils. Both nostrils is important because if you only do one, and you accidentally breathe through the other, the air flow will still be slightly irritating your nasal membrane because it's on high alert
, so it's better to plug both and breathe through your mouth. It's hard to tell with this method when it's ok to take them out, because you won't know when your nose has stopped running. Obviously though, if you need to keep replacing the tissues because they're gradually getting wet, it hasn't stopped running. I recommend leaving the tissues in for at least 2 hours nonstop. This method will be effective in reducing both tingling and runniness, but may or may not fix the condition because it doesn't separate the turbinate and septum very well, unless you force the tissue higher up into the nose, but in that case then the tissue would be irritating the turbinate like the septum was (though at least the tissue is softer). When doing this and breathing through your mouth, it helps to close the back of your nose as well by closing your nasopharynx (to do this, basically tense the back of your mouth slightly). This is so that air doesn't flow into the nose from either the front or the back, reducing irritation
5) You can stop the tingling and the inflammation in one go, by chemically reducing the inflammation (Advil, Sudafed, nasal sprays, etc). Nasal sprays may not work because the mucus may flush them right out of the nose before they can take effect, but you can try stopping the mucus first with method 1 (icy hot, vinegar steam, etc) before applying the spray
6) You can reduce the tingling by not thinking about
it, in theory, and by reducing anxiety. This is not a cure, but it can help
Also, here is what not to do:
1) Do not keep blowing your nose, you'll only be re-irritating it
2) Do not be around pets, smoke, pollen, etc once you're already in this state, even if you have no allergies, because from the body's perspective "when you're under attack, everything looks like an enemy"
3) Don't go exercise, walk outside in cold air, etc, when you're already in this state, even if you have a breathing strip on or tissues in your nose
4) Don't stay up late, or wake up early, when you're already in this state
Once you have stopped the tingling and the turbinate has subsided its swelling, I recommend lots of sleep. If you are using method 4 above for stopping the tingling (having tissues up your nose) and every time you take the tissues out it starts running again, don't worry, just go to sleep with the tissues still in your nose. Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory, and since you won't feel a tingle in your sleep, the cycle of a tingle keeping the blood flow high will also be broken. Of course the sleep will also fix the run-down state that started this whole thing. After a good night's sleep you should feel probably about
1/3 better. Therefore after about
3 good nights' sleeps in a row you should be at 100% with no nasal problems at all.
But all of that only fixes the problem this time, it doesn't prevent it from ever happening again. For that you'll need to either get your deviated septum surgically repaired, or stop being low on sleep in the first place. If you do opt for septum surgery, make sure you never get a "turbinate reduction" which will often be in the fine print, because of the risk of what's known as "empty nose syndrome", a terrible condition which can even make people suicidal. Also, all surgery has risks, and septum surgery fails a fairly high percentage of the time, making the nose worse than before as well. So I recommend against having any surgery.
Post Edited (radicchio) : 3/3/2017 11:50:58 PM (GMT-7)