Hope me neti pot correctly
October 15, 2017 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I've read the directions, watched the YouTubes, looked at animations and graphics, but my neti pot fu is still lacking.

My ENT has me doing a neti pot twice daily. Despite following the directions, I'm still having problems. The primary problem is, despite breathing through my mouth, I'm getting saline down my throat. The secondary issue is that the streams from my nostrils tend to end up barely trickles, and often stop completely and only squirt out with each mouth breath.

Any tips and hints would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Thorzdad to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Does placing the back of your tongue up against your palate help? I find that blocks the back of the throat.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:30 PM on October 15, 2017

Are you leaning a bit forward when you tilt your head to the side? Also +1 to the tongue to the palate. Or making a “K” sound, that’s where your tongue should be going.
posted by buttonedup at 5:31 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I usually wind up with the saline-down-throat thing if

1. My nostrils are pretty stuffed up already
2. I am not bending forward enough
3. I am pouring too fast

Usually if I am stuffed up generally I try to do it when I am

- just out of a shower
- sometime after the Sudafed has kicked in

I also sometimes stop and blow my nose as I'm doing it to move the loosened up mucus out of my nose. Do you use Mucinex or one of those other "get the not out of there?" medicines? I've found that using that and drinking a decent amount of water can get my sinuses as ready as they're likely to be. It's possible you're too congested to get much relief, in which case you might want to switch to one of those nasal spray things they have. Not as useful but without the side effects you're having.
posted by jessamyn at 6:06 PM on October 15, 2017

Keep trying? That was my experience when I started using a neti pot -- barely anything would come through, and I'd just end up blowing my nose to get the saline out.

Eventually, though (and I mean weeks and weeks of trying), water started flowing though. I don't think I was doing anything different: while it seems nuts, I think I may have had passages blocked with mucus that took a very long time to rinse clear.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:11 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Agree with jessamyn that if you're totally blocked up, it can be hard to do the saline rinse. It helps to have used Sudafed or Mucinex or even Afrin to open things up for your first successful rinse.

That said, I hate the neti pot, and could never get the hang of it. I do the NeilMed squeezybottle, and it's fabulous. Same concept as neti pot, less drowning feeling. You can get the Starter Kit and use the same packets you have for your neti pot.
posted by radioamy at 6:12 PM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

If your sinuses are mostly blocked, the water will not go though. A steaming hot shower could help unblock them enough so that you can get the water through your nostrils.

Ime, though it isn't bad if the water runs down the back and comes out your mouth instead. In fact I prefer it, as doing this sometimes is the only way to get post-nasal-drip gunk out. I'll literally shoot a clear stream of water through my nostrils, getting out clear mucus, and then tip my head back and a bunch of nasty yellow crap will come out from the top of my throat. Getting that out always makes me feel better.

It's a matter of patience and practice, really. Try out different angles and see what works for you. Neti helped me tremendously. Hope it does the same for you.
posted by Crystal Fox at 6:21 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

How warm is the water in your neti pot? Warmer water gets the gunk out better, I find. Try using the warmest water the inside of your nose can stand. (Don't do anything uncomfortable.)

As previous people have said, tilt your head forward.

Sometimes your nose is just blocked, and it will eventually un-block if you let the warm water dissolve the stuff in it. Sometimes you have to be very, very patient.

I neti pot in the shower, so my head has a chance to steam a bit before I start rinsing it.
posted by Lycaste at 6:32 PM on October 15, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I'm already leaning forward, but the tongue on the palette sounds like something I need to try.

FWIW, I'm not congested. This is to treat excessive sinus drainage.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:50 PM on October 15, 2017

Nthing NeilMed, I found neti fussy in comparison.
posted by smoke at 6:52 PM on October 15, 2017

I use the NeilMed squeeze bottle, can’t imagine trying to wrangle a Neti pot. Just don’t squeeze too hard or you’ll pressurize your ears.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:51 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I struggled with the Neti pot also, and switched to the Nasaline syringe. It is LOADS easier. You have complete control over how quickly you depress the syringe and I don’t have the problems I had with low flow or it trickling down my throat.
posted by jaksemas at 8:04 PM on October 15, 2017

I also came in to say NeliMed squeeze bottle. My 11 year old has chronic sinus issues, and we use it with him with no problem. Slow and steady is part of the trick. You'll feel your sinus fill up (which feels hella weird) and then the water sort of ... tumble ... over to the other side, then the OTHER sinus fills up and THEN it starts to come out the other side. Slow and steady.

I could never use a traditional Neti pot but the squeeze bottle is easy and very intuitive.
posted by anastasiav at 8:54 PM on October 15, 2017

You may not be leaning forward far enough. I find that standing on a small step stool makes it easier to bend over without bumping into the sink.
posted by defreckled at 9:11 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

NeilMed squeeze bottle. I could ever not get the neti pot to make water go up and then down the other nostril -- it would just pour down my throat. The squeeze bottle rocks.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:44 PM on October 15, 2017

you may also have to experiment with your head angle, and your best angle may be different on the left and the right sides. i have to cock my head further to the left when doing my right nostril, because i guess my sinuses are shaped weird? try slooooowly moving your head further to the side in small increments as you pour; you may hit upon the sweet spot.
posted by halation at 5:20 AM on October 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't agree with the stop-and-blow advice. Blowing right after using the neti pot tends to give me some nasty nosebleeds, and occasional ear-clogging from back pressure.

(I think the netipot box warns about blowing out your eardrum or something, but that feels more like a "our lawyers made us put this warning on so you can't sue us" )

I do agree with hot-hot-hot water (maybe a tad bit hotter than you can stand -- tears help flush the sinuses too), trying to figure out the right head-tilt angle for your body, and spitting rather than swallowing the saline (because yuk)
posted by k5.user at 6:55 AM on October 16, 2017

I haven't seen anyone suggest this, so from a 15-year-or-so neti pot user: Breathe in before you start, and hold it. Then, as you start pouring the water into your nostril, breathe out slowly through your mouth. This helps me get the water starting to flow through my nose.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:02 AM on October 16, 2017

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