How to Breathe Better: Long-Lasting Relief From Nasal Airway Obstruction

If breathing easy isn’t exactly—well, easy—for you, it could be due to airway obstruction.


Are you asking yourself, what are the reasons why I can’t breathe well or through my nose?


Nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis, and chronic rhinitis are a few of the most common culprits.


These conditions are often interrelated, occurring in combination, and present with very similar symptoms.. But of course, there are differences, and the particular cause or causes contributing to airway obstruction will help determine the best course of treatment.


Nasal airway obstruction is a common and often undiagnosed condition.
In fact, an estimated 20,000,000 Americans suffer from nasal airway obstruction.


Here, we’ll take a closer look, and gain a better understanding of nasal airway obstruction—some possible causes, symptoms, and what you can do to help breathe better and achieve relief.


Nasal Obstruction Overview
Nasal obstruction is a blockage of your nose or nasal cavity or passageways and the inability to breathe and pass air through the nasal passages.


Breathing discomfort can seriously affect quality of life, and nasal obstruction is one of the most common reasons people visit at ENT doctor.


In some cases, nasal obstruction is only temporary and may be caused by a cold, sinus infection (short-term or acute), allergies, or medications.

However, in other cases of nasal obstructions, medical intervention may be required. This is often true for patients with other conditions affecting the nose and/or sinuses.


Such conditions can frequently include (among others):

  • Septal deviation
  • Inferior turbinate hypertrophy
  • Nasal valve collapse

Common Symptoms

Patients with nasal obstruction frequently report an inability or decreased ability to breathe through one side or both sides their nose.


Common Symptoms of Nasal Obstruction:

  • Trouble breathing through your nose, or a “blocked” feeling
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty sleeping, leading to fatigue
  • Struggling to breathe through your nose during exercise
  • Frequent “mouth breathing”

What Causes Nasal Airway Obstruction? 

As mentioned previously, there are a number potential causes and factors that can contribute to nasal obstruction. In most cases, nasal obstruction is due to abnormalities in the anatomy of the nose. 


Nasal airway obstruction is caused by an anatomical narrowing or blockage in the nasal airway that can hinder airflow and make it feel difficult or nearly impossible to breathe through your nose.


These abnormalities in the normal structure may result from:  

1) Structural changes—that lead to blockage of the nasal passage (stemming from normal development or trauma).

2) Inflammatory changes—that can lead to swelling and enlargement of the tissues in the nose.


More specifically, a few of the most common causes include:

  • Deviated nasal septum: The nasal septum is the wall-like structure dividing your right and left nostrils. When one is crooked, it’s called a deviated septum. Symptoms can include a runny nose and a hard time breathing through your nose (particularly in one nostril).
  • Oversized adenoids: Adenoids are glands that sit above the roof of your mouth behind your nose. When oversized, they can lead to breathing problems and snoring.

  • Nasal polyps: These are painless, soft, noncancerous growths on the lining of your sinuses or nasal passages, obstructing airflow. 

  • Congenital defects, such as Choanal atresia: a congenital defect (meaning a condition or structural anomaly you were born with) where you have extra tissue in your nasal airway that’s causing a full or partial blockage, making it difficult to breathe.

  • Inferior turbinate hypertrophy: Turbinates are bony structures within your nasal cavity that are vulnerable to irritation from dust and allergies. Hypertrophy refers to enlargement, or an increased size of the turbinates, which can lead to swelling and difficulty breathing.

  • Nasal valve problems: Your nasal valve can become weak or collapse for a variety of reasons, causing nasal obstruction. The nasal valve can become narrowed because of normal development. It can also collapse because of prior nasal procedures. This might occur when the cartilage that supports your valve is inadvertently weakened from a prior surgical procedure.

Treatment Options

Some patients respond well to medications, and some can benefit from an invasive surgery. 


The right treatment option depends on each individual patient and the particular underlying core causes, which can be assessed by your doctor. The complexity of a patient’s individual situation varies and will determine the most appropriate course of action.


Medications and home remedies can offer comfort. However, medications might only offer temporary relief, and surgery isn’t always the best option for every patient. 


For many patients struggling with chronic nasal obstruction, remodeling the nasal airway is a proven way to find lasting relief. 


VivAer treatment can be one such treatment option to help alleviate the condition. With VivAer, patients can get significant, lasting relief with a non-invasive, office-friendly treatment.



VivAer is a non-invasive treatment solution for nasal airway obstruction. It enables physicians to effectively treat the core causes of nasal away obstruction. 


It is an advanced, compact, touch-screen medical device that can be paired with the VivAer stylus (a pen-like implement) to deliver precise, tissue-sparing, temperature-controlled radiofrequency (RF). It’s efficient and effective, using smart, cutting edge technology to deliver results—maximum benefits for patients with minimal pain, trauma, risk, and recovery. The same device can also be paired with the RhinAer stylus to treat chronic rhinitis (look for a post with more details on this topic/application coming soon). 


Benefits include: 

  • Single solution treatment
  • Can be used to treat the lateral wall, inferior turbinate, and septal swell body 
  • Durably remodels soft tissue, including cartilage, in the nasal valve
  • Does not alter patient aesthetics
  • Requires no incisions and can be performed under local anesthesia
  • Can be performed right in your doctor’s office 

How it Works 

During treatment, your ENT physician will first apply local anesthesia to numb the inside of your nose and then insert a small wand into your nostril to precisely target and treat the blockage.


The tip of the wand uses low-temperature radiofrequency (RF) energy to gently remodel your nasal passage to improve airflow. 

The treatment has minimal discomfort, and once it’s finished, you can typically get right back to your normal daily activities.


The VivAeir treatment for nasal obstruction is a treatment that provides long-lasting relief and is clinically proven. In fact, 97% of patients reported sustained reduction in nasal obstruction symptoms through two years. The vast majority of patients also reported improved ability to get air through their nose during exercise or exertion, as well as a better night’s sleep. 


Who Can Benefit From VivAer? 

VivAer can help a wide range of patients breathe more freely. The best way to get diagnosed is to speak to your doctor about your symptoms and ask if VivAer is right for you.


It may not be the right treatment for everyone, but nasal obstruction is possible and there are a variety of other treatment approaches that can help and best suit your needs. 


Trouble breathing that’s affecting your quality of life? Not sure or suspect you may have nasal airway obstruction? 


If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis or other symptoms that are keeping you from breathing freely, we can help you identify the cause and find a treatment approach that’s right for you. 


Contact our office to learn more and schedule a consultation. The path to long-lasting relief is within reach. Call today!