Unfortunately, I didn't manage to avoid the current cold ripping its way through the population of Durham. A terrible head cold this thing is. Today my head was miserably stuffy, despite dosing with cold meds and Advil. Then I remembered my Neti Pot, and foraged through the shelves in the pantry and found it there in its box from when I used it last--maybe 2 years ago when I had my last headcold.
If you haven't heard of one, just let me say I was a skeptic at first too. And let's face it, there's a bit of a 'yuck' factor too.
It's a little pot that looks like a genie's lamp. Mine looks like this, purchased from Whole Foods for less than $10:
Fill it with a quarter teaspoon of salt and warm water to make a saline solution. Then lean over the sink with your head turned, pour the warm saline through the top nostril (remember your head is turned)--miraculously (or more like gravity) the saline travels through to your bottom nostril and comes out. Do it with the other side, and then you can BREATHE again. No, it doesn't hurt. Not at all. Yes, you can easily breathe through your mouth for the few seconds it takes.
Here's sort of what it looks like in action:
Here's an online demonstration I found on youtube:
I only use it when I have a headcold and it's always been easy for me to use. It's supposed to be good for people with sinus trouble or allergies, but I'm not a doctor so you'd have to ask your doctor about that I suppose.
There are some drops of herbal medicines for sale you can put in it if you want, but mainly the saline and warm water do the trick for me. I do it several times a day when my nose is uncomfortably stuffy.