Monday, April 22, 2024

Can Migraines Cause Sinus Pain

Does It Make Sense To Try Home Sinus Remedies

Sinus Headaches: Causes & Treatment

If you suspect that you are experiencing sinusitis, there are a few things you can do to improve the symptoms, including headache, says Rajneesh. But if your efforts to relieve your symptoms are unsuccessful, consider seeing a doctor to help diagnose whats causing them.

Use a humidifier. By humidifying the air, you can get a decrease in sinus pressure, which should translate into decreased incidence of headaches, says Rajneesh.

Drink plenty of water. Hydrating is important, because it can help keep the mucus thin and loose, which can decrease infection and irritation, says Rajneesh.

Use a neti pot, but make sure youre using it correctly. A neti pot is a ceramic vessel with a spout that can be used to flush out nasal passages to relieve congested sinuses. Research published in 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that people with chronic sinusitis who used a neti pot with a salt solution saw improvement in symptoms, including fewer headaches, and less use of over-the-counter medications.

Researchers also looked at people who inhaled steam this group had improvement in headaches as well, although no improvement was seen in any other sinus symptoms.

Try over-the-counter pain relievers.Analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain of a sinus headache. A nasal decongestant or steroid spray may help alleviate discomfort as well.

Spice Up Your Diet To Ease Sinus Pressure

Many people find that spicy food like peppers or hot mustard opens up their nasal passages and gives them some relief from sinus pain. There is good evidence that capsaicin, which is the active ingredient found in chile peppers, is effective in relieving some types of pain, says Das. Capsaicin preparations have been investigated for the treatment of some facial pain syndromes and of rhinitis with promising results. But if you have the taste for them, you can try spicy foods to help with sinus discomfort.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Migraine And Sinus Headache

The exact reason why a person has migraine isnt known, but itâs believed to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors, says Kiran Rajneesh, MBBS, a neurologist and pain medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. By genetics we mean something that youre born with a propensity for headaches that includes family history or mutations that involve certain channels in the brain, Dr. Rajneesh says.

Migraine is most common in people ages 18 to 44, and women are about three times more likely to have migraine than men, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

People are born with some propensity for migraine, and then there is a threshold for symptom attacks people can reach that threshold when they are exposed to certain environmental factors or lifestyle changes, says Rajneesh. These can include certain foods, drinks, lack of sleep, or even changes in the weather, he says.

A sinus headache is a symptom of a sinus infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the risk factors for sinus infection can include a previous cold, seasonal allergies, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, structural problems with the sinuses such as nasal polyps, and a weak immune system or medications that compromise the immune system.

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Can A Sinus Headache Cause A Migraine

A common misconception is that sinusitis triggers migraines , but that isnt likely to happen. Sinusitis originates in a different region of the body than migraine and they are not necessarily connected However, the two conditions do share the same nerves that can be stimulated, and they do both produce many of the same chemicals in the body during an attack. There are certain signs that can help distinguish between the two and knowing this can help facilitate appropriate treatment of the condition that is present.

Dr. Ailani explains how easy it can be to mistake a migraine for a sinus headache:

With a sinus infection, you will often have a fever, bright colored mucus from the nose in large amounts, and pain that is worse when you lay down . You may notice the pain is worse in the morning after sleeping for several hours. Occasionally, someone may have a chronic sinus infection, something that has been going on for several months. In this case, a person may not have any symptoms, and may not have a headache either.

If you have a severe headache with sinus type symptoms and also have light or sound sensitivity, upset stomach, lack of appetite, and no fever, and you notice the pain resolves in 4-36 hours- this may be a migraine. If you notice the pain improves when laying in a dark, quiet room, or when taking over the counter pain medication, this again goes along with migraine.

Diagnostic Criteria For Rhinosinusitis

Types of Headache

To compare, the American Academy of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery focuses a diagnosis of rhinosinusitis on infectious etiology. The criteria require a person to have the symptoms of facial pain-pressure-fullness, combined with nasal obstruction. The common problem with this criteria is that clinicians do not focus on the critical distinguishing feature of purulent discharge. Therefore, clinicians often diagnose people with facial pain and pressure as having rhinosinusitis, overlooking the criteria of nasal congestion and purulent discharge. Others mistake excessive nasal secretions for purulent discharge.

The lack of rigor in documenting rhinosinusitis criteria leads to misdiagnosis because migraine can create facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion, and rhinorrhea. Such presentations were supported by a study of 2,991 patients with self-described or physician-diagnosed sinus headache, with the majority of symptoms reported being sinus pressure , sinus pain , and nasal congestion . Researchers found 88% of patients met the International Headache Society criteria for migraine or probable migraine. In another study of 47 patients with IHS defined migraine, 74% reported nasal stuffiness and 60% reported rhinorrhea with their headaches.

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How Symptoms Of Vh Can Be Mistaken For Sinus Headaches

When the eyes are no longer aligned vertically, the brain forces the extraocular muscles to work overtime to correct this problem in an effort to avoid double vision. The longer the muscles are compelled to do this, the more fatigued and overworked they become, at which point the symptoms of VH start to come to the forefront. The overworked eye muscles cause head pain, which can be focused around the eyes, sinuses, forehead and temples. This pain is very similar to that felt with a sinus infection or headache, which is why many patients who unknowingly have VH are misdiagnosed as having chronic sinus headaches.

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Can Thyroid Issues Cause Sinus Problems

Post-nasal drip, sinus headaches, and nasal congestion are symptoms that most people experience at some point in their lives. Yet, people with thyroid disease may be more likely to have these symptoms. Here is a look at why your sinus troubles may be yet another symptom of hypothyroidismâas if there werenât already enough!

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What Does A Sinus Headache Feel Like

Sinus headaches are headaches that may feel like an infection in the sinuses . You may feel pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead. Perhaps your head throbs. However, many people who assume they have headaches from sinusitis, including many who have received such a diagnosis, actually have migraines.

How Do You Treat A Sinus Headache

Sinus Drainage & Headache Relief Exercises | Sinusitis & Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Help | #1

The key to treating a sinus headache is to address the underlying cause.

Sinus headaches can be caused by chronic allergies.

If your sinus problems are related to allergies, weve got extensive treatment options available to you. We offer allergy testing and treatment, as well as treatments such as sublingual immunotherapy.

However, for temporary relief, we recommend the following:

Neti pots are particularly effective. However, you must be sure that they remain sanitary. Be sure to carefully follow the directions.

Drink water

Hydrating yourself helps thin the mucus lining. Likewise, youll want to avoid things like caffeine or alcohol that can cause dehydration.


Your body is busy fighting an infection. Give it the rest it needs so your immune system can do its job.


Breathing in steam from a hot shower can help. You may also try putting a warm, wet towel on your face, and then follow it with a cool towel. This can not only help alleviate pain, but it can open up your nasal passages.

Use a humidifier

Adding moisture to the air can reduce congestion. Likewise, you should avoid dry air, tobacco smoke and other things that can irritate your nasal passages.

Over-the-counter medication

We can give you an idea of some of the best ones to try.

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Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute

There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:

  • Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
  • Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
  • Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.

Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.

For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.

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How Is A Sinus Headache Different From A Migraine Attack

Whereas a sinus headache is a result of pressure on the nasal walls, migraine attacks originate in the brain, says Rajneesh. Theres often a clear association in a person who has a history of allergies, and then their allergies flare up, which then leads to headaches, and the headache is usually frontal, he says.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, people with allergic rhinitis are more than 10 times more likely to have migraine.

Although both migraine and a sinus headache can come with a runny nose, with migraine the discharge is usually clear, whereas in a headache that comes with sinusitis, it can be colored or foul smelling, says Rajneesh.

Migraine attacks are often associated with other symptoms besides a headache, which can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity, according to Weber. Some migraine patients have an aura, typically visual, with spots, lights, or colors prior to the onset of a migraine attack, he says.

How a Migraine Attack Unfolds

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Are Sinus Headache And Migraine Easily Confused

Yes, they are according to the research. The pattern of migraine pain is different for individual patients. While the most easily recognized migraine headaches are localized to one side of the head, many patients feel pain or pressure on both sides, or in the neck or sinuses. This is because all of these areas are innervated by branches of the nerve that are most involved in migraine. For patients with sinus symptoms the most frequent patterns of pain and pressure are across the forehead and behind the eyes, but any sinus area or combination is possible.

A study called SAMS recruited the first 100 people to respond to their local ad. The ad asked those to come forward who believed they had sinus headache. Each participant was carefully examined in a 90-minute evaluation and imaging tests were conducted.

The findings showed that most of them had been wrongly diagnosed and in fact had a diagnosis of migraine.

How Are Sinus Headaches Diagnosed

Sinus Strain Headache Left Facet

Most of the time when people diagnose themselves with a sinus headache, its really a migraine. So, its important to see your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe or ongoing, you may also need imaging tests. A magnetic resonance imaging test can rule out serious brain conditions. Multiple imaging tests can reveal sinus blockages and include:

  • Computed tomography scan.
  • Nasal endoscopy .

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Common Questions About Sinus Headaches

How can you tell the difference between a sinus headache and a migraine?

A few things to look out for with a sinus headache include yellow mucus drainage, bad breath and a fever. A migraine would more likely lead to clear nasal drainage, nausea, plus sensitivity to light.

Can you have a sinus headache without congestion?

If you are not congested, it is unlikely that you have a sinus headache. A buildup of mucus in the sinuses is a primary cause of a sinus headache, so you should expect to feel congested.

Sinus Headache Relief Is Available

If you or your child suffer from sinus headaches, Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center is here to diagnose the problem and offer the solutions you are most comfortable with.

We work with adult and pediatric patients at our allergy clinic locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek Call today to request an appointment at .

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Why Is My Sinus Not Going Away

It’s possible for an acute sinus infection to develop into a chronic infection over time. However, most chronic sinus infections are caused by: Problems with the physical structure of your sinuses such as nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum. Allergies such as hay fever that cause inflammation.

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How Long Do Sinus Headaches Last

Viruses cause most sinus infections. A viral sinus infection typically resolves on its own. Similar to how the common cold clears up by itself, your sinus headache should feel better within about a week. If it doesnt go away, see your healthcare provider. You may have a bacterial or fungal sinus infection that requires medication.

What Is A Migraine Attack

Can sinus headache occur without congestion? – Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy T M

Migraine is a common primary headache disorder . In essence they are the result of a neurological malfunction that is thought to originate in the brain stem. Medical scientists and researchers still arent exactly sure what causes a migraine attack.

Leading theories relate to hyperexcitability within certain areas of the brain or a disorder from the brain stem which triggers the migraine attack.

The brain stem is a small but extremely important part of the brain. It allows the nerve connections of the motor and sensory system to pass from the brain to the body. This controls bodily sensations and movement.

At the start of an attack, chemical changes are thought to develop in the brainstem which triggers a series of reactions causing the brain to respond abnormally to otherwise normal signals. The result from this hypersensitive response could be migraine.

Interestingly, at least 50% of people who experience migraine still have not been diagnosed.

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Treating Sinus Headaches And Migraines

Despite their similarities, sinus headaches and migraines may be treated differently. For sinus headaches, treating the underlying sinus infection can usually resolve the headache. Taking over the counter headache medications can also help with the pain and inflammation of sinus headaches.

Because migraines are more complex, they may not respond to conventional OTC pain relievers. While some prescription migraine medications are designed to provide relief once a migraine has started, others prevent them by addressing the underlying physiology

Talking To Your Doctor About Your Headaches

Your search for a migraine diagnosis and relief from your headaches usually begins with your primary care provider. He or she may send you to several specialists before you get answers, or you may go directly to a headache specialist or neurologist. In other words, you may find that you are repeating yourself to each new doctor. Dont let this discourage you. Sometimes it takes a little digging and searching to get answers, but it is worth it. Create your own headache file with notes and documentation from doctors visits and tests as well as your migraine diary.

Dr. Ailani has this advice: Keep track of your headaches, write down when they happen, how long they last, and what symptoms come with the headache.

She also recommends noting specific characteristics of your headache or migraine by considering these questions:

  • Do you prefer to be in the dark, or in a quiet area with a headache?
  • Do you find your stomach gets upset and smells bother you?
  • Would you prefer to sleep if you could?
  • Do your headaches last several hours or several days?
  • Have your parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, grandparents, and cousins ever had headaches? Migraines tend to run in families, but most families dont discuss this.
  • What have you tried for your headaches? What works or does not work?
  • How have your headaches changed over time?

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Causes Of Sinus Headaches

A sinus headache is caused by sinusitis, which occurs when theres a mucus buildup in the sinuses, giving bacteria, viruses, or fungus an opportunity to grow there and cause an infection. As the sinus cavities swell and fill up with liquid, they can cause tenderness and pain in the face.

These are some of the causes of sinusitis:

  • Respiratory infections, with the common cold and flu being the most frequent culprit
  • Allergies, such as hay fever
  • Swelling, bone spurs, polyps, or tumors in the nasal passage, which can block the sinuses from draining properly
  • A deviated septum or cleft palate, which can also affect the draining of the sinuses
  • Flying or climbing to high altitudes, which can cause the mucosal lining in the sinuses to become swollen due to the differences in atmospheric pressure
  • Frequently swimming or diving, which can cause irritation in the sinuses

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