How Do I Know If My Headache Is Migraine Or Sinus Headache
So, how do you know if your headache is migraine and not sinus? Go beyond the nasal and sinus congestion and the facial pain and pressure look for a headache associated with the inability to function normally at work, school, home or social functions, nausea, sensitivity to light and triggers such as weather change, menstrual cycle, and stress . Significantly, it is commonly thought that weather change often causes sinus headache when weather change is a common trigger for migraine.
You can also ask yourself the following questions from the ID Migraine Questionnaire developed by Dr. Richard Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine:
- In the past three months, how disabling are your headaches? Do they interfere with your ability to function?
- Do you ever feel nausea when you have a headache?
- Do you become sensitive to light while you have a headache?
If you answer yes to two of the above three criteria, migraine is likely 93% of the time. If you answer yes to all three, a migraine diagnosis is 98% likely.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.
What Are Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches and migraines are easy to confuse because their signs and symptoms may overlap.
Sinus infections tend to display certain telltale signs, usually occurring after a viral upper respiratory infection or cold and starting with thick discoloured mucus and sometimes even a fever. Lying down may worsen sinus headaches. This is because there is increased blood flow in the blood vessels of your sinuses due to blood pressure changes when lying down, which causes sinus congestion, pressure and pain. In addition, gravity is no longer helping your sinuses drain and mucus may pool in the back of your throat, irritating the tissue and causing a worse sinus infection
If youve got a chronic sinus infection, you may find this to be a recurring problem that causes discomfort over several months. But if youre lucky, you may not experience any symptoms or have a headache.
Common symptoms of a sinus headache include:
- Pain, pressure and fullness in your cheeks, brow or forehead
- Pain getting worse when you lean forward or lie down
- Discoloured nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
- Foul-smelling breath
How Can A Chiropractor Help With Headaches
According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic treatment is efficient for individuals suffering from chronic headaches. Chiropractic practices such as spinal adjustments can improve acute or chronic neck pain, reducing pain associated with headaches.
What is the first thing you do for a headache? When people get headaches, they often pop a pill and wait for the pain to go away, leading to adverse side effects over time, which does more harm than good.
But you dont need to worry, as there is a better and drug-free solution, chiropractic treatment. Research has shown that chiropractic care is an efficient treatment for all kinds of headaches. For example, a 2014 report from the JMPT indicated that particular chiropractic techniques have resulted in better outcomes for individuals with Cervicogenic, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches.
If you or someone you know experiences any kind of headache, or wants to know the difference between tension headaches, sinus headaches, and migraines, please send them over to Elite Motion and Performance to check out our unique South Austin Sports Chiropractor services, so that they do not have to suffer any longer!
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What Type Of Headache Do You Have
Headaches are familiar to nearly everyone: in any given year, almost 90% of men and 95% of women have at least one. In the vast majority of cases, however, the pain isn’t an omen of some terrible disease. The three most common types of headaches are tension, sinus, and migraine. The most common headache triggers are stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, and caffeine withdrawal.
Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
What most people dont realize is that true sinus headaches are actually quite uncommon and are often over diagnosed or misdiagnosed. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, often due to a bacterial infection. The sinuses are air pockets that are situated at certain points in the facial bones. Scientists are not certain the exact purpose of sinuses. Some believe that it helps enhance the voice through resonation while others believe it may be a way for the body to humidify the air during inhalation. They are usually empty but do have a very thin mucus layer along the walls.
There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses, meaning that there are two at the same points on the left and right. They are:
- Frontal sinuses: above the eyes just over the eyebrows
- Maxillary sinuses: on each side of the nose, in the cheekbone
- Ethmoid sinuses: between the eyes, under the bridge of the nose
- Sphenoid sinuses: behind the eyes and ethmoid sinuses
Inflammation of the sinuses can occur due to bacterial, viral, or fungal causes and can present in one of the sinus pair, or several. If there is an infection present, it is important that it is treated. Failure to properly treat a sinus infection can cause serious health risks and can create a propensity to develop sinus infections in the future.
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How Are Tension Headaches Treated
The goal of treatment is to stop headaches from occurring. Good headache management depends on reducing stress and tension. Some suggestions include:
- Going to sleep and waking at the same time each day
- Exercising regularly each day for at least 30 minutes
- Eating regular meals without skipping any, especially breakfast
- Avoiding headache triggers, such as certain foods and lack of sleep
- Resting in a quiet, dark environment as needed
- Stress management
- Medicine, as recommended by your healthcare provider
A Natural Solution For Migraines
In cases where every remedy possible has been ruled outfrom avoiding triggers to taking medication, it may be advisable to consider a different approach for seeking migraine relief.
There have been many cases where migraines have been caused by upper cervical or spinal misalignment, as brought about by poor posture. If this is also your case, seeking upper cervical care is a logical action to take.
If you want to know more about the difference between a migraine and tension headache, check out our directoryto visit an upper cervical practice near you.
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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.
How Are Tension Headaches Diagnosed
Tension headaches are mainly diagnosed based on the symptoms you report. A thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions.
Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your healthcare provider helps make an accurate diagnosis.
Questions commonly asked during the exam may include:
- When do headaches occur?
- What is the location of the headache?
- What do the headaches feel like?
- How long do the headaches last?
- Have there been changes in behavior or personality?
- Do changes in position or sitting up cause the headache?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you have a history of stress?
- Have you had a head injury?
If the history suggests tension headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further testing may be needed. But, if the headache is not found to be the main problem, then other tests may be needed to determine the cause such as:
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What Causes A Tension Headache
The exact mechanism that causes a tension headache is not known. Several factors, such as genetics and environment, are thought to be involved. Muscle contractions in the head and neck are considered a major factor in the development of a tension headache. Some people get tension headaches in response to stressful events or hectic days.
Is There Really A Sinus Migraine
Technically, the answer is no. There are migraines and there are sinus headaches. They are not the same, but some people have coined the phrase sinus migraine to make the distinction that their migraines seem to have a sinus component. They may be familiar enough with migraines that they know the typical symptoms, so they rule it out because their headaches dont fit that mold. The truth is, there are many different types of migraines and headaches and they often have very similar, if not identical, symptoms.
Dr. Ailani explains, Migraine pain can be located in the temples or back of the head, but often is in or around the eye and can, on occasion, be located under the eye, around the nose, and into the jaw. The reason for this is that the nerve that causes facial sensation and sinus sensation and the one that also causes facial and sinus pain, are one and the same, the trigeminal nerve.
She continues, When this nerve is turned on, you can experience pain- which can be all different types such as pulsating, throbbing, pressure, searing, jabbing, tingling, and burning, anywhere in your head and face. This nerve also connects to other nerves at the back of the neck and in the sinuses. When one nerve decides to be turned on, other connected nerves can follow- where there is a party, all like to join in!
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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
What Are The Symptoms Of Sinus Headaches
Patients with migraines or tension headaches commonly have sinus and nasal symptoms during their headaches, including sinus pressure, sinus pain, nasal congestion or runny nose. Studies of patients who have self-diagnosed or been diagnosed with sinus headaches were found to have migraines or tension headaches in more than 80 percent of cases only three to five percent of these patients had sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis and migraine headaches can be similar, which can be confusing about what is causing sinus pain and pressure. Migraines and headaches can cause the following nasal symptoms:
- Pain and pressure around the eyes, across the cheeks, and the forehead
- Nasal congestion
- Eye redness, tearing, or eyelid swelling
- Symptoms on one or both sides of the face
Sinusitis is associated with nasal congestion or obstruction and a thick nasal discharge, sometimes with facial pain, pressure, or a feeling of fullness. However, facial pain or pressure or fullness without cloudy or colored nasal discharge is most likely not a sinus infection.
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How We Can Help
- Acupuncture: Researchers at the Technical University of Munich in Germany carried out two systematic reviews on acupuncture therapy. They found that acupuncture can be effective for patients with tension headaches or migraines. Senior investigator, Klaus Linde said “In Germany, acupuncture is frequently used for headache.
- Chiropractic: Research has shown that the most common types of headaches respond well to chiropractic care, especially migraines and tension headaches. The vast majority of even the most severe headaches are relieved when spinal subluxations and jaw problems are corrected. The effects that these types of problems have on the nerves, often results in pain in the head. Chiropractic doctors locate areas of the spine that aren’t moving properly. They notice spinal curves. They look at your posture and your ability to turn and bend. The chiropractor is also trained to recognize the signs of rare problems that may require immediate medical attention.
- Massage works out the tight muscles of the scalp, face, neck and shoulders and feels great. A side benefit of reducing muscle tension is often alleviating headaches. We offer a couple’s massage class that teaches you at-home massage techniques.
Sinus Headache Relief: What Causes Sinus Headaches
If you indeed have a sinus headache, it is most likely a symptom of sinusitis, in which your sinus has become inflamed from allergies and/or other triggers such as bacterial/viral infections.
Sinus headaches may also be caused by allergic rhinitis, that cause you discomfort over an extended period of time. Prolonged sinus infections and sinus blockages can also trigger sinus headaches.
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Are Sinus Headaches And Migraines Related
So, do sinus and breathing problemscause migraines? Probably not, but it seems these conditions could be related somehow. If you want relief, you’ll need the right diagnosis and, if you have more than one condition, to consider treatment for each separately, even when they’re happening at the same time.
Treatment For Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
Some aspects of the treatment for sinusitis and sinus headache are not all that different from migraine treatments. The treatment goals are:
- To reduce inflammation
- To facilitate drainage of the nasal passages
- To identify any underlying causes and eliminate them
- In the case of chronic sinusitis, reduce the number of attacks or flare-ups
These are very similar to migraine treatment goals: reduce the pain of the attack, facilitate the treatment of comorbidities or symptoms that compound the discomfort, identify any triggers and eliminate them, and in the case of chronic migraine, reduce the number of attacks.
Sinusitis treatments include a combination of symptom relief and addressing the cause. They may include:
- Oral, nasal, or injected corticosteroids
- Saline nasal irrigation
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and pain
- Environmental changes such as a humidifier or dehumidifier in the home
In cases where a sinus migraine or sinus headache is present, treating the symptoms and condition will usually relieve the headache.
What Is A Migraine
Migraines are not life-threatening. But that being said, Dr Chakor adds how severe migraines that persist for longer durations and can affect your quality of life.
Migraine can be broadly divided into two categoriesmigraine with aura and migraine without aura. Aura refers to the experiences a person undergoes 10-30 minutes before a migraine attack. A lack of mental alertness difficulty in thinking seeing flashing lights numbness in the face or hands an unusual sense of smell, taste, or touch, are some examples.
Migraines range between moderate to severe and are accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, eye or earache, throbbing temple, and sensitivity to light or sound.
In comparison to other headaches, migraines typically affect only one side of the head but may affect both sides as well. If your migraines are severe and frequent or accompanied by nausea and vomiting, where you cannot partake in your daily activities smoothly, it can be a cause of concern.
Dr Chakor says, Patients suffering from migraine are prescribed prophylactic medicine, as the aches may not completely go away. For some, taking prophylactic medication at an early stage can help them live a migraine-free life. But others continue to live with the condition throughout their lives, despite regular treatment.
Your Sinus Headache May Not Be What You Think
Nearly everyone experiences a headache at some point, and the pain can range from mild to debilitating.
Sometimes, headaches are accompanied by pain and pressure in your brow and forehead, and cause nasal symptoms. Many people associate sinus and nasal symptoms with a sinus infection, also called sinusitis, or with an upper respiratory infection, a cold. They may say that they are experiencing a sinus headache. But sinus and nasal symptoms often can signal something else: a migraine headache.
The term “sinus headache” is not an actual medical diagnosis. Studies show that 90% of people with symptoms of a sinus headache are experiencing migraine headaches.
Sinusitis or migraine?
Migraines and headaches from sinusitis are easy to confuse because the signs and symptoms of the two types of headaches may overlap. Also, migraine headaches affect people differently and symptoms can change over time. This is why many who have had migraine headaches in the past are surprised when they begin having sinus and nasal symptoms with a migraine headache.
Sinusitis, however, usually isn’t associated with nausea or vomiting, nor is it aggravated by noise or bright light all common features of migraines.
These are a few ways you can tell whether your sinus and nasal symptoms are part of a sinus infection or part of a migraine headache:
- Confusion or trouble understanding speech
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