Got frequent headache pain? Why you need to know whether it's a migraine or a sinus headache.
Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD
"It's such a widespread misconception," says neurology professor Peter Goadsby, MD, who heads the University of California, San Francisco's headache program. "It's the size of the problem that stuns me."
Differences in Symptoms, Causes
Sinus headache and migraine can have some symptoms in common, including:
Pain in the head, particularly the forehead.
- Itchy or watery eyes.
- Pain associated with movement.
But migraines are often also accompanied by other symptoms, including:
Migraine is usually to blame in people who have frequent, severe headaches, says neurology professor Stephen Silberstein, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University. He wrote the American Academy of Neurology's guidelines on migraine diagnosis and treatment.
"If you walk into your doctor's office with disabling headache pain that comes and goes, 95% of the time it's migraine," Silberstein says. "People with sinus infections don't complain of headache first. They say they are sick and have a headache."
Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection and inflammation of the nasal passages. That leads to congestion. And that causes pain and pressure in the forehead and behind the cheekbones.
Antibiotics or nasal steroids are often used as a second line of attack to treat the underlying infection or chronic disease.
A sinus headache caused by an infection should go away soon after starting treatment.
Migraine treatment isn't just about stopping a migraine once it starts. It's also about preventing them and reducing their frequency, severity, and duration.
Drugs called triptans are used during a migraine attack to reduce pain and restore function.
source : Migraine or Sinus Headache: What's the Difference