With allergy season in full swing, you may be quick to assume any headache you have is a sinus headache. In reality, when people experience headaches during allergy season, they frequently are suffering from a migraine headache.
A study conducted several years ago and found in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the phenomena of sinus headaches. Over 3,000 patients who had either self-diagnosed their pain as a sinus headache or had a physician dismiss their headache pain as sinus related were interviewed. Surprisingly, over 80 percent of these people met the criteria for having migraine headaches, according to the International Headache Society.
Allergies can lead to sinus infections, which are often characterized by complaints of pain or pressure in the cheeks, behind the eyes or at the brow line. When a patient with a sinus infection bends at the waist, the pain may intensify. With a migraine headache, the pain often comes from the temples, forehead or base of the skull. The pain can be described as a pounding or vice like sensation that typically stays the same intensity regardless of movement. People experiencing migraine headaches will often be sensitive to light or noise, while those with sinus infections are not reactive to these stimuli.
If you have allergies and experience sinus related pain, or if you have a possible migraine headache, it is important to see your provider at Atlanta ENT right away. Sinus infections require treatment that over the counter medications cannot provide, and if left untreated can cause serious health problems.
Ramie A Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT