Sinus Headache or Migraine Headache?

When many people get a stuffy nose along with a headache, they assume it is a sinus headache. According to an article on EverydayHealth.com, that may not be the case.

Research has shown that sinus and migraine headaches are often misdiagnosed. Knowing how to accurately identify the type of headache you have will help you determine the right course of treatment.

Sinus and Migraine Headache Similarities

Perhaps one reason sinus and migraine headaches get misdiagnosed is the symptoms they have in common. Both involve pain and pressure in the face or forehead, nasal congestion, possibly with discharge and a throbbing headache. There are other characteristics that can also lead to a misdiagnosis:

How to Know the Difference

Sinus headaches usually involve any (or all) of the following symptoms:

You may have a migraine headache if your symptoms involve:

Treatment for migraine headaches may require prescription medications such as ergotamine and sumatriptan, or barbiturate and narcotic medications for more severe migraine headaches. Antidepressants, propranolol and topiramate are commonly prescribed to prevent migraine headaches.

When to See Your Doctor

Do not hesitate to call your doctor, or go straight to the ER, if your headache is accompanied by the following symptoms (or any other symptoms that cause concern):

By Ramie A Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT

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