While headaches and migraines both cause terrible pain, they are often confused with one another. There are several types of each, which sometimes makes it difficult to tell them apart. However, each type has its own cause, and it’s essential to know the cause of your headache or migraine to guide treatment.
Today, we’ll look at what differentiates migraines and sinusitis headaches.
Migraines are often characterized by debilitating head pain, commonly on one side of the head, but often, pain can be felt on both sides. Migraine pain usually feels like a throbbing sensation, and it is often accompanied or preceded by an aura, which usually consists of visual disturbances. However, this can be another type of sensation, from a pins-and-needles feeling in the extremities to difficulty speaking. In addition, migraine sufferers will usually experience sensitivity to certain stimuli such as light and sound.
Sinusitis is a condition caused by inflamed sinus passageways. It often follows a cold or other respiratory infection or can be caused by allergies. Symptoms of sinusitis include pressure or pain in the sinus cavities, a runny or stuffy nose, and postnasal drip. Sinusitis can also result in pain elsewhere on the face not directly associated with the sinuses. For example, some people have tooth pain with sinusitis. The teeth themselves are fine and not affected, but the pressure caused by the inflammation can cause pain in the teeth and jaw. Similarly, those with sinusitis can develop headaches; in fact, they are a common symptom of sinusitis. This is due to the pressure in the sinuses.
How do you know a headache is a sinus headache? With a sinus headache, you will feel most of the pain centered around your sinus cavities. These areas are around your cheekbones, your forehead, and the areas around your nasal bridge. In addition, if a headache meets the criteria mentioned and is accompanied by symptoms of sinusitis, it’s very possibly a sinusitis headache.
Differences in treatment of Migraines and Headaches
The most important reason to know whether head pain is from a migraine or sinusitis headache is to help guide treatment.
Sinusitis headache treatment: A sinusitis headache is treated by going to the root of the problem and treating the sinusitis infection. This may involve taking medications to alleviate the symptoms or antibiotics to treat the infection in the short term. If sinusitis is a recurring issue, some procedures can help as well, such as balloon sinuplasty or sinus surgery.
Migraine treatment: Migraines can be treated with medication to relieve the symptoms and/or medication to help head off migraines or reduce their severity. Other treatments help migraines, like Botox injections.
Dr. Edmund Fisher can help if you are experiencing sinus headaches and require further treatment for your sinus troubles. He has been performing minimally invasive sinus surgery for longer than any other doctor in the Bakersfield, California, area.