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Migraines and Sinus Headaches

According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately ten percent of the

United States population reports suffering from migraines. However, that number is

likely higher due to the fact that over half of the reported “sinus headaches” are actually

tension headaches or migraines! The confusion is a common misconception among

Americans, who are avid purchasers and consumers of popular over-the-counter

medicines and remedies for “sinus headaches”. So, why the confusion? Let’s take a look

at what differentiates these types of headaches.



Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches, usually signified by

dull ache across the back, side or forehead. Tension may creep down to the neck and

shoulders resulting in the head, neck and shoulders being stiff and sore. Usually induced

by stress or repetitive hold patterns/motion.


A sinus headache is most often accompanied by a cold or sinus infection. A sinus

infection usually follows a viral infection, or the “common cold”, and occurs when the

sinuses have become inflamed and a bacterial infection has occurred. The following are

symptoms: pressure over, under, behind the eyes, under check bones, and/or across the

bridge of the nose; throbbing on one or both sides of the head; intensifying when moving

or straining the neck or head; green/yellow nasal discharge; fever; swollen lymph nodes.

These headaches are generally non-recurrent outside of the duration of the sinus

infection. A trip to the doctor is needed for accurate diagnosis and a prescription for

antibiotics may be in order.


Migraines are a bit more involved and are often reoccurring over different periods

of time: days, weeks, months, and years. However, some people may only ever

experience one or two in their lifetime. There are four stages of the migraine cycle; each

has different symptoms, but not everyone experiences all of them every time a migraine

occurs:


-Prodrome (1-2 days before the onset of the migraine): Diarrhea; food cravings;

constipation; neck stiffness


-Aura (Before and during attack): Sensory disturbances may be motor or verbal,

such as sight phenomena, sight loss, speech difficulty, or pins and needles.


-Attack (Usually lasts from 4 – 72 hours): Pressure over, under, behind the eyes,

under check bones, and/or across the bridge of the nose; throbbing on one or both sides of

the head; intensifying when moving or straining the neck or head; nausea and/or

vomiting; clear nasal discharge; sensitivity to light, sound, smell; diarrhea


-Postdrome (After attack): Fatigue Migraines are often recurrent and may be triggered by hormone cycles, food sensitivities/allergies, stress, stimulus changes and sleep pattern change. If you’ve found

yourself moving through theses cycles, a trip to the doctor will help to determine the best

treatment. Depending on the trigger, there may be options other than medicine, such as

allergy testing, chiropractic, massage, and hormone therapy.


While the common symptom of these headaches is tension and pressure, there is

much more to each specific type. Sinus and migraine headaches share more in common

with pressure over, under, behind the eyes, under check bones, and/or across the bridge of

the nose; throbbing on one or both sides of the head; intensifying when moving or

straining the neck or head. Because these are shared symptoms, it can make

differentiating between the two difficult. However it is important to know the difference;

seeing that the treatment for each is so different, a miss-diagnosis may mean being pain

free sooner, or continuing or worsening your case. When speaking with your health care

provider(s) be sure to be detailed in your description so you are able to receive the

appropriate diagnosis, and thus the appropriate treatment.


For more information check out the following websites:


http://www.helpforheadaches.com/articles/ahs-sinus-mig.htm


http://www.headaches.org/pdf/Monograph.pdf


http://www.utasip.com/files/articlefiles/pdf/ASIP_4_1p8_10.pdf


http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20040610/9-in-10-sinus-headaches-really-migraines


http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/DS00120/DSECTION=symptoms

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C.I.h.

PRACTITIONERS

CONTACT

919-651-0038
CARYINTEGRATIVEHEALTH.COM

HOURS:

Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

 

160 MacGregor Pines Drive

Suite 301

Cary, NC 27511

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