When someone suffers from a headache, along with a stuffy, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, this may sound like a sinus headache, but it is actually a migraine.
Differences in the symptoms and causes
A sinus headache and migraine can sometimes have the same symptoms, including:
- An itchy or watery eyes.
- Pain related to movement.
But migraines often have other symptoms, including:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to sound and light.
- Really bad headache on one side of the head.
A sinus headache is usually caused by an infection or inflammation of the nasal passages, and this leads to congestion. This congestion and build up causes pain and pressure in the forehead and behind the cheekbones.
- For sinus headaches, treatment typically starts with decongestants, pain relievers, and nasal irrigation to slow down sinus pressure and congestion and help drainage.
- Antibiotics or nasal steroids are also recommended as a second line defense to treat the infection. A sinus headache that is caused by an infection may go away soon after you start the treatment. However, once this treatment is stopped, it may lead to rebound sinusitis.
When taking migraine treatment, it isn't just about just stopping a migraine once it starts. It also helps prevents them from returning and reducing their frequency, severity, and duration.
- Drugs such as triptans are taken during a migraine attack to decrease pain and restore function.
- Other drugs, used to treat epilepsy, depression, and hypertension can be consumed to stop migraine attacks.
- Botox injections can also be used to help prevent chronic migraines.
- Hormone therapy may also be recommended for women who have migraines linked to their menstrual cycle.
- Lifestyle is also a central issue that causes migraines. Stress-reducing therapies such as exercise, relaxation may help prevent the recurrence and severity of migraines. Learning about your migraine triggers and avoiding them also matters.
If you have a migraine, treat it with painkillers thinking it is a sinus headache you can make the matter worse. You may get some temporary relief, but you can end up with a worse headache afterwards.
A lot of sinus medications contain analgesics, which are pain relievers. The overuse of analgesics can cause rebound headaches.
When to Get Help
When your headaches start to affect your daily life don't react to them with over-the-counter medications, it is time to see your doctor.
If you are going to take some medication to treat a headache and are not sure what condition you have, it's a good time to see a doctor.
You should seek medical help immediately if you:
- Had a headache that gets progressively worse.
- If your headache is associated with neurological symptoms such as loss of vision or if your muscles are weak.
- If your headache is accompanied by a fever or a stiff neck.
- If you have a sudden headache and is the worst headache of your life.