Many sinus headaches are actually migraines without auras or migraines accompanied by symptoms of a sinus infection. Physicians often mistake a patient’s migraine symptoms for sinusitis or seasonal allergy conditions and typically prescribe treatments that are ineffective and may even worsen symptoms.
A 2015 study investigated the cost-effectiveness and validity of having sinus headaches addressed by a neurologist or ear, nose and throat specialist. Researchers found that recognition of sinus pain as a migraine instead of a neurological headache by an otolaryngologist allowed quicker symptom improvement, reduced healthcare costs and significantly improved quality of life for 80 percent of the 797 sinus migraine sufferers participating in the study.
A 2014 peer-reviewed article examining the correlation between allergic rhinitis and chronic headaches states that “headaches are not typical symptoms of nasal congestion and irritation. In fact, some studies indicate that 90 percent of sinus headaches may actually be migraines.” Unfortunately, many people self-diagnosing themselves with a sinus headache are given sinus medications by a doctor who fails to take the time to properly assess, diagnose and treat what is really a sinus migraine.
Misdiagnosis of migraines for sinus headaches was the focus of a 2013 study involving 130 migraine patients. Nearly 82 percent of these patients were misdiagnosed with a sinus infection, which delayed the treatment appropriate for a migraine. In addition, overuse of prescription medications was reported by patients misdiagnosed with sinusitis. Moreover, over 12 percent of patients opted for traditionally sinus surgery, which did not relieve their symptoms since they were not suffering exclusively from sinusitis.
Although different people have different sinus migraine triggers, some of the more common triggers include:
By clinically assessing more than 2,000 patients with migraines, Dr. Smith discovered that bone spurs or deviated septums contributed heavily to the recurrence of migraines. After removing a spur or repairing a deviated septum, 1,800 of these 2,000 patients enjoyed complete relief from migraine pain.
To learn more about the Smith Lift for migraines, please call Smith Center at (713) 795-0600.