Sinus Headaches or Migraine Headaches: Why You May Be Misdiagnosed

Do you often experience throbbing headaches that seem to be centered on your nasal passages? Don’t be quick to dismiss it as a sinus headache, though, it may be time to consider a second diagnosis — and a new treatment plan. New research uncovered that three out of five people who thought they had sinus headaches actually had migraines. Twenty-eight million Americans are known to suffer migraines, though that number is likely much higher factoring in the high rate of misdiagnosed sinus headaches. This discovery could be imperative in treating and alleviating the pain of frequent headaches.

The study looked at 100 people who were believed to suffer from sinus headaches. Astonishingly, experts discovered that 63 percent of these people were actually experiencing migraines. An additional 23 percent were considered likely to have migraines, though a concrete diagnosis was unable to be determined. These initial misdiagnoses were often chalked up to the fact that patients had self-diagnosed based on symptoms they assume are sinus related.

The following side effects are common among migraine sufferers:

  • Nose blockage
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Running of the nose
  • Redness of eyes
  • Watery eyes

Experts estimate that less than half of migraine sufferers are diagnosed with their condition. Overall, more than 80 percent of people with migraines don’t seek medication for their headaches, meaning that many are needlessly living with pain.

Are you misdiagnosing your headaches? The most frequent migraine triggers include:

  • Climate changes
  • Seasonal variations
  • Allergy-inducing material exposure
  • Altitude changes

Consider keeping a headache journal to see if these events coincide with your headaches. A proper diagnosis is the first step to eliminating the pain. After all, your migraines aren’t likely to go away while receiving treatment for sinus headaches.

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