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What is the difference between a migraine and a sinus headache?

ANSWER

Migraine and sinus headaches are often confused -- and for good reason. They can share many symptoms, like a pounding head, intense sinus pressure, and stuffy nose, but if you have migraine headaches, you have an actual condition called migraine which results in migraine headaches.

True sinus headaches are quite rare. In fact, most people who think they’re having one are really having a migraine -- and sometimes, allergies can trigger them.

SOURCES:

Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports : “Allergic Rhinitis and Chronic Daily Headaches: Is There a Link?”

American Migraine Foundation: “Sinus Headaches," “Sinus Headaches, Allergies, Asthma, and Migraine: More Than a Casual Relationship?”

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology : “Prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis.”

News Release, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Allergy Headaches.”

NHS Choices: “Sinusitis.”

Nemours KidsHealth: “Histamine.”

Headache : “Allergy and Immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headaches?” “Histamine in migraine and brain.”

National Headache Foundation: “Steroid Nasal Spray May Be Migraine Trigger.”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Indoor Allergens,” “Outdoor Allergens.”

Swedish Covenant Hospital: “Five diet changes to reduce seasonal allergies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Allergic Rhinitis (seasonal allergies) (Beyond the Basics).”

Reviewed by Stephen D. Silberstein on July 17, 2017

SOURCES:

Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports : “Allergic Rhinitis and Chronic Daily Headaches: Is There a Link?”

American Migraine Foundation: “Sinus Headaches," “Sinus Headaches, Allergies, Asthma, and Migraine: More Than a Casual Relationship?”

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology : “Prevalence of migraine headaches in patients with allergic rhinitis.”

News Release, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Allergy Headaches.”

NHS Choices: “Sinusitis.”

Nemours KidsHealth: “Histamine.”

Headache : “Allergy and Immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headaches?” “Histamine in migraine and brain.”

National Headache Foundation: “Steroid Nasal Spray May Be Migraine Trigger.”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Indoor Allergens,” “Outdoor Allergens.”

Swedish Covenant Hospital: “Five diet changes to reduce seasonal allergies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Allergic Rhinitis (seasonal allergies) (Beyond the Basics).”

Reviewed by Stephen D. Silberstein on July 17, 2017

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How do allergies cause migraine headaches?

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