While the majority of headaches are not a sign of a serious or life-threatening illness, they often affect quality of life. There are occasions where allergies or sinus problems can lead to a person to have headaches.
Headaches associated with nasal symptoms are common and may be due to sinus disease in and around the nasal passages. A sinus headache is hard to identify since headache specialists consider true sinus headache to be fairly rare. Recent studies suggest that patients who appear to have sinus headaches frequently have migraines.
People wth have headaches that seem to originate in the sinus should be carefully evaluated by a physician. Making the right diagnosis is important because primary headache disorders like migraines need a very different treatment compared with allergy headaches.
Acute sinusitis is defined as 3 months duration, commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, and can occasionally lead to headaches. Patients may also describe experiencing “sinus headaches.” However, it is controversial whether constant blockage of the nasal passages caused by allergic inflammation can lead to chronic headaches. Patients who experience blocked nasal passages should visit an allergist for testing. An allergist can diagnose your allergies and help you manage your symptoms. Treatment strategies could include steps to avoid specific allergens, medications or allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots).
The criteria below are used by physicians to diagnose rhinosinusitis headaches:
1) A headache in the front of your head with pain in one or more areas of the face, ears, or teeth and clinical or laboratory evidence of acute or chronic rhinosinusitis. For example, your doctor might do a nasal endoscopy, which lets him or her see what is happening in your nasal and sinus passages.
2) Headache and rhinosinusitis symptoms that occur at the same time.
3) Headache and/or facial pain that goes away within seven days after decreased symptoms or successful treatment of acute or chronic rhinosinusitis.
The majority of people with self-diagnosed sinus headaches are really suffering from migraines, which is why it is important to see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Research also supports a link between migraine and allergy, so your physician will consider both migraine headache and sinus headache if you are experiencing headaches and allergic rhinitis.
Article Provided By: AAAAI