Sinus Pain: Sinus infection, or something else?
Looking for Ear, Nose and Throat care tips? Our doctors and staff share the latest developments in our blog.
Millions of people suffer from sinus pain; often explain as facial pain and anxiety over their nose, under their eyes and into their cheeks. This leads to millions of visits to their primary care supplier or urgent care, where they are often diagnosed with sinusitis and given antibiotics.
What if they actually did not have a sinus infection? What if the pain came from something else?
What if they were actually suffering from a variation of a migraine headache?
Well, the past three years several studies looked into this very issue. And what each of them found was astounding: Over 80% of people who there with “sinus pain” DO NOT have a sinus infection. In fact, the same percentage of people responded totally to migraine treatment, effectively proving the fact the sinus pain was of migraine origin. Four hours after being treated for a migraine, 80% of the patients were sinus pain free. No antibiotics. No decongestants. No nasal spray.
According to one study, the average time between seeing their first medical professional and getting properly diagnosed was over 7 years. One person in their study suffered 38 years, being treated with medicines and surgery for a presumed sinus situation before finally being diagnosed with migraine sinus pain. In our practice, we see this as well. In fact, we had one patient who was treated with over 40 antibiotics before coming to see us and getting properly diagnosed and treated.
How can a person tell if they are suffering from a migraine process or a sinus condition?
- Migraine pain has an abrupt onset. Typically one can wake up feeling “O.K.,” then later that morning will have horrible sinus pain.
- Migraine sufferers often have a personal or family history of migraine headaches, although the previous migraine was usually not sinus-like pain.
- Migraines often have some nausea associated with them, which people often attribute to “post nasal drainage.”
- Migraine sufferers prefer a dark environment when they have sinus pain.
- Migraines are more severe, with discomfort/pain between 8-10 (on a 1-10 scale)