woman with headache

Can a sinus infection cause a migraine? Migraine and a headache that is caused by sinus are commonly mistaken to be the same thing. This is due to the similarity of their symptoms. It’s important to know which type of headache you are having since your treatment will depend on it. Chronic nasal congestion is the inflammation in the sinuses, the headache caused by it typically goes away on its own. However, migraine is a much more serious condition that needs ongoing medication.


What Is a Sinus Infection

To fully understand the difference between sinus headache and migraine, let us discuss each condition’s causes, symptoms, and treatment. Sinus infection is the inflammation of the tissues that can be found in the sinuses. Our sinuses are supposed to be filled with clean air, but when they get blocked by liquid, germs start to grow and bacterial infection emerges. Below are the common reasons why we get sinus infection:sinus and other symptoms

  • a previous cold
  • weak immune system
  • drugs that can weaken the immune system
  • smoking excessively
  • second-hand smoke exposure
  • problems in the structure of the sinus
  • allergic reactions


Different Kinds Of Sinusitis

Sinus infection also comes in different classifications. During your medical appointment, your doctor may use the following terminologies to explain your condition:


Acute sinusitis

This type of sinus infection often begins with flu-like symptoms. Acute sinusitis is the mildest kind of sinusitis which typically lasts for two to four weeks only.


  • facial pain
  • nasal congestion
  • sinus headache
  • loss of smell
  • runny nose
  • fever
  • dental pain
  • fatigue
  • bad breath


Subacute sinusitis

If acute sinusitis persists, it will fall to the second category of sinusitis that lasts for up to 12 weeks.


  • facial pain accompanied by extreme pressure
  • sinus headache
  • blockage in the sinuses
  • runny nose
  • tooth pain
  • pus in the nasal cavity
  • bad breath
  • exhaustion


Chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is the next stage after subacute sinusitis, this could last for more than 12 weeks. This particular type of sinusitis has the same symptoms as acute and subacute sinusitis, the only difference is that the sinus headache and other symptoms last longer.


Recurrent sinusitis

This is a kind of sinusitis that happens several times a year.


Medical Treatment for Sinus Infection

Your doctor can easily determine if you have a sinus infection by examining you physically and assessing your symptoms. If you have mild sinusitis, a nasal decongestant and nasal washes might be recommended. However, over-the-counter decongestants must only be used in less than 3 days only.

Since sinus infections typically resolved on their own, antibiotics are not often prescribed. But in rare cases, it is suggested by doctors to patients with recurring sinusitis and unbearable sinus headache. The symptoms should gradually disappear during the whole time that you’re under medication.


Home Remedies

water steam for sinusIf the symptoms persist, you may opt to try these safe and effective home remedies for sinus infection:

  1. Inhale steam from a bowl of hot water
  2. Use a warm compress to alleviate pain in the sinus area
  3. Use an over-the-counter decongestant



So how do you protect yourself against sinus infection? First of all, if you are aware of your allergies, it would be better to stay away from the triggers. It would also help to strengthen your immune system with healthy lifestyles. Try to avoid smoking or secondhand exposure to smoke as much as possible. Keep your hand clean all the time as germs typically reside in it, and lastly, do not touch your face with dirty hands.


So…Can A Sinus Infection Cause A Migraine?

Now let’s move on to a condition that is usually mistaken for sinus headache, the migraine. In comparison to a sinus headache, a migraine is much more severe and painful. The pain occurs on one side of the head and is commonly accompanied by high sensitivity to light and sounds.

The major cause of migraine is still unknown, however, specialists believe that it is the result of several changes in the hormones and chemicals in the body and blood vessels.

Some of the things that could trigger migraine include:

  • women about to have their period
  • ┬ádaily stress
  • fatigue
  • specific foods and drinks


Kinds Of Migraine

  • Migraine without aura

    This is the most common kind of migraine. The condition starts with a throbbing pain on one side of the head and gets worse as the person performs physical activities. Some people experience nausea and vomiting when this migraine attacks as well as irritation towards lights and sounds. Migraine with aura lasts from 4 hours up to 3 days.

  • Migraine with aura

    People who suffer from migraines with aura experience symptoms before the attack even begins. They often see wavy lines, lights that flash, and distorted objects before their migraine kicks in. The pain that this migraine cause is much more severe and painful as well.


Other types of migraine:

  • Complicated migraine. This migraine hinders the individual’s ability to speak and move properly.
  • Menstrual migraine. For women with migraines, the headache could happen before, during, and after their period.
  • Migraine equivalent. This is a subpart of migraine with aura where the auras conclude but the migraine does not follow.
  • Abdominal migraine. Children could experience migraines too. And when they do, they experience symptoms like vomiting, dizziness, and throbbing pain in the head. Migraines in children occur once a month and could get worse if left untreated.


When should you start getting professional advice to ease your migraine? According to doctors, a person should see a specialist once the migraine becomes too frequent and painful. Over-the-counter medicines could help but should be taken within the limits only.

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