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Wexley Headache & Medical Clinic
739 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Tel. (323) 655-3933



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Interesting Facts
DOES SINUS HEADACHE EXIST?

Many people think that sinus disease is a common cause of their frequent headaches, but it is not.

Headache is a minor feature of acute sinus infection,and occurs rarely. Headache is not usually a feature of chronic sinus disease. Migraine is commonly associated with red eyes, tearing, nasal stuffiness, postnasal drip, and congestion, as the parts of the brain that cause migraine also causse these phenomena. 

The term sinus headache was invented by advertisers to sell decongestants and over-the counter antihistamines. In fact, ear, nose, and throuat doctors do not recognize "sinus headaches" in their llist of diagnoses. People commonly mistake migraines for "sinus headaches", and a study in 2004 of close to 3,000 people with either self-diagnosed or doctor-diagnosed "sinus headaches" found that around 90% of these headaches were migraine, while only 8 patients out of 2,991 people evaluated with "sinus headaches" had acute sinus infections.  Thus, diabling headaches that last for 1 to 3 days, that occur several times per months, and that are associated with weather treggers, nasal stuffiness, clear drainage, tearing eyes, or postnasal drip are usually migraine.

Acute sinusities is generally associated with fever, red-hot skin over the involved sinus, and a yellow-green, bad-tasting or -smelling discharge from the nostrils and back of the throat.  Any headache associated with fever or infection must be treated immediately as an emergency.  A severe acute sinus problem may trigger a typical migraine attack.

The rare forms of sinusitis that can cause very serious headaches and can be life-threatening.  These infections usually cause a change in headache pattern and a lock of response to previously effective treatment, which should always prompt a consult with a doctor.  One such type is called sphenoid sinusitis, and it is diagnosed by CT or MRI of the sinuses. 

Chronic sinusitis is not a cause of chronic daily headaches.  This remarkable fact, validated by the International Headache society, should reassure those with daily or frequent headahces and help them look for other causes for their headaches or start treatment for one of the primary headache disorders, such as chronic migraine.

There is a rare cause of daily headche related to the sinuses that may be difficult to diagnose. This ocurs when a small bone sticks into a part of the sinuses, and is called contact point headache.  It is very rare, and those with this disorder have one-sided headache that must be distinguished from hemocrania continua (another headache disorder).

 


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739 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046 Tel. (323) 655-3933

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