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Are You Sure Your Sinus Headache Isn't a Migraine?

With 4 out of 5 Migraine Headaches Being Misdiagnosed and Treated as Sinus Headaches, Brian Rotskoff, MD Has Some Advice for Deciphering the Differences

CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 02/17/14 -- Are you treating a sinus headache that won't go away? Are your sinus headaches controlling your life by dictating what you will do each day based on the amount of pain in your head? If you're answering yes to these questions, chances are your sinus headache is not what you think it is. Much like the thousands of people that are treating their sinus headaches and getting no relief, you probably have misdiagnosed what is actually a migraine headache.

"Over and over again, I have patients come to my office looking for relief from self-diagnosed sinus headaches," says Chicago allergist and migraine headache expert Brian Rotskoff, MD. "Each of these patients has reached a breaking point, where they can no longer take the pain, especially after unsuccessfully treating it for so long."

In a study of 100 self-diagnosed sinus headaches, only three headaches were actually sinus headaches, 86 had migraines, and 11 had another type of headache. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17300361

Most people who suffer from a headache of any kind will look for relief through medications. But taking headache medication or antibiotics that are meant to treat sinus symptoms will actually worsen your migraine symptoms and add to the pain cycle. Proper diagnosis of a migraine is the first step in implementing effective migraine headache treatment.

Migraine or Sinus headache: what's the difference?
With several shared symptoms, such as facial pain and nasal congestion, runny nose and watery eyes, it is very easy to misdiagnose a migraine headache as a sinus headache. Knowing the difference in symptoms will better help you speak with a migraine headache specialist.

Symptoms of a Migraine

  • Pulsating, throbbing headaches often on one side of head
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea, possibly with vomiting
  • Blurred vision

Symptoms of a Sinus Headache

  • Discolored (greenish/yellow) nasal discharge
  • Decreased sense of smell and nasal stuffiness/congestion
  • Accompanying sore throat or cough
  • Fever (only during an acute infection)
  • Pain and/or pressure over cheeks and forehead

How to treat a headache
"As is my approach to treating all conditions, the most important thing that I can do is figure out why a person is experiencing certain symptoms," explains Dr. Rotskoff. "From there, I can work on treatment and establish long-term relief for my patients."

Effective treatment of your headache, either sinus or migraine, starts with the proper diagnosis. Speaking with Dr. Rotskoff at Clarity Allergy Center in Chicago, will lead to comprehensive testing, diagnosis, and treatment, but most importantly, relief. If you're ready to get rid of that persistent headache, call Clarity Allergy Center at (773) 877-3500 today.

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Clarity Allergy Center
Brian Rotskoff, MD
Medical Director
773-877-3500

Office Locations
4801 W. Peterson Avenue, Suite #306
North Chicago, IL 60646

3000 N. Halsted Street, Suite #611
Chicago, IL 60657

125 S. Wilke Road, Suite #100
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

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