If you suffer from frequent allergies and also get headaches regularly, you might assume that your headaches are allergy-related and due to sinus pressure. However, many allergy sufferers who have headaches are actually experiencing migraines.
That’s not to say that allergies and migraines aren’t related. People with migraines are more likely to have allergies and vice versa. Let’s explore the connection between the two conditions, as well as treatment options to help alleviate both your allergy and headache symptoms.
One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that 88% of participants with a history of sinus headaches were experiencing migraine headaches instead. Some of the participants had self-diagnosed as having sinus headaches, while others had been misdiagnosed by a physician.
Headaches are not a prevalent symptom of seasonal allergies. However, in both migraines and sinus headaches, you can experience pain over the sinuses and face. Migraines also can cause symptoms that mimic allergies, such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
However, there are also key migraine symptoms that set them apart from other headaches and could help distinguish what type of headache you are experiencing. These include:
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
Allergies May Trigger Migraines
Even if you are experiencing migraines instead of sinus headaches, it does not mean that allergies aren’t playing a part. Allergies cause inflammation in the body which can make you more prone to migraines. The release of histamine may also play a role.
Histamine is a chemical found in mast cells that is released when someone is exposed to an allergen that they are reactive to, and triggers allergy symptoms. Histamine may also induce migraines in some people.
If you think allergies might be triggering migraines pay attention to when you experience your symptoms. If you find that you tend to get more headaches after springtime strolls through Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail, allergies could be playing a part.
Treating Both Conditions to Relieve Symptoms
If you notice a link between your allergies and headaches, treating your allergies may reduce your symptoms. Visit an allergist to find out your allergy triggers and come up with a treatment plan. You may also need to see a specialist to treat your migraines.
If your headaches aren’t responding to over-the-counter medications or are happening several times a week, it’s important you see your doctor right away and get an accurate diagnosis. Trying to self-diagnose and treat your headaches with sinus medication or decongestants won’t help. Some of those medications contain stimulants that could make your headache worse if you are experiencing migraines.
To learn more about headaches and allergies or to schedule an appointment, call Charleston ENT & Allergy today.