Sinus Headaches in Plain Language
What’s the difference between a sinus headache and a conventional one? Some people will tell you that it’s the quality of the pain; others might say it is the location. Still more people will tell you that it’s impossible to distinguish one from the other without context such as a medical history.
Here’s the truth: sinus headaches aren’t terribly mysterious. They feel different and tend to strike under different circumstances than traditional forms of head pain such as migraines. Here’s the Mayo Clinic on how to distinguish between the two:
Both sinusitis and migraine headache pain often gets worse when you bend forward. Migraine can also be accompanied by various nasal signs and symptoms — including congestion, facial pressure and a clear, watery nasal discharge. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of people who see a doctor for sinus headaches are found to have migraines instead.
Sinusitis, however, usually isn’t associated with nausea or vomiting or aggravated by noise or bright light — all common features of migraines.
Sinusitis usually occurs after a viral upper respiratory infection or cold and includes thick, discolored nasal mucus, decreased sense of smell, and pain in one cheek or upper teeth.
If you have a sinus headache that has persisted for more than two weeks and isn’t improving, you could have an acute case of sinusitis. The best way to know is to visit your Los Angeles sinus doctor for a checkup.