Pain experienced across the face or near the eyes in response to nasal congestion is considered to be a sinus headache. These headaches are typically accompanied by a stuffy nose, the pressure in the face, teary eyes, nausea or hyperresponsiveness to light. However, because there is no clear definition of sinus headaches, these headaches are often misdiagnosed as migraines. Sinus headaches are more common during major changes in the weather.
What are Sinus Headaches?
Sinus headaches are considered a response to inflammation or infection that should be verified by imaging and treated with antibiotics. Surprisingly, headaches are not symptoms of chronic sinus inflammation (sinusitis) unless there is also an infection present.
Misdiagnosis of Sinus Headaches
These headaches are often confused with migraines as the symptoms may be similar. Most patients self-diagnose and treat these “sinus headaches” with irrelevant treatments. Unfortunately, due to the high level of misdiagnosis of sinus headaches as migraines, these patients risk making their headaches worse. Even many physicians misdiagnose sinus headaches as migraines. Not surprisingly, many patients are dissatisfied with the treatments available for sinus headaches, likely due to misdiagnosis followed by ineffective treatment.