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Think You Are Suffering From A Sinus Headache? Think Again

Many thyroid patients report an increase in the incidence of sinus infections, but self-diagnosing sinus infections may be leading you in the wrong direction, treatment wise.

For the past few years, Crystal Kantaroglu says she suffered from the same uncomfortable sinus headache symptoms, including stuffiness, runny nose and head pain. When decongestants didn't relieve the pain, Crystal's daily routine became difficult to manage. Heeding her physician's advice, she began keeping a headache diary to record each attack.

"All my life I've had headaches with pressure in my nose area and behind my eyes, and I've always been told I have sinus headaches," said Crystal. "When I finally kept track of all my symptoms I realized I had more going on than just feelings of pressure around the nose and eyes. I talked to my doctor, and he determined I was actually suffering from migraine. Now, with the right migraine medicine, I can treat my migraine and get on with my life." Crystal isn't alone.

Migraine affects 28 million Americans and can result in missed days of work, lost time with family and friends and a disrupted lifestyle. Migraine is characterized by moderate to severe headache pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. In addition, migraine attacks can include symptoms commonly interpreted as signs of sinus headache (i.e., nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes).

A recent study enrolled more than 2,500 people with self-described or physician-diagnosed sinus headache. Patients with evidence of acute sinus infection were excluded. Ninety percent of the patients described symptoms that met International Headache Society criteria for migraine.

Migraine pain results from an interaction between the trigeminal nerve and blood vessels around the brain. Since branches of the trigeminal nerve are located around the sinus cavity, during a migraine attack, some people can perceive pain in the region of the sinuses. When this happens, sufferers often think that the source of their pain is the sinuses when in fact the pain is due to a migraine.

"Many people who believe they have sinus headaches and also have migraine-related symptoms find the treatments they're taking do not always provide relief," said Dr. Curtis Schreiber, a neurologist at the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo., and co-author of the study. "Our goal of getting a better diagnosis for patients with migraine may help them receive a better treatment so they can get back to their lives."

If the diagnosis is migraine, then migraine-specific prescription therapies are available to treat the pain and associated symptoms of migraine without causing sedation. One drug, Imitrex was the first prescription drug in a class of drugs called triptans to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the acute treatment of migraine in adults.

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Source: NAPSI



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