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Migraine Headaches are Commonly Misdiagnosed as Sinus Headaches

Headaches are something that we all tend to deal with from time to time. Some people get them more frequently than others and their severity can vary from mild to debilitating. As the fall allergy season and cold & flu seasons begin, many people tend to attribute their headaches to sinus infections. While the changing weather has been known to be associated with sinus infections, it is an even more common migraine trigger. Properly diagnosing the type of headache that is plaguing you helps lead to the most effective treatment options.

According to experts like Susan Hutchinson (MD, Director, OrangeCountyMigraine & HeadacheCenter, Irvine, CA), migraines are commonly misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. In fact, studies have shown that about 90% of self-diagnosed sinus headaches are actually migraine headaches! Accurately diagnosing the type of headache is an important step in finding the most effective treatments. Sinus headaches tend to require antibiotics, while migraine headaches won’t improve with the use of over-the-counter or prescription decongestions, antihistamines, nasal sprays, etc.

While over-the-counter drug manufacturers want the public to believe that sinus headaches are really common, migraine headaches actually tend to be more common, affecting an estimated 36 million Americans. It’s not too surprising that many people confuse sinus headaches with migraines. Like Dr. Hutchinson says, a sinus headache “is a migraine with sinus symptoms,” which can make it hard to distinguish between the two.

In an effort to help improve the accuracy of headache diagnosis, Dr. Richard Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine developed the following ID Migraine Questionnaire. Dr. Lipton says if you answer yes to 2 of the 3 questions than there is a 93% chance you have a migraine and if you answered yes to all 3 questions that a migraine diagnosis is 98% likely. Anytime you get a headache you should ask yourself the following 3 questions:

Dr. Lipton’s ID Migraine Questionnaire

#1 – Over the last 3 months have your headaches interfered with your ability to function normally? Have they caused you to miss work, school, family activities, etc.?

#2 – Are your headaches accompanied by nausea?

#3 – Do your headaches ever cause sensitivity to light?

Whether you have a migraine headache or a sinus headache, Mountainside Medical Equipment offers a wide range of products to provide effective relief from even your toughest symptoms. Browse through our selection of headache relief products and check out the wide variety of cold and flu relief products today. When you buy from Mountainside Medical Equipment you’ll get effective relief, without breaking the bank!



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