Waking with congestion and frontal headache most mornings?

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  • Full Question:

    I have been suffering with headache for many years and I have bee treated by ENT and neurologists. I have been taking triptans and beta blockers since 2 years ago. I wake up with congestion and frontal headache most mornings. I live in SC close to Charleston. This summer it has been the worst with too much rain and humidity. I have continuous thick post nasal mucous and I take guaifenesin and triptans and pain killers like naproxen and Advil a sometimes aspirin take allergy med. I am suffering every day and I want to know if I need to relocate and where is the migraine free zone? Farideh.

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    Full Answer:

    Dear Farideh;


    Changes in the weather could be triggering these Migraines. However, since you're waking with them, it's also possible that they're being triggered by an issue with your sleep:

    • too much sleep
    • too little sleep
    • disrupted sleep
    • poor quality sleep
    • irregular sleep schedule

    Have you and your doctor discussed your sleep? If not, you should. Many people really have no idea they're have sleep issues until a doctor asks the right question. There's information on this in our video Migraines, Headaches, and Sleep.


    Keep in mind that Migraines can cause congestion, so this may be a question of whether your trigger is the weather changes or if it's a sleep issue, and the congestion is a symptom of your Migraines. See Anatomy of a Migraine for more information on possible Migraine symptoms.


    Another issue is how frequently you're taking triptans and painkillers. Taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans or ergotamines or any kind of pain med (even simple over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.) more than two or three days a week can make matters worse by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this.


    As for moving to the "Migraine free zone," there's no such place. Some people find desert areas are good for them because there are fewer weather and barometric pressure changes, but others find that the summer is too hot for them to leave their homes without triggering a Migraine.


    Thanks for your question,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and  Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.


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    Last updated March 31, 2014.

Published On: March 27, 2014