This spring has been terrible for me. Every time there’s been a thunderstorm, I’ve had a terrible sinus headache. My doctor told me to use Sudafed. Then I read an article that said sinus headaches are usually migraines. Can you please tell me if this is true? There’s a long history of migraines in my family. Thanks, Jeanine.
Sinus headache is quite rare unless there’s infection present. Research has shown that more than 90 percent of what people think are sinus headaches are migraines. You can find more information on this in Sinuses Giving You a Headache? It’s Probably a Migraine.
Given some of the symptoms that can occur during a migraine and some of the places pain can occur, it’s not surprising that there can be confusion. Migraines can cause a runny nose, congestion, and lacrimation (eyes tearing). The trigeminal nerve can become inflamed during a migraine. The branches of the trigeminal nerve run above the eyebrows, under the eyes, and along the jaw, so a migraine can also cause facial pain that could be mistaken for a sinus headache.
So, yes, it’s true that most of what people think to be sinus headaches are migraines. We can’t, however, tell you that’s what’s happening in your case. Only a doctor treating you in person can do that. The fact that migraine runs in your family, however, is a clue that you could be having migraines. If they’re on one side of your family, you had a 50 percent chance of inheriting migraine, and that jumps to 75 percent if there’s a history of migraine on both sides of your family.
Thanks for your question,
David Watson, MD, and Teri Robert
About Ask the Clinician:
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. He and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about _ Dr. Watson _ or more about _ **Teri Robert
If you have a question, please click** HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via THIS FORM**. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or blog comments. Thank you.
|**_Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis._** For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see _**[Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice](http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/c/9924/162100/migraine-headache-diagnosing)** _.|
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.