My doctor told me that the headaches I thought were sinus headaches were migraines. Apparently, that’s correct since sumatriptan stops them, and I’m glad to have a correct diagnosis and treatment that works. But I’d really like to understand why I have so much sinus pain during these migraines. All my doctor says is, “It’s just part of your migraines.” Can you give me a real answer? Thank you so much, Veronica.
Yes, we can answer your question. The trigeminal nerve is impacted by a migraine, and that can result in pain from any of the three branches:
- The opthalmic branch runs above the eyes and can cause pain above and around the eyes.
- The maxillary branch runs below the eyes and can cause pain in the facial sinus areas, upper teeth, and even the ears.
- The mandibular branch runs along the lower jaw (mandible) and can cause pain along the jaw and in the lower teeth. It also can contribute to ear pain.
We hope this information explains your sinus pain to you.
Thank you for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
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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.
© David Watson and Teri Robert, 2016.
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist and the director of the West Virginia University Headache Center. Dr. Watson takes a special interest in migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. He strives to stay up-to-date on current research and treatments and regularly attends continuing medical education conferences. “Dr. Dave” is also very active in the migraine community, taking part in and leading advocacy efforts to benefit the entire community. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Runnin’ for Research, a nonprofit organization that helps interested patients and doctors set up races in their areas to raise research funding for headache disorders. He’s also a regular participant in the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s “Headache on the Hill” event and is co-secretary of the American Headache and Migraine Association. You can follow Dr. Watson on Twitter.
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate in the area of migraine and other headache disorders, and has been writing for the HealthCentral migraine site since 2007. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association. She received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award for “ongoing patient education, support, and advocacy,” in 2004 and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society in 2013. You can find links to Teri’s work on her web site and blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
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.