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Dr. Art Mollen: Is it a migraine or sinuses on that headache?

Source: azcentral.com

Fitness: Sinus headaches usually cause a deep throbbing pain in the front of your head and face while migraine sufferers often experience specific warning symptoms

dr-art-mollen-sinus-headaches
(Photo: Getty Images)

Story Highlights

  • Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation in your sinus cavities around your nose, eyes and cheeks
  • Migraine suffers often experience an “aura” and the headache is usually one-sided
  • Although lifestyle modifications may be useful, several alternative supplements may help
  • Migraine sufferers ought to identify the triggers that precipitate their headaches

Almost everyone has experienced a headache at one time or another, however, when you start experiencing them once a week or more often that’s time for concern.

But how can you determine if it’s a migraine or simply a sinus headache?

Sinus headaches usually cause a deep throbbing pain in the front of your head and face and are caused by inflammation in your sinus cavities around your nose, eyes and cheeks. Leaning forward often exacerbates sinus headache pain.

However migraine sufferers often experience specific warning symptoms, or an aura, prior to their onset, which include flashing lights, a blind spot in one eye or numbness, and the headache is usually one sided. The aura may last for several minutes, and may resolve as the headache intensifies.

Help from supplements

Although lifestyle modifications, including diet, exercise, biofeedback, acupuncture, meditation and yoga may be useful to help migraine suffers manage their condition, many often turn to alternatives supplements.

In fact, a recent article in the March 2016 edition of the Journal of Family Practice suggested several that were possibly effective, which included fever few, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), coenzyme Q10 and butterbur extracts.

Although, the effectiveness of most was not well scientifically supported, there was evidence that butterbur was effective in reducing the frequency of migraines by 48 percent. However, there is a caveat when taking this supplement, it can potentially be toxic to your liver.

Alternative remedies may offer relief if taken for a short time. However, they are not FDA regulated and may contain contaminants.

Conventional treatments

There are many conventional treatments for migraine headaches that are effective and include a class of drugs known as triptans, which have been the gold standard. These medications are taken at the onset of a headache. However, other medications such as anticonvulsants have more recently been prescribed as a preventative medication.

In addition migraine sufferers ought to identify the triggers that precipitate their headaches, which include certain foods. The most common ones are in chocolates, cheddar and brie cheeses, vinegar, caffeine, aspartame, MSG, sulfites and red wine.

In addition, stress, depression and lack of sleep can contribute to migraine headaches.

Dr. Art Mollen is an osteopathic family physician and a health, fitness and preventive medicine expert. Reach him at 480-656-0016 or askdrartmollen@gmail.com.

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