The St. Louis Sinus Center is Recognized
As a National Center of Excellence

Diagnosing Sinus Headaches

It is easy to confuse migraines and sinus headaches because the signs and symptoms overlap. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of people who see a doctor for sinus headaches are found to have migraines instead.

As with sinus headaches, migraine pain often gets worse when you bend forward. Migraines can be accompanied by various nasal symptoms including congestion, facial pressure and/or a clear, watery nasal discharge, which also make the etiology of the headache confusing for patients.

However, sinus headaches usually aren’t associated with nausea & vomiting and aren’t aggravated by noise or bright light – all common features of migraines.

In addition to a thorough history, one of the first steps in determining if sinusitis is the cause of your sinus headache is to treat your sinus problems. Once your sinus problem disappears, so should your sinus headaches. There are occasions when a patient may only have mild sinus symptoms but still complains of terrible sinus headaches. At this point, it may be necessary to perform allergy testing, consult with a neurologist or TMJ specialists.

It is important to understand there is not one test that can simply diagnose sinus headaches. Instead, Dr. Gould takes his time to listen, ask the right questions and considers all the possible causes of facial pain, sinus pressure and headaches.


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