Is it a sinus headache or a migraine headache? I’m constantly trying to figure out whether my headaches are caused by allergies or migraine.
There are, of course, important differences between migraine and allergies. Being able to tell the difference between the two helped me to get the right treatments that I hope will minimize my headaches.
An allergy-induced headache can look a lot like a migraine
In some cases, doctors and patients aren’t sure if headaches are caused by migraine or sinusitis. Some research has found that more than 80 percent of people with migraine are misdiagnosed with sinusitis.
There’s definitely an overlap between symptoms. Sinusitis and migraine can cause similar symptoms, including headaches, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
So how should you treat your headaches if you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing allergies or a migraine? To figure out the answer to this question, I talked to my doctor.
Allergy vs. migraine triggers
My doctor and I first compared my migraine and allergy triggers.
My migraine attacks can be triggered by:
- certain foods
- caffeine and alcohol
- the weather
- lack of sleep
My allergies are mostly triggered by:
- certain foods
- certain drinks
- environmental changes
- animal dander
There is some crossover on these lists, so I was tested for allergies and food intolerances. Now I have a better sense of exactly what can cause an allergic reaction so I can avoid those triggers.
I also keep a daily journal detailing how I’m feeling. It helps both me and my doctor to understand my symptoms and health.