Newbie - Not sure if these are migraines or sinus pain - how to tell?

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New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/11/2008 10:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, this is my first post on this site and I'm hoping you folks might be able to offer me your insight and experience.

I've suffered for the past (more than) 10 years with what I've always believed is sinus problems -- pain high around the bridge of my nose especially on the left side, cheeks, forehead (right in the middle) and sometimes going further into my head and around the temples. It's the worst in August-September and March-April-May and not as bad in June-July although really it's there all the time.

I have been tested for allergies and found to have allergies to dust, pollen and mold and on allergy vaccinations. I recently was re-tested and told although I still have allergies it's getting better. However my feeling of sinus congestion is not getting better. In the past year I've been to 3 ear nose throat specialists and they tell me "there's nothing structural" so go away. The past 2 times I've gone to the dentist my teeth were so sensitive he took Xrays and saw fluid in my sinuses weighing down on my top teeth. I feel like I always have an underlying sinus infection but most often antibiotics do nothing for me, so it leaves me wondering if that's really the problem. The last ENT suggested I visit a neurologist, which I recently did and he thinks the problem is actually migraines and NOT sinus!

This neurologist said migraines can cause inflammation of the sinuses so I'm not completely crazy. So for the next 4 months I'm keeping a "headache diary" so he can identify any trends. The strange thing is though, it doesn't feel like headaches. It feels like pressure. And most often that pressure is focussed around the sinus areas. Is this normal for migraines?

I just want to at least know what's going on, so if it's actually migraines, ok at least finally someone can tell me what's happening so maybe we can do something about it. I have to say it's confusing though. Does anyone have any suggestions? I definitely feel it more on days of higher humidity or when a rainy day is on the way. The head pressure increases, ears get plugged, even my throat feels swollen... is it possible this is a migraine?

THanks for any insight.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 5/12/2008 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello. I too have suffered from both sinus headaches and migraine for some years now. It is hard to differentiate between sorts of pain, especially when the pain is intense as it can be with both these conditions.

However, I generally feel nauseous with migraine but that can happen with sinus too!! I have gone down the route of ENT specialists also but with little firm success. I would be surprised if swollen throat and plugged ears indicate migraine, it sounds far more like sinus congestion but I am no expert. Others on this forum will know far more than I do. I can, however, sympathise. Head pain is at times completely debilitating.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 120
   Posted 5/15/2008 12:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Beachcomber,
You may have migraines, migraine pain varies greatly.  Some people feel the migraine pain as pressure, while others feel stabbing or throbbing.  Then again, you may be suffering from sinus headaches.  There doesn't have to be a problem with your sinuses for you to get sinus headaches. 
I wonder if it's possible that you have TMJ.  Here's a website with symptoms of TMJ    If you think this might be you problem, tell your doctor and see what he thinks.
Best wishes,
Dx: Chronic Daily Migraines & Chronic Depression
PRN meds: Tylonal #3 and Tramadol

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3571
   Posted 5/15/2008 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   



Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006

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