Migraine headaches are a common condition that affects up to 12% of the general population. Migraines are even more common in people who have allergic rhinitis, affecting nearly one-third of people who have allergies. Dr. Charles Song and Dr. Andrew Wong at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have years of experience helping patients suffering from allergy-related migraines and sinus headaches. If you suffer from migraines, call their office in Manhattan Beach, California, or book an appointment online.
Migraines are one of the most painful headaches you can experience. The pain lasts at least four hours and can persist up to six days. After a headache finally subsides, you can continue to have other symptoms.
It's believed that you inherit the tendency to have migraines. The headaches arise from abnormal activity in the brain that's triggered by factors such as allergies, stress, bright lights, fatigue, caffeine, foods, and weather changes. Then the cascade of events in your brain affects blood flow in the brain and surrounding tissues, leading to the start of a migraine.
Your migraine may begin as a minor ache, then the pain gradually increases. Migraines often occur on one side of your head, near the temple. The pain may stay on one side or spread to both sides. Other symptoms caused by a migraine include:
About 15% of people with migraines experience auras before their headaches begin. During an aura, you may experience wavy vision, see flashes of light, or develop changes in your movement or speech. You may even have uncontrollable movements or have a hard time talking.
After your migraine ends, you may still be sensitive to light and sound for about 24 hours. During this time, you could also feel confused, weak, and moody.
A migraine and sinus headaches share overlapping symptoms, and both may be triggered by allergies:
Sinus headaches develop from inflammation and swelling of the lining inside your sinuses, blocking normal mucus drainage, and resulting in pressure and pain. Sinus headaches may cause unilateral, or one-sided, pain and nausea, like a migraine. Further, the nasal congestion associated with sinus headaches may occur with migraine headaches as well.
Allergic rhinitis is a common cause of sinus inflammation and congestion, which may trigger a sinus headache. Common allergens such as pollen, mold, and pet dander may cause a sinus headache, even if you don’t have other typical allergy symptoms.
Migraine headaches are triggered by many environmental and food-related allergens. Patients who have allergic rhinitis develop migraines up to 28% more frequently than patients without allergies and their headaches can be more severe.
If you have migraine headaches, your doctor at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology can determine whether you have sensitivities to specific allergens that may be linked to your headaches.
Migraine treatment focuses on preventing future headaches and relieving pain when they occur. Your customized treatment may require allergy testing and immunotherapy to treat allergies that trigger your migraines as well as medications to prevent ongoing migraines.
The medications commonly used to prevent future migraines include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. You may also use medications that relieve pain once a migraine begins such as an acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs, or triptans.
When you have persistent headaches, you can get the medical care you need at the Song Institute of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Please call or use online booking to schedule an appointment.