Sinus or Migraine Headache

Have you got a runny or stuffy nose? Do you feel pain over your cheeks and forehead? You may be wondering to consult your urgent care doctor for sinus headache. It’s a right decision but be prepared to possibly figure out that your sinuses are not causing headaches. There can be a good chance that you are having migraine rather than a headache caused by sinusitis infection or seasonal allergies.

Nasal congestion and headaches are also symptoms of migraine. Confusion between a migraine headache and a sinus headache is common as both these types share many similarities. Either way, headaches in any form can cause trouble in our lives. However, identifying the similarities and differences between the two can help you know if you have a migraine or sinus headache, and can help you get the right treatment you need.

What is a Sinus Headache?

Sinus Headache

If you have a cold, allergies or abnormalities in your nasal passages, you are likely to get sinusitis that may lead you to experience sinus headache. Besides sinusitis, this type of head pain can also be caused due to an inflammation of the sinuses or the cavities in your brain that are connected to your nose. It can be acute and lasts for up to 10 days or can be chronic and lasts for 12 weeks or more.

What are Migraines?

What are Migraines

This type of headache is a more severe pain that may have triggers like stress, hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and many more. The pain is much more likely to be one-sided or throbbing and will often increase with daily physical activities.


Why people mostly get confused between migraines and a sinus headache? There are a few common symptoms that are often shared by both conditions.

  • Pressure in your head and/or cheekbones
  • A runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Swelling of the nasal membranes
  • Watery eyes
  • Intense head pain as you lean forward


While a virus or bacterial infection is to blame for sinus headaches, the cause of migraine headaches is not clearly known. It involves a complex functioning of brain chemicals, nerves, blood vessels, and brain tissue. Moreover, migraines can be triggered by almost anything. Despite the similarities, the two conditions have different characteristics and signs.

If you are experiencing signs of infection like a fever or a cough along with congestion and head pain, you may have a sinus headache. Green or yellow color of mucus may also signal a bacterial sinus infection, which may lead to headaches.

Pain that comes along with aura or sensory changes like physical numbness or weakness, vision loss, flashes of light or seeing weird shapes, tasting or smelling strange things, and hearing random noises clearly indicate that migraines are causing the issue. They can also be genetic and more likely in women.

Migraine SymptomsMigraine Symptoms

Along with head pain, people with frequent migraines may also experience one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Nausea and/or vomiting – They are high-prevalent and important part of treatment for migraines.
  • Clear and thin nasal discharge – Runny nose is a key symptom that separates a migraine from a sinus infection.
  • Sensitivity to light, odor, and/or sound – A person with migraine may experience extreme sensory symptoms like sensitivity to bright light, feeling bland odors as vile, and noise tends to be unbearable and loud.

Sinus Headache SymptomsSinus Headache Symptoms

If it is a sinus headache, the symptoms typically include:

  • Fever or cough – Having a fever is not common with a sinusitis headache. However, you may run a temperature if the infection is caused by bacteria. Your walk-in doctor may prescribe medications to rule out the bacteria.
  • Thick nasal discharge – If you have a thick, colored discharge (yellowish or greenish), it can be a sign of sinus infection.
  • Upper tooth or ear pain – People who are suffering from a sinus infection often have a common complaint of having the ear or upper tooth pain.

Treatment for Sinus Headaches

Your urgent care doctor will recommend you take a short course of a decongestant and/or an over-the-counter nasal spray to help reduce nasal membrane swelling. You may take a hot shower to loosen up the secretions and can hydrate with warm liquids. If the symptoms persist for a longer time, consult your walk-in doctor who will prescribe antibiotics.

Treatment for Migraine Headaches

Migraine can be triggered by certain foods, activities, and other conditions. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription drugs, pills, shots, and nasal sprays are some of the treatment options for migraine. These drugs are also used to treat seizure disorder, depression, and heart conditions.

If your symptoms become more severe and more consistent and don’t go away with medications and keep you from doing normal activities, you must visit Artisans of Medicine, to get the best consultation from the well-qualified doctors of urgent care in Brooklyn, NYC.