Sinusitis vs. Migraine: Getting the Best Medical Care

Yes, we all suffer from occasional headaches. However, there could be more to the story if your headache is combined with a stuffy or runny nose or aching brows and cheekbones. Perhaps you could be suffering from sinusitis or migraines, yet not know which one is your condition. 

If you find yourself in this predicament, you must first consult your doctor or urgent care physician. With their expertise, you can be guided to the proper diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, be prepared to learn if the source of your headaches is not what you expected! 

After all, you could be suffering from migraines instead of a sinus infection or seasonal allergy headache. Read on to learn more about distinguishing the two and how to get the best medical care for you.

Sinusitis or Migraine?

If you have a cold, allergies, or nasal obstructions, you may get sinusitis and suffer from sinus headaches. This form of headache can be caused by inflammation of the sinuses or the brain cavities that connect the nose to the brain, in addition to sinusitis. Its acute stage may last up to ten days. Meanwhile, its chronic stage can last up to 12 weeks.

On the other hand, migraines induce a more severe sort of headache that can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, hormone changes, or a lack of sleep. This neurological disorder causes nasal congestion and headaches. Migraine pain or discomfort is usually unilateral or throbbing, and it worsens with daily or strenuous activity.

Similarities and Differences

It’s common to mix up sinusitis and migraines, mainly because they are similar in symptoms like pressure on the head or cheeks, sneezing, nasal congestion, enlarged nasal membrane, swollen eyes, and headaches.

Sinus headaches occur due to viral or bacterial infection, whereas migraines have an unknown cause. Chemical messengers in the brain, neurons, blood vessels, and tissue are all involved. Several circumstances can also bring on migraines. Despite their similarities, the two illnesses manifest in entirely distinct ways.

You may have a sinus headache if you have a fever, cough, congestion, and headache. Green or yellow mucus could indicate a bacterial sinus infection, which can induce headaches. 

Meanwhile, migraines are distinguished by pain, vision loss, light flashes or bizarre forms, peculiar tastes or scents, and erratic noises. They are hereditary and are more common in women.

Migraine: Symptoms and Treatments 

Certain foods, activities, and environments can cause migraines. One will have to manage nausea, vomiting, nasal discharge, and sensitivity to bright light, specific odors, and loud sounds among the migraine symptoms.

To treat migraine headaches, one may need prescription drugs, tablets, injections, and nasal sprays. These medications are also used to treat seizures, depression, and cardiac problems.

Sinusitis: Symptoms and Treatments

A sinusitis headache may be accompanied by thick nasal discharge and fever if an infection occurs. Additionally, patients with sinus infections frequently complain of ear or upper tooth discomfort.

Your urgent care physician may prescribe a decongestant or an over-the-counter nose spray to help relieve swelling. To assist nasal secretions, take a hot shower and hydrate with warm liquids. If the symptoms persist, seek antibiotics from a walk-in clinic physician to immediately kill the bacteria in your system.


Headaches can appear in our lives in various ways, and due to their resemblance, it’s easy to confuse a migraine with a sinus headache. 

Recognizing the similarities and differences between the two will help you determine if you have a migraine or a sinus headache and seek suitable treatment. Furthermore, you should always seek medical help and avoid self-diagnosing.

Are you looking for primary care physicians in Santa Fe? Aspen Medical Center has the resources to care for you and your family with essential primary care designed to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Our medical staff has extensive expertise caring for patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. Call us now for an appointment!