What Does An Allergy Headache Feel Like
When you experience a headache caused by allergies, you may feel them in any of these spaces within your sinuses. It may even feel like your face, rather than your head, is what really hurts. You may have pain in the cheeks that radiates to your jaw and teeth. You may feel pain on the top of your head.
Allergies may also trigger a migraine headache. This type of headache may include throbbing, and is usually felt on one side of the head. You may find that the pain gets worse in sunlight or that you also feel nauseated.
The skull has a series of connected, hollow spaces known as sinuses, which are lined with soft tissue and a layer of mucus. These sinuses help humidify and filter the air you breathe, and help drain the nose. Allergy symptoms often appear in the sinuses, like when your nose is running or stuffed up.
Some of the spaces that make up the sinuses are found in the:
- Between or behind the eyes
- Behind the nose
You may experience headaches and pain if your sinuses are swollen or their openings are obstructed. This often happens with allergies. Swelling and blockage in the sinuses can prevent normal drainage and airflow, causing a buildup of pressure. Other allergy triggers, such as smoke or certain foods, can lead to headaches.
The degree of pain from an allergy headache can vary widely, from dull to almost debilitating. The level of pain may also change with your position, such as whether you are standing or lying down.
Which Parts Of The Body Are Most Affected By Allergies
Seasonal allergies most often affect your respiratory systemnose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. However, pain from allergies can also affect other parts of your body.
Repeatedly coughing and sneezing can strain the muscles between your ribs or the cartilage that attaches your ribs to your breastbone , causing a lot of pain. Pain can also come from your diaphragm, or breathing muscle, which can transfer pain to your shoulder or neck.
This pain is usually sharp and intense and worsens when you breathe, sneeze, laugh, or cough.
How Allergies Can Cause Body Aches And Pain
When your immune system reacts to allergens, it triggers a process called an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response, or inflammation, is a vital defense mechanism in your body. For example, when you get injured and start bleeding, the inflammatory response brings cells to the affected area to help clot your blood and form a scab to begin the healing process.
However, when your body produces inflammation in response to an allergenmistakenly thinking it’s a threatit can cause annoyingsometimes life-threateningside effects.
During inflammation, chemicals are released by the immune system that bring white blood cells to the affected area to fight off the harmful substance. Pain can also be part of the inflammatory response. Some of the same chemicals that help fight off allergens also activate nerves in the body that causes pain in joints throughout your body.
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Why Sinus Headache Is A Diagnostic Challenge: Similarities And Differences
Another common feature of allergic rhinitis and migraine is their seasonal exacerbation in the spring, fall, and summer months as a result of allergic triggers . A study from South Korea conducted between 2005 and 2013 showed that 13.5 % of migraine patients reported seasonal exacerbations . Moreover, the costs of migraine treatment are higher during allergy season , because many people with migraine experience an increase in headache intensity and frequency due to coexisting allergic rhinitis . Furthermore, ocular and nasal symptoms in allergic rhinitis may vary from day to day, depending on the allergen concentration in the atmosphere .
To avoid a misdiagnosis, it is important to realize that the pain characteristics of each condition may differ. Patients describe sinus-related pain as dull and pressure-like usually bilateral located in the maxillary, glabellar, periorbital, or frontal regions of the skull and worse in the morning. Those with migraine, on the other hand, usually describe the pain as throbbing or stabbing, mostly unilateral, moderate to severe in intensity, located in the temporal or retro-orbital area, and not worse during a particular time of day .
Managing Allergies And Migraine
Managing an increase in migraine frequency related to seasonal allergies usually starts with treating allergy symptoms. Allergy medications, steroid nasal sprays and other medications may effectively manage allergies and reduce migraine frequency. However, there is a lack of evidence-based research that these medications are effective in decreasing migraine frequency and intensity.
Early research shows that allergy shots, also called allergy immunotherapy, were associated with a 52 percent reduction in the frequency of migraines in younger people. However, this study had some limitations and we need additional research to determine the effect of allergy shots on migraine.
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The bottom line: Research shows a link between migraine, allergies and asthma, which could cause people with migraine to experience symptoms that are more frequent during allergy season. Managing seasonal allergies along with migraine treatment from a headache specialist may help to decrease migraine frequency.
Dr. Hida Nierenburg completed her fellowship in headaches at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Headache Institute in New York City, and her residency in neurology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C.
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Chronic Daily Headache And Allergic Rhinitis: Epidemiology And Burden
Chronic daily headache comprises a group of primary and secondary headache disorders in which headache is present on more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months . Approximately, 3 to 5 % of the US population suffers from chronic daily headaches, and the most frequent of which is chronic migraine . This debilitating disorder affects around 2 % of the general population and is the leading cause of outpatient and emergency department visits . According to the most recent health surveillance studies by the US National Center for Health Statistics, migraine affects roughly one in seven Americans annually, which is comparable to statistics from the previous 8 years . Surprisingly, a recent US study found that the proper diagnosis of chronic migraine is often elusive: only 20 % of patients who fulfill the criteria are diagnosed with the disorder . Several studies have provided evidence that migraine is one of the diseases that mimic allergic rhinitis .
Why Allergies May Increase Migraine Symptoms
There are several ways that allergies and asthma could contribute to an increase in migraine frequency, including:
- Increased inflammation: Allergic rhinitis happens when exposure to allergens cause runny nose, congestion and post-nasal drip. Common allergens are cat and dog hair, dust, grass and pollen among others. Allergies and asthma cause inflammation that could increase migraine symptoms. This occurs by activation of cells close to the outer layer of the brain and trigeminal nerve, which is the main pain generator for migraine headache.
- Increased nasal congestion: Nasal congestion caused by seasonal allergies can irritate the trigeminal nerve in the nose, which could trigger migraine headache and associated symptoms.
- Sleep disturbances: Sinus pressure, nasal congestion and trouble breathing through the nose may cause a lack of quality sleep, a known migraine trigger for some people.
- Parasympathetic nerve involvement: Allergy and asthma flare-ups activate nerves in the bodys parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the bodys digestion and rest response when the body is eating or drinking, relaxing or resting. Dehydration, hunger, fatigue and stress are migraine triggers for some people.
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Tips To Avoid Cluster Headaches
You may want to ask your doctor if you should try some of these things:
Melatonin. This is a hormone that your body makes to control sleep-wake cycles. You may have lower levels of it during cluster periods, especially when you have a headache.
Taking a melatonin supplement may help your sleep patterns. Though there is no proof yet that it can help prevent cluster headaches, some headache specialists believe that it is worth trying.
Preventive medication. It may help if your cluster headaches last more than 2 weeks. These drugs include:
- High blood pressure pills such as calcium channel blockers — especially verapamil
- Anti-seizure medications like topiramate
- Lithium, a bipolar medication
You May Need Specialists To Treat Your Migraine And Allergies
Its important to be aware that migraine and allergies are commonly present in the same person and both issues need to be addressed, says Hamilton.
It might take potentially seeing different doctors both an allergist and a neurologist and trying different medications for both conditions. In some cases, you may not get complete relief until you address both issues, she says.
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What About Herbal Remedies
If your earache is caused by seasonal allergies, then treating the underlying problem is most likely to bring you effective relief for this and other symptoms. Pollinosan Allergy Relief Tablets are made to an original A.Vogel recipe and combine several herbs to target the effects of the bodys abnormal reaction to seasonal allergies.
If you are looking for a herbal remedy specifically to target earache, then Plantago is often found to be effective. It is thought to reduce inflammation of membranes in the upper respiratory tract, and also to contain naturally occurring antibiotics. It is for this reason that it is often found to be effective in the treatment of ear problems.
What Is A Headache
A headache is a painful feeling in the head, face, or neck that can range from dull to sharp depending on the reason you are experiencing it and the severity of your symptoms.
Most headaches are caused by an increased sensation in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles of the head and neck.
There are six common types of headaches that affect most people, including:
- Sinus headache
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Are There Home Remedies To Help With My Headache
The remedies you try for your headache will largely be dependent on the type of headache you are experiencing. For example, a sinus headache may benefit from treatment with a decongestant, such as holding your head over a steaming pot of water, or breathing in peppermint oil.
Whatever type of headache you experience, it is also important to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water or clear fluids. This also helps to thin the mucus building up in your sinuses, helping the substance drain away. Being hydrated also promotes good blood flow and circulation, minimising your risk of developing migraine headaches.
However, the most effective home remedies for seasonal allergies headaches are likely to be those which involve reducing your exposure to pollen such as by avoiding areas of newly cut grass, or wearing glasses when outdoors.
Wash your hands before you touch your face to reduce the amount of pollen from your hands to your nose, mouth or eyes.
Allergy Headaches: Causes Triggers Symptoms & Treatment
If you suffer from allergies, that bad headache may be triggered by allergy symptoms. Some refer to it as an allergy headache, although it gets somewhat complicated from there.
Some patients report allergy headaches as a direct link to their allergies. What theyre referring to may be discomfort in the nasal passages due to allergy symptoms or a different type of headache altogether.
Sinus headaches and migraines can both be triggered by allergies or even a cervical spinal misalignment.
Its essential to understand the root causes of your headache. An accurate diagnosis will determine your treatment plan and triggers to avoid and prevent future headaches.
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Home Remedies For Earaches
There are several home remedies available for treating earaches, many of which use simple ingredients found in your cupboard at home.
Relieving congestion in the ear may help to ease your earache. This can be achieved by inhaling steam or menthol. This helps to open the Eustachian tube so that any fluids inside the middle ear are able to drain away.Equalising the pressure in your ear may also help to ease seasonal allergies induced earache. This can be achieved by yawning, chewing gum or holding your nose and blowing until your ears pop. However, you should be very gentle when doing this so that you do not damage the delicate structures of the ear.You should be careful before putting anything into your ear, particularly if you suspect you are suffering from a perforated eardrum, as this can worsen the condition.
Try Home Remedies To Relieve Sinus Issues And Coughs
There are several at-home remedies you can try to help clear your sinuses, relieve your headache, and prevent cough triggers.
Start by drinking plenty of warm water to drain and thin out clinging mucus. Try a warm, moist compress over the bridge of your nose to see if you can alleviate pressure from your headache. A steam roomor even the steam from a hot showercan also help the sinuses decongest and offer relief.
To prevent post-nasal drip that may trigger coughs, consider using a saline spray to clear your nasal passageways, or decongest by inhaling steam.8
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When To See A Doctor
If you have an excruciating headache, have nausea and vomiting occurring with your headache, or lose consciousness or vision, call your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room right away. These can be signs of a more serious health condition.
If you are experiencing headaches with frequency or have one that won’t resolve, consult your healthcare provider. If you have questions or concerns about medications or other treatments, discuss them during your appointment. Your healthcare provider can offer additional information and instructions on how to treat your headaches safely.
Why Does Seasonal Allergies Cause Earache
Not every sufferer of seasonal allergies experiences earache. However, for those who do, it can be one of the most inconvenient symptoms as it can not only be extremely painful but also begin to affect your hearing.
Earache comes as a result of your body reacting to pollen as if it were a harmful substance. The chemical histamine is released and mucous membranes lining the nasal cavities and ears become inflamed. This can cause a blockage in the ears and prevent fluid or mucus from draining away. This then leads to pressure building up inside the ears.
However, it is also possible for an infection to develop in the middle ear. This is more common in children whose Eustachian tubes are less developed. Often an ear infection will clear up by itself however if you are concerned about your condition or are suffering from a recurring ear infection, this should be checked by a doctor.
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Are There Conventional Medicines To Help Me
Initially, a doctor or pharmacist is likely to recommend anti-histamines to help to ease all symptoms of seasonal allergies and a nasal decongestant to help clear the Eustachian tubes. However, if your earache persists, they may check for signs of infection. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or drops.
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An Introduction To Earache And Seasonal Allergies
Earache is not the most common symptom of seasonal allergies and is usually an indication of sinus congestion or an ear infection. Earache can also occur when the membrane lining of the Eustachian tube in the middle ear becomes inflamed as it reacts to pollen. This can cause an imbalance in pressure in the ear resulting in feelings of blocked ears.
How To Find Relief When You Have An Allergy Headache
If you have an allergist in place already, it doesnt hurt to see them to make sure your medication is working for you.
In general, Dr. Kleva says theyll recommend that you use a nasal spray like Flonase, Rhinocort, or Nasacort to help keep things under control. However, she points out, these drugs take time to work and wont clear up your headache right away.
For quick relief, Dr. Kleva recommends reaching for an OTC antihistamine with a decongestant like Allegra-D, which you can pick up at most drugstores. These shouldnt be used longterm, though, she says.
Its also a good idea to avoid your triggers as best you can, Dr. Wright says .
And if youre still struggling, see your doctor. They can make recommendations based on your individual needs to help clear up your allergy headaches once and for all.
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Migraine And Sinus Headache Have Overlapping Symptoms
Part of the reason for confusion is because oftentimes, migraine-related headaches mimic what people typically think of as sinus headaches, she explains. You can have pain over the sinuses and over the face with both types of headache. With migraine, there can also be symptoms that are similar to allergy symptoms, like a stuffy or runny nose and eye tearing, and that overlap can be why patients are misdiagnosed, says Hamilton.
However, there are some key symptoms of migraine that you wont find in other types of headaches, which can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Some people with migraine have a visual aura that includes bright spots, lights, or colors prior to the onset of an attack, which wouldnt happen in a tension-type or sinus headache.