People suffering from migraines are often misdiagnosed

People suffering from migraines are often misdiagnosed | NASA MRI Blog

A recent article in the advice section of the Naples Daily News brought up a very important issue for people who suffer from migraines: they may not even know that migraines are the cause of their pain. In the advice column a woman in her thirties reports that she has been suffering from sinus headaches for many years. Allergy medications are not working for her, and she is inquiring for advice on other options to try.

Dr. Anthony Komaroff responds to her question, noting that the headache pain she is reporting is not actually a symptom of sinus problems. Speaking with a colleague, Dr. Komaroff goes on to note that migraines can cause symptoms that are similar to sinus problems such as sinus pressure, clear discharge, and red, watery eyes.

This is something that we see at Neuroscience and Spine associates. When people are experiencing sinus pain they often assume this is a result of an allergy. What they are not aware of is that a large percentage of migraine sufferers report symptoms similar to allergic conditions such as sinus pain and pressure, and even a runny nose.

Another reason migraine may be misdiagnosed is that common migraine triggers can seem exactly like an allergic condition.

Common triggers for a migraine include:

  • Food, Drinks, and Food Additives
  • Sensory Stimuli
  • Environmental Changes
  • Medications

With these kind of triggers it is not hard to understand why people may think they are suffering from allergies, when in fact they are experiencing migraines. In fact, an allergist may inadvertently reduce your undiagnosed migraines, unintentionally enforcing your belief that you have allergies.

That Tricky Tyramine

Imagine that whenever you eat certain cheeses a few hours later your nose is runny and you have sinus pain. You consult your primary care physician or allergist, you tell him or her about your experience and they suggest not eating that cheese for a month to see what happens. A month later your return to your doctor and report no allergy symptoms. Your doctor determines you are allergic to cheese, case closed.

Well, perhaps not.

A common suspect found in foods that are often reported as migraine triggers is tyramine. A trace amine that occurs naturally, tyramine is found in meats that have been pickled, fermented, marinated, smoked, aged, or spoiled. This can include poultry, fish, beef, and pork. It’s also found in alcohol, chocolate, cheese, avocados, eggplants, raspberries, yeast, and more. Other common migraine triggers that don’t include tyramine include the sweetener aspartame, caffeine, and tannins.

How can I find out if I have migraines that may have been misdiagnosed as sinus of allergy headache?

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from a misdiagnosed migraine you can contact the Headache Specialists of Neuroscience and Spine Associates.

There are different types of headaches, and they all require different treatment and prevention methods. A neurologist will be able to distinguish which headache type you have, and begin a treatment plan specific to your needs.

The neurologists at Neuroscience and Spine Associates diagnose and treat migraines in the Naples, Florida area with skill, experience, and caring. If you have any questions about migraine headaches and would like to speak with a neurologist feel free to contact us.

Read the original Naples Daily New article