Sinus Headaches and Migraines: What Sets Them Apart?

sinus headaches, migraine chiropractor in Carmel, IN

Migraines and sinus headaches are very similar in symptoms, but there are differences. Knowing these differences can help you and your doctor or migraine chiropractor in Carmel, IN develop a better care plan. Let's help you set these two conditions apart with the help of our comprehensive patient guide below. 


Why Do People Mistake Migraines and Sinus Headaches?

If you have a headache, the pain causing your discomfort likely stems from a migraine or sinus headache. Most people will experience more than one type of headache in their lifetime. However, it's also to experience both types of debilitating conditions at different times of the year or during stages of life such as puberty, pregnancy, and aging.  

The two types are very similar because they both cause pressure on tissues inside your head and lead to pain around your eyes, forehead, and cheeks. However, there are several ways that these two types differ from each other.


Migraine 101

Migraine headaches are often painful, long-lasting (4 to 72 hours), and recurrent. They can be debilitating for the sufferers, making working or performing daily tasks more difficult. Migraine headaches are typically felt on one side of the head and affect one or both sides of your face. 

You may also experience tingling sensations in the part of your body where you have the migraine attack. Doctors and other healthcare professionals refer to this as aura. If you have an aura before a migraine attack, you should expect its symptoms to last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. 

Notably, patients seeking a migraine chiropractor in Carmel, IN, also experience additional symptoms after the initial stages of an attack. These include the following: 

  • Pain in one area of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Pulsing sensation in your head 
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme sensitivity to smells and taste
  • Anxiety
  • Visual disturbances that include flashing lights or blind spots
  • Depression
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and a loss of balance (spatial disorientation)
  • A feeling of being "hung-over" when you wake up, with headache, pain, and nausea
  • Feeling irritable or depressed 
  • Sleep problems
  • Numbness in your hands and feet
  • A feeling of being "out of it" or confused 

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines and other headaches, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

What Causes Migraines?

Migraines are the result of changes in the brain. Some studies associate episodes with the trigeminal nerve – a nerve bundle responsible for pain perception, vision, and other sensory functions. Others also link migraines to poor blood flow to the brain due to tensed muscles along the neck or vertebral bone shifting.  

If you're prone to migraines, you should also look out for known triggers like food products you are sensitive to, excessive stress (in whatever form), weather fluctuations, and hormonal fluctuations.


Sinus Headache 101

If you're experiencing head pain, it can be challenging to know if it's a migraine or sinus headache. In fact, it is possible to have both at the same time, and if you do, it can be even more confusing. However, some tell-tale signs of each type of headache will help you differentiate between them. As for sinus headaches, they are generally caused by inflammation in one of the four pairs of air passages behind your nose and eyes:

  • the maxillary sinuses (underneath your cheeks)
  • ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes)
  • sphenoid sinuses (behind the forehead)
  • frontal sinuses (between your eyebrows)

Sinus headaches typically result from allergies or colds; however, they can also get triggered by infections such as strep throat or a bacterial infection in your upper respiratory tract. Notably, the symptoms of sinus headaches include:

  • Pain on one side of your face
  • Pain behind one eye
  • Pain above or below an eye
  • A runny nose and congestion
  • Sneezing or coughing may produce mucus that's green or yellow in color

Headaches that are associated with sinusitis can be excruciating. But it may be worth noting that you can potentially address it with the help of proven remedies or techniques, including visiting a migraine chiropractor in Carmel, IN.


What Causes Sinus Headaches?

Allergies and a cold or flu can cause sinus headaches. Allergies can cause inflammation of the sinuses, which can lead to pressure on the face and head. Additionally, if you have an upper respiratory infection, your sinuses can swell, causing noticeable facial pressure buildup or nasal congestion. 

It can also be caused by a deviated septum, which is a nasal obstruction that prevents airflow through one side of your nose more than another (the right side of your nose is generally more affected than the left). The most common cause of a deviated septum is an injury to the cartilage tissue during childhood development. However, adults may experience this issue due to trauma or accident later in life.

We hope that with this article, we have assisted you in understanding migraines and sinus headaches better. If you're experiencing a headache and suspect it could be either one of these conditions, we recommend that you reach out to a chiropractor for an accurate diagnosis. They can determine which one (or both) is causing your pain and help treat it accordingly. 


Connect With a Trusted Migraine Chiropractor in Carmel, IN

If you've been suffering from migraines or sinus headaches and are looking for a tried and tested migraine chiropractor in Carmel, IN, that can help you, look no further than Dr. Tymothy Flory of Atlas Spinal Care! Dr. Flory can help manage migraine and sinus headaches with the help of careful neck bone adjustments. 

Find out if your posture is related to your recurring health concern. We will check neck bones using sophisticated techniques like three-dimensional X-ray scans and spinal structure analysis.

So if you struggle with any of the two conditions we discussed above, we encourage reaching out to our team! Call us at (463) 223-8227 or email


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Flory, call our Carmel office at 463-223-8227. You can also click the button below.

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