Sinus Headache Misdiagnosis & Treatment

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Key Questions
  • How often is “sinus headache” actually migraine?
  • Is it common for migraine to be misdiagnosed as rhinogenic headache?
  • What are the overlapping symptoms of rhinogenic headache and migraine?
  • Is the pain caused by sinusitis different from the pain caused by a migraine attack?
  • What are the causes of acute and chronic sinusitis?
  • How is suspected sinusitis treated, and how effective are those treatments?
  • How can a patient distinguish between migraine and sinus disorder symptoms?
  • Can a patient with migraine also have sinusitis?
  • What medications can help patients manage both migraine and sinus symptoms?
  • How can allergy medications affect migraine symptoms?
Interview Notes
Treatments Mentioned
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Azelastine (Optivar)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Decongestants
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Fluticasone (Flonase)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Sinus surgery
  • Steroid nasal sprays

Please note: The Migraine World Summit’s aim is to bring you a variety of perspectives and expertise, independent of bias or judgment. Alternative theories presented in this video have not been medically reviewed. Views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of the Migraine World Summit. Please always consult your health care professional and do your own research before making changes to your treatment plan.

Mark E. Mehle, MD, FACS

Clinical Assistant Professor of Anatomy
Northeast Ohio Medical University and Southwest General Hospital

Mark E. Mehle, MD, FACS, is a member of Southwest General Medical Group ENT Associates and is clinical assistant professor of anatomy at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio. He is also section chief of otolaryngology at Southwest General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Mehle graduated from Youngstown State University (summa cum laude) with a bachelor of science degree in combined science, and earned his medical degree at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. He completed his internship in general surgery and his residency in otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Mehle is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.

A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Mehle is also a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, the American Rhinological Society, and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. He is a board member of the Association of Migraine Disorders. He has published several articles on various medical topics in Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, and Head & Neck, among others. He is editor of the book Sinus Headache, Migraine, and the Otolaryngologist, published by Springer in 2017. Dr. Mehle has conducted clinical research on sinus headache and rhinitis, and he has lectured and taught on these topics across the country.

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