By Kerrie Smyres | September 6, 2006
People with nasal allergies may have a greater incidence of migraine, according to a recent study. The study, which had 294 participants, found that 34% of people with hay fever (aka allergic rhinitis) had migraine symptoms; only 4% of participants without hay fever had such symptoms.
But don’t jump to conclusions!
This study doesn’t prove that migraines are caused by allergies. Instead it’s that people who have migraine might have the condition triggered by hay fever. These folks already have headache disorders, but the allergies may be what triggers them to come out of the woodwork. (This is how all triggers work — they don’t cause migraine, but put an already present condition into action.)
These findings also do not contradict research that says that 90% of what patients and doctors classify as sinus headache is actually migraine. That’s not necessarily true. The results may in fact reinforce the previous studies. People with allergies may be more likely to have migraine-like symptoms than those without. That doesn’t mean that those in the 34% were suffering from sinus headaches. They could be having migraines that are triggered by the allergies.
Debates about allergies and headaches are likely to go on forever. In addition to the research that I’ve read, my obvious bias is also influenced by anecdotal “evidence.” I spent a long time treating allergies and visiting allergists to treat my headaches. After two allergists in one practice said I didn’t have allergies, I found another one who did. I did this before I was diagnosed with migraine, but, migraine or not, allergy treatments didn’t help. Many people tell me similar stories. Again, stories aren’t enough to make something medical fact, but they may help you not waste precious time in treating your headaches.
Tanks, Pam for bringing this important article to my attention!