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Allergies, Sinus congestion and headaches – the link!

In my practice I have noticed that many patients mention that they suffer with allergies that give them stuffy noses or forehead and orbital pain around the eyes. Many times they are also headache or migraine sufferers. Now there is a study linking these conditions which helps to explain why our holistic approach to treatment works so well.

New research from the University of Cincinnati University of Cincinnati (UC), Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Vedanta Research, has shown that seasonal allergies could make you suffer from more severe migraine headaches, This study, published in the journal Cephalalgia, has established a direct link between nasal allergies (rhinitis) and the frequency of migraines.

“The fact that rhinitis occurred in more than half of these individuals emphasizes that these disorders are intimately linked,” said Jonathan Bernstein, MD, medicine professor and clinical research director in the division of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at UC.
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Around 12% of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, while anywhere between 25-50% of the population is affected by seasonal allergies. Researchers analyzed data from the 2008 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study, which included nearly 6,000 respondents.

◦   Two out of three people with migraine reported suffering from rhinitis, also known as nasal allergies, seasonal allergies, or hay fever.
◦   Migraine sufferers with rhinitis had a 33% greater risk of suffering from frequent headaches.
◦   People with “mixed rhinitis”– whose nasal symptoms were triggered by both allergic and non-allergic triggers– were 45% more likely to suffer from frequent headaches and 60% more likely to have more disabling headaches than those without rhinitis. (Allergic triggers included cats, dogs, mold, or tree pollen while non-allergic included cigarette smoke, weather changes, perfumes, and gasoline.)
“The nose has largely been ignored as an important site involved in the initiation and exacerbation of migraine headache,” said coauthor Richard Lipton, MD, “Rhinitis exacerbates migraine, as these results suggest, treating rhinitis may provide an important approach to relieving headache in people with both disorders.”

Our chiropractors can assist patients in the natural management of tension and migraine headaches, rhinitis leading to sinusitis and allergies. Getting adequate treatment for the pain and the allergic conditions may be crucial for reducing the frequency of migraine headache.

References

Martin, VT. Chronic rhinitis and its association with headache frequency and disability in persons with migraine: Results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study. Cephalalgia 2013; 10.1177/0333102413512031.