November 27, 2013

Allergy Sufferers also Have More Severe Migraines

Many people suffer from migraines. Many people also suffer from allergies. What may have been suspected but is now clarified is that those individuals who suffer from BOTH allergies and migraines have much more frequent and severe headaches than those who do not have allergies. [link]

Based on a survey response from 5,849 patients who suffer from migraines, over two-thirds also suffered from allergies. From this group, researchers found that the odds of experiencing more frequent headaches for individuals with allergies and migraines were 33 percent greater than those suffering from migraines without allergies.

When patients were further subdivided based on the type of allergy they had (allergic, non-allergic, or both), those who suffered from both allergic and non-allergic had the most frequent and severe headaches.

Although there appears to be an association between allergies and migraine severity, the question now becomes whether the migraines themselves increase sino-nasal symptoms OR does the sino-nasal symptoms of allergies aggravate or trigger the migraine.

Based on a prior study, it is known that migraine patients under 45 years with allergies who received allergy shots had 52% less frequent and severe headaches than those who did not receive allergy shots. As such, it may be worthwhile to aggressively treat any sino-nasal symptoms in patients who suffer from migraine headaches. Such treatment may involve not just medications, but even surgery if anatomic trigger points are seen.

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. Published online before print November 25, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0333102413512031

Allergy and immunotherapy: are they related to migraine headache? Headache. 2011 Jan;51(1):8-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2010.01792.x. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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