See Inside February/March 2006

Migraine, Not Sinus

According to recent data, American doctors routinely misdiagnose migraines as “sinus headaches”—as if pressure from clogged sinuses is causing the pain. Then they prescribe antibiotics, which do nothing, notes Mark Green, director of the Columbia University Headache Center in New York City. “Medically,” he says, “there is no such thing” as a sinus headache.

Migraines are an inherited form of recurring headaches, in some cases accompanied by auras: perceived noises or flashing lights. Patients who go untreated for too long may incur structural changes in their brains, so they should insist on proper therapy, which may involve drugs similar to those used by epileptics.

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