When you think of allergy symptoms, it’s likely that your mind fills with thoughts of sniffles, sneezing, a runny nose, and maybe hives, or itchy eyes. While these are some of the most common allergy symptoms, they are not the only ones. Allergies can also frequently lead to one of two types of headaches, migraine or sinus headaches. Both are referred to under the single heading of allergy headache.
What is an Allergy Headache?
An allergy headache occurs when allergy symptoms trigger a headache. Allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, causes inflammation of the sinuses. This inflammation can present as sinus pressure, and facial pain throughout the nose, forehead, and cheekbones. It can also be accompanied by symptoms that resemble the common cold: sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes/watery eyes, nasal congestion, and nasal buildup.
Common Causes of Allergy Headaches
The causes of your allergy headache may depend on your allergies and the type of headache you’re experiencing. They will normally coincide with your regular allergy triggers and allergy sufferers will often experience both worse symptoms and more frequent headaches in the springtime.
It’s important to note here that allergy headaches are often miss diagnosed as sinus headaches or sinusitis. However, sinus headaches are actually quite rare, and more often than not, what a patient is experiencing is a migraine. Common allergy headache triggers can include:
- Hay fever or seasonal allergies
Headaches caused by hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, aren’t a result of sinus headaches. It’s the inflammation in your nasal passages that is causing you discomfort.
- Histamine responses
Histamines are your immune system’s response to allergy triggers such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores. They can cause the worst of your allergy symptoms, and may even trigger migraines in those prone to chronic headaches.
- Food allergies
Some foods can trigger a headache response not because of the allergy itself, but because of your own food sensitivities. There is some evidence that foods like dairy, chocolate, and eggs may cause migraines in some.
- Certain medications
Certain medications, even those prescribed to treat migraines, headaches, or allergies can trigger the very headaches and migraines they are meant to treat.
It’s possible that the headache you’re experiencing may be the result of allergens triggering an immune system response. This causes inflammation that presents as a migraine attack. If you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, it may not have anything to do with your allergies at all.
- Misalignment of the upper cervical spine
Sometimes migraine or sinus headaches are actually symptoms of misalignments in the upper cervical spine.
How Long Does an Allergy Headache Last?
It depends on the real cause of your headache. An allergy headache can last as long as you’re exposed to the triggers for your allergy symptoms. True sinus headaches are the result of a sinus infection and can last up to 2 weeks while migraine attacks can last for hours or days at a time.
Allergy Headache Prevention
The key to allergy headache prevention lies in limiting your exposure to known allergens and triggers. That may mean spending more time inside during allergy season and leaving yardwork for those without seasonal allergies. To prevent the worst allergy symptoms:
- Keep windows closed on days with high pollen counts
- Drink lots of water
- Use a dehumidifier
- Take steam baths or hot showers to
- Use allergy-friendly bedding
- Wash your hands often, especially when you’ve been in contact with known allergens
- Vacuum and dust your living space regularly
- Avoid strong-smelling fragrances, air fresheners, and deodorizers
- Consider bare floors if your living space is carpeted
- Apply a warm washcloth or compress to the sinus area to reduce inflammation
Drug-Free Relief For Allergy Headache Sufferers
Here at Atlas Specific, instead of treating your allergy symptoms with medications to mask them, we look for the root cause of the problem. Upper cervical care can restore your body’s ability to adapt to allergens. By correcting vertebral subluxations in your upper cervical spine we aim to locate and reduce disturbances to your central nervous system allowing your body to better communicate with your brainstem and heal itself from the inside out. Our method of care can not only relieve your chronic headaches, but it can also help to prevent those headaches from returning.
If you or someone you know suffers from allergy headaches, there’s no need to live with chronic pain and discomfort any longer. Click the link below to schedule a complimentary initial consultation, visit our Durango office at 1800 E 3rd Ave #108, or call us at 970.259.6803.
Notice of Disclaimer:
We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.