When Allergies Strike: Advice to Migraineurs for Spring and Summer

We are in full swing of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and allergens are making their way into our daily lives. Many fear that maybe it’s not allergies at all – perhaps this crappy feeling is something worse. A lot is happening, and with communities in the early stages of reopening, it’s vital to stay alert, safe, and informed.

In previous posts, I discussed a few natural remedies for allergies causing migraines, as well as how allergies and asthma link to migraine. Today, I’d like to give you a few tips for managing migraines in spring and summer when allergies are usually at their worst. Of course, we always start by identifying the allergens, which you can do in a variety of ways. Start by getting to know the allergens you’re exposed to regularly, and then pay attention to how you feel after exposure. Keep in mind that it can take a couple of days for symptoms to show, so write everything down. Don’t depend on your memory.

A harder thing to pin down is how migraines connect to allergens. Most of the time, broad treatment doesn’t work for migraine management, so identifying migraine triggers is the most critical part of the job. Even if you haven’t determined which environmental irritant is causing problems, you can still benefit from these tips.

Migraineurs are 10xmore likely to have allergies that make migraines worse, and people with allergies get migraines more frequently. Therefore, I’m going to start with the main tip, which is to evaluate your symptoms to determine the type of pain you’re having.

The Difference Between Allergy Induced Migraine and Sinus Headaches

Often, the pain and pressure you feel as a result of allergies is likely a migraine rather than a sinus headache. In this study, most of the participants who were thought to have a sinus headache actually had a migraine. So, what’s the difference?

Sinus headache symptoms have unique traits that aren’t usually present with migraines, including:

·         Fever

·         Bad breath

·         Toothache

·         Difficulty identifying scents

·         Brown, yellow, or green discharge from the nose

Migraine symptoms look slightly different, and include:

·         Pain on one or both sides of the head

·         Throbbing pain

·         Sensitivity to light, noise, and smells

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         Visual disturbances

·         Clear nasal discharge

If you know you’re having allergy related migraines, then you’ll want to pay attention to this next tip:

Take a CLOSE LOOK at Your Diet

This is a big one. Examine everything you’re putting into your body. Ingredients can exacerbate both allergies and migraines. A food diary will help you in this process. Jot down everything you eat and drink, and be sure to note your body’s reactions. How do you feel? Were allergies worse or better that day? Did you experience migraine symptoms? What was going on when symptoms started?

When you’re ready, try the elimination diet or something more migraine-friendly like the keto diet.

Don’t Jump for the Pill Bottle

And finally, the last piece of advice I’d like to give migraineurs with allergies is to do everything you can to avoid using over-the-counter or prescription medications. While they have their uses, there’s a time and place to use them. At the beginning of this post, there’s a link for natural remedies. I urge you to review that post and comment with questions or concerns.

We will never be able to generalize or broaden treatment for migraines, especially when there are uncontrollable issues at play like allergies or asthma. The important thing is that you continually work toward finding safer and better ways of dealing with triggers and migraines. It starts with you, and you’re already doing it! Research is half the battle. Now, it’s time to make your move. Contact me via this site or through social media to talk about what that might mean for you.

Sources:

1.       Wiley Online Library: “Sinus headache”: rhinogenic headache or migraine? An evidence‐based guide to diagnosis and treatment (linked in text).

2.       Healthline:  Allergy Migraine: Could That Be Causing Your Headaches? (Linked in text)

3.       Weil: Allergy Headaches