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Sinus X-Ray

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2014

The symptoms of sinus headaches and the symptoms of migraines are very similar. In fact, studies show that most people who think they suffer from sinus headaches actually have migraines. Sinus symptoms in migraine sufferers include: facial pain, sinus pressure, nasal congestion, runny nose, teary eyes, head pain triggered by weather changes, pulsating pain and puffy eyelids. Doctors - 42 percent of them - also mistake migraine symptoms for sinus headaches.

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A sinus X-Ray can be performed to examine the nasal passages. Although this test does not confirm a migraine diagnosis, but if the sinus X-Ray fails to show sinus inflammation the culprit is most likely migraine.

Why have a Sinus X-Ray for Migraines?

  • Sinus X-Rays can detect:
  • Sinusitis—swelling or inflammation of the membranes lining the sinuses
  • Problems with the bone structure
  • Evidence of fluid in the sinuses
  • Thickening of the mucus membrane
  • Tumors
  • Obstructions

However, CT scan, also called CAT Scan is now used most often because it shows a clearer picture.

How do Sinus X-Rays work?

Just like other X-Rays, electromagnetic radiation is used to capture images of the hard substances, such as bone, inside the body. The Sinus X-Ray takes a quick, painless picture of the sinuses, which are filled with air and are located in the front of the skull. If you may be pregnant, let your health care provider know immediately because X-Ray’s can harm developing babies. Before the X-Ray, you’ll be asked to take off eyeglasses, jewelry and other metal objects.

Because there is no established test to diagnose migraines, the best way to confirm if you suffer from migraines is to keep a detailed record of all of your migraine symptoms in a migraine journal.