Is Frequent Sneezing a Sign of Migraines?

Here’s a fact that may surprise you: People who suffer from migraines sneeze more than people who don’t suffer from migraines. It’s true. It happens because migraine sufferers experience higher rates of rhinitis than people without migraines. Dr. Budler often talks to patients with migraines who report the symptoms of rhinitis along with migraine pain.

What Is Rhinitis?

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal passages. Rhinitis causes a runny nose, congestion, itchy nose and frequent sneezing. Another common symptom of rhinitis is a headache.

There are three kinds of rhinitis: allergic, non-allergic and mixed. Allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander or mold cause allergic rhinitis, while viruses like the common cold or the flu cause non-allergic rhinitis. Mixed rhinitis is a combination of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.

Rhinitis and Migraines

A 2014 study of 6,000 individuals with migraines found that 66 percent of participants also had rhinitis. Researchers also found that the frequency and severity of migraines were worse in people with rhinitis than those without rhinitis.

The study also found that mixed rhinitis patients were likely to experience more sneezing, pain and migraines than other combinations of rhinitis and migraine sufferers.

So, Are They Connected?

Yes. While the study shows evidence of a connection, it doesn’t mean that rhinitis causes migraines or vice versa.

It’s not a stretch to think about a relationship between rhinitis and migraines, as many triggers of rhinitis are also triggers of migraines.

The theory held by some migraine researchers is that when the nasal passages are irritated and inflamed as a result of a triggering stimulus, they, in turn, irritate and inflame the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is one of the main nerves of the face, and when it becomes agitated, it causes the sphenopalatine ganglion, or SPG, to become irritated. The SPG is a group of nerves located behind the nasal cavity. When the SPG becomes agitated, it tells the brain to send a pain response of a migraine.

Researchers believe the connection between the two is very plausible, as 63 percent of rhinitis sufferers in the study who claimed they had a sinus headache were experiencing a migraine instead.

Do you suffer from migraines? Learn more about the SPG block procedure offered by Advanced Radiology. Call 855-201-1519 today to schedule your consultation.