How Could Covid-19 Impact People with Migraine?

January 26, 2024
February 8, 2022
How Could Covid-19 Impact People with Migraine?

Many people with migraine have noticed their headache frequency worsen after being diagnosed with Covid-19.  The truth is that it isn’t just Covid - most upper respiratory infections are also associated with headaches and muscle pain.  Anyone who’s had influenza remembers how severe the muscle aches can be, and if you have migraine, your migraine will worsen then too.  

Sinus pain is a common feature of migraine.  If you were to ask most people what the most common types of headaches are, most people would mention “sinus headache”. The truth is, most sinus headache pain is actually migraine.  During a migraine attack, the nerve endings covering the brain can become sensitized.  The nerve endings in the back of the eye lead to light sensitivity, the ones in the inner ear lead to noise sensitivity and the nerve endings in the sinus cause sinus pain and pressure.

Although migraines can worsen during a Covid infection, they usually improve once the infection has passed.  Rarely, headaches can linger, and they can be associated with long-haul Covid symptoms.  These are a constellation of symptoms that can become daily after a Covid infection. Other long-haul Covid symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, vertigo, lightheadedness, numbness and weakness.

We still don’t know exactly why some people develop long-haul Covid symptoms, and why specific symptoms occur.  Some researchers have thought that it could be related to an ongoing inflammatory response that affects specific organ systems, like the nervous system.  

A similar condition called New Daily Persistent Headache can occur after infections, procedures or stressful life events, and can be a very difficult-to-treat headache subtype.  If you are worsening headaches or other neurological symptoms after a Covid infection, reach out to your neurologist or headache specialist - they will likely recommend specific treatment options for your symptoms.    

If you’d like to speak with a doctor about your Covid-related headaches, you can join Neura Health and schedule same-day or next-day video appointments with a board-certified neurologist specializing in headache medicine.

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Thomas Berk, MD FAHS
Thomas Berk is Medical Director at Neura Health, where he treats Neura patients via video visit. He is a former Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
About the Author
Thomas Berk, MD FAHS is Medical Director of Neura Health and a neurologist and headache specialist based in New York City. A former Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, he has over 12 years of clinical experience. He graduated from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and completed his neurology residency at NYU as well. He completed a headache fellowship at the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia. He is a Fellow of the American Headache Society and has been on the Super Doctors list of rising stars for the past five years.

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