Sinus headaches Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. You may be referred to a neurologist who specializes in headaches and migraines.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and to know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restricting your diet.

Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.

Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.

Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.

Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help you remember what your doctor tells you.

Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For sinus headaches, some basic questions to ask include:

What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?

Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?

What tests do I need?

Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?

What is the best course of action?

What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?

I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

Are there any restrictions I need to follow?

Should I see a specialist?

Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?

Are there brochures or other printed materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you may have.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

When did you first experience your headache, and what was it like?

Has your headache been continuous or occasional?

Has anyone in your immediate family had migraines?

What seems to improve your headaches?

What appears to worsen your headaches?

Risk factorsTests and diagnosis



Patel ZM, et al. Evaluation and management of "sinus headache" in the otolaryngology practice. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2014;47:269.

Sinusitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.

Levine H, et al. Why the confusion about sinus headache? Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2014;47:169.

Sinus infection (sinusitis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.

Bajwa CH, et al. Headache syndrome other than migraine. Accessed Jan. 24, 2015.

Sinus headaches. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Accessed Jan. 23, 2015.

O'Brien EK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 2, 2015.

Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Accessed Jan. 19, 2015.

Bajwa ZH, et al. Acute treatment of migraine in adults. Accessed Feb. 12, 2015.

Chai NC, et al. Migraine and estrogen. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2014;27:315.


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Sinus headaches Preparing for your appointment