Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough?

Some people, the pressure caused by coughing can lead to a painful headache. Often, a cough headache will do resolved on its own and is nothing to worry about. Other times, it may represent a more serious condition.

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough: CAUSES

There are two types of cough headaches: primary and secondary. Both primary and secondary cough headaches are thought to be triggered by sudden pressure within the abdomen and chest. This pressure, and the subsequent headache, can also occur when:

  • Laughing: straining during bowel movements bending over.
  • Sneezing: You may cough more forcefully or more often if you have a sinus congestion.

More forceful coughing may increase your risk of coughing headaches.



Primary headaches can come  on suddenly and are not usually serious. They are most common in men and  people who are over the age of  40and  their root cause is unknown.

You may get a primary cough headache while coughing or immediately afterwards. Coughing headaches are  felt on both sides of the head of typically lateral. Unilateral, or one-sided, headaches are not  always commonly associated with the cough headaches.
Additional symptoms may include:

  • A sharp, stabbing pain, sometimes followed by dull, aching pain, which can last for a couple hours.
  • An initial pain lasting several seconds and turning to several minutes.


Secondary cough headaches always initially feel the same as primary cough headaches, but may also include additional symptoms. These include:

  • Feeling of unsteadiness or difficulty with balance a longer lasting headache.
  • Fainting.
  • Dizziness

Secondary headaches can be more serious, underlying condition. These include:


A Chiari malformation is a structural defect caused by a misshapen or too-small skull, or a defect Called cerebellum, and the part of the brain responsible for balancing. Chiari malformations do form during fetal development and before birth which can also occur later in your life as the result of an i, infection, or disease or injury.


Brain tumors are masses of abnormal cells found in or near your brain. They can be  malignant or benign.


A brain aneurysm is a  weakness or bulges in a blood vessel in the brain. These bulges sometimes rupture, making life threatening very quickly. Changes in the pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid. An increase or decrease in the pressure can cause headaches.

Seeking Doctors Help ON Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough

Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing cough headaches and are concerned about them. You should also see your doctor if you are:

  • Always experiencing cough headaches and which is  new have a symptoms that have to do  with secondary cough headaches.
  • If you have a painful cough headaches, or those which last a longer period have double vision or blurred are experiencing frequent cough headaches. If your doctor is seriously concerned about, or do suspects secondary cough headache, the doctor will order diagnostic imaging tests to look at your brain. These may include computerized tomography scan(CTS) and  magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 


Several number of medications may help reduce primary cough headaches which can  include:
1. Prescription steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and lessen coughing blood pressure medication, medications that relax blood vessels in the brain. diuretics that reduce the amount of spinal fluid and pressure within the skull Secondary cough headaches

2. The treatment  for secondary cough headache is always based upon diagnosis.
If you have a Chiari malformation, you need surgery to give more space for the cerebellum and reduce pressure on your brain.

If you have a brain tumor, the type of tumor you have will determine your treatment. This may include:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation.
  • Surgery.

Which has to do with  combination of these treatments. If you have a brain aneurysm, you may require , endovascular surgery, interventions, or something called stent-like implant, also known as   a flow-diverter.
If you have a cerebrospinal fluid leak, you will always need surgery to fix it properly.


  1. Eliminating or reducing your cough or other straining behaviors always help  to reduce primary cough headaches.
  2. Preventing if colds and other infections can always reduce your risk of developing nasal congestion, a sneeze or  cough.

Here are some prevention tips:

  • Wash your hands often, especially if you’ve been in crowded areas like a shopping mall, or use public transportation.
  • Get a flu shot once a year You have to always limit your exposure to people with a cold or the flu, when possible.
  • If you are up to 65 years or older, get a pneumonia vaccine.

If you are fun of developing a cold or the flu, you have to always take a  steps to help yourself recover which include:

  • Drink warm beverages, such as herbal tea and chicken soup .
  • Use the over the counter suppressant or decongestant.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Breathe in stream.
  • Have plenty of rest Suck on cough drops.
  • Use vaporizer.

If straining during bowel movements is part of the cause, it’s advisable to use the stool softener or laxative which always help. You may also need to avoid lifting heavy things, which makes and place a strain on your abdomen.

Secondary cough headaches always respond in a temporarily way to a home treatments, but their main cause must be always be issue out in order to eliminate the problem.


Headaches which is been cause  by coughing are not always common, but seems to be possible. In some cases, they may need an underlying medical condition.

Which is why it’s important to seek your doctor advice  frequently cause by, headaches, coughing, especially if they last for two or more hours, and are seriously painful.

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