Pain in Back of Head When Coughing

Do you experience head pain when coughing? This is not typical, but some individuals get headaches when they cough, sneeze or blow their noses. Generally, this type of headache vanishes on its own even without treatment, however in many cases, the pain may be because of a hidden cause which may require additional assessment and treatment.

Why Do I Have Head Pain When Coughing?

Cough headaches might be classified into two categories. One includes main cough headaches which are usually safe, so they typically do not need treatment. They occur episodically and improve on their own. The other category consists of secondary cough headaches, which might be more serious, because they are related to a hidden issue in the brain. Further assessment is necessaryand treatment may include surgery.

1. Causes of Cough Headache

What causeshead pain when coughing? Straining when you cough or sneeze increase pressure in your head. This may also take place when you laugh or move your bowels. The increase in pressure may also affect your middle ear and cause damage.

Nevertheless, secondary cough headaches may be connected with a severe underlying condition, which may require conclusive treatment. These conditions include:

  • An unusual skull shape
  • A cerebellar defect which affects the brain’s ability to control balance
  • A cerebral aneurysm or weak point in the wall of a blood vessel in your brain
  • A tumor in the brain
  • A leak in the cerebrospinal fluid

2. Other Symptoms of Cough Headache

Main cough headache symptoms include:

  • They last for a couple of seconds or few minutes, however sometimes as much as 2 hours.
  • They cause a sharp, splitting or stabbing type of pain.
  • Both sides of the head are normally influenced.
  • Pain might be even worse at the back of the head.
  • A dull headache may follow and continue for hours.
pain in back of head when coughing
Pain in back of head when coughing or bending down

Secondary cough headache symptoms include:

  • Pain may be longer lasting.
  • It is accompanied by dizziness.
  • You have sensation of unsteadiness.
  • Passing out might take place.

What to Do If I Have Pain When Coughing

1. Primary Cough Headache

The only method to lower symptoms ofhead pain when coughingis to manage the cough utilizing over-the-counter medications. Nevertheless, if your symptoms are mild and self-limiting, no treatment is essential. Medicines to avoid main cough headaches include:

  • Acetazolamide
  • Indomethacin
  • Propranolol

Consult your doctor if your symptoms continue or if they become worse.

Information verified by the team.

2. Secondary Cough Headache

If your cough headaches do not enhance or if they are related to fainting, lightheadedness or loss of balance, it is best to see a doctor who might suggest brain-imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans to diagnose your problem. A back tap may also assist confirm the diagnosis.

Medical treatments might include:

  • Phenelzine
  • IV dihydroergotamine
  • Naproxen
  • Ergonovine
  • Methysergide

In many cases, surgery might be had to get rid of excess fluid or a tumor in the brain.

What Do Other People Say About Head Pain When Coughing?

You are not alone in the battle with cough headache, some individuals experience similar symptoms. Here are some determine causes they share in addition to the remedies that work for them.

” I used to deal with severe cough headaches for about two years. My doctor had me undergo a great deal of tests like MRI and CT scan, however discovered absolutely nothing incorrect in my brain. Because I was taking ACE inhibitors (medications for my kidney issue), my doctor recommended me to stop them and changed them with another kind of medicine. After one month, my headaches vanished.”

” I had head pain when coughinga few years ago. After many visits to various physicians and specialists, one finally suggested that the cause might be fluid retention. He encouraged me to limit my salt consumption. Since then, the headaches have been few and less severe. Now, cough headaches only come when I eat in a celebration or in a dining establishment when I have little control over the salt in the food I eat.”

” Someone suggested that I take magnesium supplements with my calcium. I likewise stopped consuming gluten and lactose-containing food. These gave me gastrointestinal fits, and I believe that they might be leading the headaches, too. Now, I not have cough headaches.”

” My cough headaches began years ago when I almost blacked out. I had constant head pain when coughing so I went to neurologists till I was diagnosed with a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension. It’s like having a brain tumor, but after several CT scans, MRI’s, and other tests, there was none discovered. One doctor did a spinal tap, which validated the diagnosis. I was encouraged to take acetazolamide (Diamox) and furosemide (Lasix). My symptoms are gone now, and I have actually been taking my medication regularly.”


Head pain when coughing might be safe, but treatment is required if it is related to an underlying condition in the brain.


Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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