Shooting Pain in Head When Coughing

There are two types of Shooting pain in head when coughing: primary and secondary. Both primary and secondary cough headaches are thought to be triggered by sudden pressure within the abdomen and chest.

There are two types of Shooting pain in head when coughing: primary and secondary. Both primary and secondary cough headaches are thought to be triggered by sudden pressure within the abdomen and chest.

Shooting pain in head when coughing know as cough headaches. Cough headaches are an uncommon kind of headache triggered by coughing and other types of straining — such as from sneezing, blowing your nose, laughing, weeping, singing, bending over or having a bowel movement.

Physicians divide cough headaches into two classifications. Primary cough headaches are generally harmless, occur in minimal episodes and ultimately improve on their own. Secondary cough headaches are more major, as they can be triggered by problems within the brain. Treatment of secondary cough headaches may require surgery.

Symptoms of the Condition

Primary cough headaches

  • Begin all of a sudden with and just after coughing or other kinds of straining
  • Generally last a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes– some can last approximately two hours
  • Cause sharp, stabbing, shooting or splitting pain
  • Generally impact both sides of your head and may be worse in the back of your head
  • Might be followed by a dull, hurting pain for hours

Secondary cough headaches

Secondary cough headaches typically have symptoms similar to those of primary cough headaches, though you might experience:

  • Longer enduring headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Fainting

Consult your doctor if you experience unexpected shooting headaches after coughing — especially if the headaches are frequent or extreme or you have any other uncomfortable signs or symptoms, such as imbalance or blurred or double vision.

What Causes Shooting Pain in Head When Coughing

Primary cough headaches

The reason for primary cough headaches is unknown.

Secondary cough headaches

Secondary cough headaches might be brought on by:

  • A flaw in the shape of the skull.
  • A defect in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that manages balance. This can happen when a part of the brain is required through the opening at the base of the skull (foramen magnum), where only the spinal cord is supposed to be. A few of these types of flaws are called Chiari malformations.
  • A weak point in one of the capillary in the brain (cerebral aneurysm).
  • A brain tumor.
  • A spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak.

Who Are in Danger?

Primary cough headaches

Danger aspects for main cough headaches consist of:

  • Age. Primary cough headaches frequently affect people older than age 40.
  • Sex. Men are more susceptible to obtaining primary cough headaches

Secondary cough headaches

Danger factors for secondary cough headaches include:

  • Being younger than age 40

How to Avoid Shooting Pain in Head When Coughing

Avoiding the actions that trigger your shooting pain — whether that’s coughing, sneezing or straining on the toilet — may help reduce the number of headaches you experience. Some preventive steps may consist of:

  • Dealing with lung infections, such as bronchitis
  • Avoiding medications that cause coughing as a side effect
  • Getting an annual influenza shot
  • Using stool softeners to avoid irregularity
  • Lessening heavy lifting or bending for extended periods

How to Detect Real Reason of Your Shooting Pain in Head When Coughing

Your medical professional may advise brain-imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans, to rule out other possible causes for your headaches.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Throughout an MRI, an electromagnetic field and radio waves are used to develop cross-sectional pictures of the structures within your head to determine any issues that may be causing your cough headache.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan. These scans utilize a computer to develop cross-sectional pictures of
  • your brain and head by combining images from an X-ray unit that rotates around your body.

How to Deal with Shooting Pain in Head When Coughing

Treatment varies, depending on whether you have main or secondary cough headaches.

Primary cough headache

If you have a history of main cough headaches, your doctor might advise that you take daily medication to help prevent or lower the pain.

These preventive medications may consist of:

  • Indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex), an anti-inflammatory drug
  • Propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL), a medication that unwinds capillary and decreases blood pressure
  • Acetazolamide (Diamox), a diuretic that decreases the quantity of spine fluid, which can lower the pressure inside the skull

Other medications used to treat primary cough headache consist of methysergide, naproxen (Naprosyn), ergonovine, intravenous dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45) and phenelzine (Nardil).

Rarely, a back tap (back puncture) might be suggested. With this procedure, the medical professional removes some of the fluid that surrounds your brain and spine. This might help in reducing the pressure inside your skull that might be triggering the headaches.

Secondary cough headache

If you have secondary cough headaches, surgery is often had to fix the underlying issue. Preventive medications normally don’t help people who have secondary cough headaches. However, responding to medication does not necessarily indicate that you have a main cough headache.


Last modified: August 24, 2018

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