why does my head hurt so bad when i cough

Cough headaches are an unusual type of headache triggered by coughing and other types of straining such as from sneezing, blowing your nose, laughing, crying, singing, bending over or having a bowel movement. Doctors divide cough headaches into two categories. Primary cough headaches are usually harmless, occur in limited episodes and eventually improve on their own. Secondary cough headaches are more serious, as they can be caused by problems within the brain. Treatment of secondary cough headaches may require surgery. Cause sharp, stabbing or splitting pain
May be followed by a dull, aching pain for hours Secondary cough headaches often have symptoms similar to those of primary cough headaches, though you may experience: Consult your doctor if you experience sudden headaches after coughing especially if the headaches are frequent or severe or you have any other troubling signs or symptoms, such as imbalance or blurred or double vision.


The cause of primary cough headaches is unknown. A defect in the shape of the skull. A defect in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. This can occur when a portion of the brain is forced through the opening at the base of the skull (foramen magnum), where only the spinal cord is supposed to be. Some of these types of defects are called Chiari malformations. A weakness in one of the blood vessels in the brain (cerebral aneurysm). A brain tumor. A spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak. Age. Primary cough headaches most often affect people older than age 40. Sex. Men are more prone to getting primary cough headaches. Preventing the actions that trigger your cough headaches whether that's coughing, sneezing or straining on the toilet may help reduce the number of headaches you experience. Some preventive measures may include: Treating lung infections, such as bronchitis 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: You may cough more forcefully or more often if you have sinus congestion. More forceful coughing may increase your risk for coughing headaches. Primary headaches come on suddenly and are not usually serious. They are in men and in people over 40. Their root cause is unknown. You may get a primary cough headache while coughing or immediately afterwards. Coughing headaches are bilateral, or felt on both sides of the head. Unilateral, or one-sided, headaches are not commonly associated with cough headaches. a sharp, stabbing pain, sometimes followed by dull, aching pain, which can last for a couple hours Secondary cough headaches may initially feel the same as primary cough headaches, but you may also have additional symptoms.


These include: Secondary headaches can indicate a more serious, underlying condition. These include:. A Chiari malformation is a structural defect caused by a misshapen or too-small skull, or a defect in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for balance. Chiari malformations can form before birth during fetal development. They can also occur later in life as the result of an injury, infection, or disease. Brain tumors are masses of abnormal cells found in or near the brain. They can be benign or malignant. A brain aneurysm is a bulge or weakness in a blood vessel in the brain. These bulges sometimes rupture, becoming life threatening very quickly. Changes in the pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid. An increase or decrease in the pressure can cause headaches.

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