When I cough, why does my head hurt so much?
When your body detects an irritant in your respiratory tract, it reacts by producing a cough. If you're wondering why you're experiencing a headache while coughing, it's because your airways are being irritated.
Whenever your airways are irritated, your body reacts by making you cough. Coughing usually only causes discomfort in the throat and lungs, but in rare cases, it can also cause pain in the head.
Learning more about the causes and treatments of cough headaches can help you decide if you need medical attention for your cough. Learn more about the root of your coughing headache and how to get in touch with a doctor who can treat it here.
If you cough, you might get a headache.
A type of headache commonly associated with coughing is the "cough headache," and it is true that it can occur. A headache from coughing is typically the result of additional straining beyond just coughing itself. When you sneeze, laugh, cry, blow your nose, sing, or have a bowel movement, you may experience the straining that leads to these headaches.
Primary and secondary headaches from coughing are both possible.
Typical Headache from Coughing
When a headache is caused solely by a cough, we say that the headache is primary. Primary cough headaches are rare and benign; they manifest only in response to physical strain, like that experienced during laughter, crying, or sneezing. Headaches caused by coughing usually disappear on their own.
Headache Due to Coughing as a Secondary Symptom
Secondary cough headaches are much more severe than primary ones. They can be brought on by the same straining that brings on primary cough headaches.
Cough headaches are often a symptom of a more serious underlying brain defect or structural issue. There are many conditions affecting the brain that can lead to secondary cough headaches, including brain tumors and weakened brain blood vessels.
What Causes a Primary Cough and Accompanying Headache
The average duration of a primary cough headache is between one second and half an hour. Sometimes they can even go on for two hours.
Additional signs of a primary headache caused by coughing are:
- Getting a headache out of nowhere when you cough or strain
- A type of headache that causes pain in the forehead or both temples.
- From moderate to severe discomfort
- Discomfort that can be described as "sharp," "stabbing," "splitting," "bursting," or "explosive."
- The pain is constant and dull, and it lingers for a while after the headache first starts.
When does a cough lead to a headache, and what are the symptoms?
The duration of a secondary cough-induced headache is typically greater than one minute. People under the age of 40 are the most likely to experience these types of headaches.
Secondary cough headache symptoms also include:
- A sudden onset of pain in the head after exertion, such as coughing or straining
- A pain in the back of one's head as a symptom of a headache.
- Experiencing moderate to severe pain
- Sharp, stabbing, bursting, explosive, pressing, dull, or electrical pain.
- A headache accompanied by other symptoms such as lightheadedness, fainting, trouble walking, and tingling or numbness in the face and upper limbs.
What Makes Your Head Hurt When You Cough
Primary cough headache causes are not well understood by medical professionals. Some medical professionals believe that the pressure in the brain can be raised if you cough a lot.
Many things can lead to a secondary coughing headache. Among these factors are:
- Having a skull shape that is abnormal or flawed
- A problem in the balance-regulating cerebellum
- It's an aneurysm, or a weakened blood vessel in the brain.
- Caused by a tumor in the brain
- Spontaneous seepage of cerebrospinal fluid
Incidences of either primary or secondary cough headaches may be amplified by certain factors. Primary cough headaches are more common in men and people over the age of 40. Having a secondary cough headache is more likely if you're younger than 40.
When I cough, why do I feel pressure in my head?
The pressure in your head that results from a cough is typically the result of abdominal pressure. You get a headache because your stomach is putting too much pressure on your head. This is why doing things like sneezing, laughing, or bending over can cause you to cough and give you a headache.
How Can I Alleviate My Headache From a Cough?
Normal recovery time for a primary cough headache is only a few minutes. If you suffer from primary cough headaches regularly, your doctor may prescribe medications that can reduce their pain or prevent the pain entirely Indocin, propranolol, and acetazolamide are examples of such drugs.
Treating the underlying medical issue that's making you cough is the only way to alleviate the secondary headaches that result. Due to the neurological origins of these headaches, the typical course of treatment entails some form of surgical correction of the underlying cause.
To what extent is it possible to avoid getting cough-related headaches?
Primary cough-related headaches are extremely uncommon. However, if you take measures to avoid the situations that set them off, you might be able to avoid them altogether. Cough headaches caused by sneezing, for instance, can be prevented by keeping the house tidy and eliminating allergens like pet dander.
In addition to these measures, you can take the following to avoid primary cough headaches:
- Preventing Coughing by Avoiding Medications
- Having fewer, less painful bowel movements by consuming plenty of water and fiber.
- Staying away from anything that requires you to bend over or lift heavy objects
- Regular exercise and a nutritious diet can help keep you from getting sick and cutting down on your need to wipe your nose or cough.
As a result of their origin in the brain, secondary cough headaches are not as easily avoided. Secondary cough headaches can be caused by underlying brain conditions, but these can be prevented or treated with the help of your doctor.
How to Relieve Headache Caused by Coughing
Visit your doctor if you have persistent headaches from coughing. Your headaches may have a specific cause, which your doctor can help you identify and treat.
Chronic coughing and headaches can both be effectively treated by consulting with the experienced medical staff at Healthcare Associates of Texas. In order to schedule an appointment or discover the nearest location, please visit our website today.
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December 8, 2022, at 11 a.m. Pictures of John Lennon and his killer, Mark David Chapman, from right before his murder in 1980. Getty Images/innie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Bureau of Prisons In New York City on December 8th, 1980, one of the worst tragedies in rock music history occurred.
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