Head Hurts when i Cough: Why Does it Happens?

There are many reasons for headache(head hurts when i cough), and it is relatively complicated to find the cause of headache!

It’s just that under the circumstances of recent weather changes, clinicians have found that more people have so-called “cough headaches. ” The doctor explained: ” Coughing , sneezing, blowing your nose and other sudden big movements can also cause headaches.”

Why does my head hurt when i cough?

Why does my head hurt when i cough? Most of the headaches caused by cough are benign coughing headaches(head hurts when i cough) . Characterized by cough.

Sudden, bilateral headache that usually subsides within 1 minute. Besides coughing.

Headaches can also be caused by sneezing, and laughing. 40 years old with a common headache in men.

It seems that there are many before and after. As a remedy, it is not a usual pain reliever, but indomethacin.

Loop medicine may work. It ’s a benign headache, but some of them are Arnold Chiari.

If it is accompanied by a shape , it may occur due to a brain tumor in the cerebellum or brain stem.

So be careful. Chiari malformation is a brain where the part called the cerebellum peach is depressed below.

It is a malformed lesion. It is said that the intracranial pressure rises with coughing and causes headaches.

vinegar. In addition, subarachnoid hemorrhage, sinusitis, etc. may cause headaches with coughing .

When a person catches a cold, large or small, accompanied by sudden big movements such as coughing, sneezing, blowing the nose, etc., it will cause a headache.

Lin Zhihao, the chief physician of the Department of Neurology of Linxin Hospital, said: “This is called a cough headache. , Refers to the headache that is immediately induced simply by coughing or other exerting behaviors.”

The time is usually a few seconds to a few minutes, and a few people can take as long as two hours, but some people will cough more, and the head will hurt.

Because the intracranial pressure suddenly rises when a person coughs, it will pull the meninges and induce headaches.(head hurts when i cough)

Primary cough headache

A bilateral (occipital) headache(head hurts when i cough) that lasts for about 1 minute and is triggered by a cough. It mainly occurs in men over the age of 40. 

In addition to coughing, headaches can also be caused by “sneezing,” “ikimi,” “Valsalva maneuvers (holding your breath and squeezing),” and “laughing.” Indomethacin (50-200 mg / day) is effective. 60% of coughing headaches are primary coughing headaches, while 40% are secondary headaches with other causes. 

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Most often associated with Arnold Chiari malformation type I (a disease in which the cerebellar tonsils fall down), streptococcal infection, meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral aneurysm, sinusitis and low cerebrospinal fluid pressure syndrome As it happens, various tests are required.

Cough headache is a benign headache! Slowly improve after treatment

Head hurts when i cough: Some people have other types of headaches such as migraine or cluster headache combined with coughing that aggravate their headache symptoms, but they are not classified as cough headaches.

But for patients with general cough and headache, don’t worry too much. Lin Zhihao explained: “Most cough and headache are “primary” benign headaches, which can be improved with appropriate treatment, and most of them will be cured slowly. ”

However, according to statistics, nearly 40% of cough and headache may be “secondary“! That is, it may be caused by brain lesions, and I am most afraid of some internal lesions of the head.

According to statistics, 16% of patients with cough and headache actually have brain lesions, and 22% have “sub medullary hernia malformation.”

Diagnostic criteria

A. I have more than one headache that meets AB-D

B. Occurs only with coughing, swelling, or other Valsalva maneuvers (or combinations thereof)

C. Occurs suddenly

D. 1 second-2 hours lasting

E. No other optimal ICHD-3 diagnosis

(Translated by the International Headache Society / International Headache Classification Committee: International Headache Classification 3rd Edition)


The prevalence is thought to be around 1%. Generally, it is common in men, and it is often seen at the age of 40 years or older (average 55 years).

Some patients with cough and headache are caused by brain lesions! 4 be alert to symptoms

Lin Zhihao explained: “Submedullary cerebellar hernia malformation is a congenital malformation of the posterior fossa that is too small, which causes the cerebellum of the posterior fossa to squeeze down into the spinal cord.

Other reported causes include low pressure of cerebrospinal fluid, hydrocephalus, and cerebrospinal fluid. Cranial fossa or posterior fossa tumors, or some cerebrovascular diseases.” How to tell if you are one of the 22%?

Lin Zhihao listed 4 symptoms. If you have cough and headache at the same time, you should pay more attention.

Younger than 40 years old The location of the headache is on the back of the head (occipital) The headache lasts longer, more than 30 minutes Combined with neurological symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, unsteady gait, loss of consciousness, etc.

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The second-onset cough and headache are relatively complicated and require proper evaluation and imaging examinations to rule out.

Many of the more serious brain diseases in the early stage, the symptoms are just headaches “only”, you can record your own headaches in detail to help Clinicians make interpretations at the time of diagnosis.


Previously known as benign cough headaches and Valsalva maneuver headaches. A headache caused by a cough or breath in the absence of an intracranial disorder

In the absence of intracranial disease, a brain tumor or malformation in the skull induces the same type of headache with coughing or swelling. 

The most common are Arnold Chiari malformation type I (a disease in which the cerebellar tonsils fall down), brain tumors, streptococcal infections, meningitis, subdural bleeding, cerebral aneurysms, sinusitis and low cerebrospinal fluid pressure syndrome. .. 

It is common to primary headaches, but diagnosis cannot be made unless secondary headaches cannot be denied by performing various tests such as imaging tests. Of the headaches induced by coughing and breathing, 40% are secondary headaches. 

Why does my head hurt when i cough? In addition to coughing, headaches can also be triggered by “sneezing,” “ikimi,” “Valsalva maneuvers (holding your breath and squeezing),” “laughing,” “crying,” “singing,” and “defecation.”(head hurts when i cough)

It appears after these inducers and reaches a peak of pain almost immediately. It disappears in a few seconds to a few minutes, but the diagnostic criteria are 1 second to 2 hours because some people have a mild headache that lasts for about 2 hours. 

Usually, it is bilateral pain and occipital pain is common. Two-thirds have dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and sleep problems.


Indomethacin is effective. Indomethacin 50-200 mg / day is effective, but it may also be effective in a small number of symptomatic individuals. 

However, due to the short duration of headaches, treating the disease that causes the cough is the first priority, rather than the failure therapy. 

In general, the prognosis is good, and there are many cases in which the prognosis improves naturally.

Note : Before taking any medicine please consult your doctor first.

Also Read : Why DO i Cough After i Eat? 9 Reasons Behind it

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