Primary cough headaches

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The cause of primary cough headaches is unknown.

Secondary cough headaches

Secondary cough headaches may be caused by:

  • 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.
Feb. 19, 2015

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