Primary cough headaches

The cause of primary cough headaches isn't known. It's possible that increased pressure in the head (intracranial pressure) caused by coughing and other types of straining may play a role in these headaches.

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.
May. 05, 2012