Primary cough headaches
- Begin suddenly with and just after coughing or other types of straining
- Typically last a few seconds to a few minutes — some can last up to 30 minutes
- Cause sharp, stabbing or splitting pain
- Usually affect both sides of your head and are typically worse in the back of your head
- May be followed by a dull, aching pain for several hours
Secondary cough headaches
Secondary cough headaches often have similar symptoms as primary cough headaches. In addition, you may experience:
- Longer lasting headaches
When to see a doctor
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.
May. 05, 2012
- Cutrer FM. Primary cough headache. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Pascual J. Other primary headaches. Neurologic Clinics. 2009;27:557.
- Pascual J. Primary cough headache. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2005; 9:272.
- Chiari malformation fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm. Accessed March 10, 2012.
- Chen PK, et al. Cough headache: A study of 83 consecutive patients. Cephalalgia. 2009;29:1079.