• 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 two hours
  • Cause sharp, stabbing or splitting pain
  • Usually affect both sides of your head and may be worse in the back of your head
  • May be followed by a dull, aching pain for hours

Secondary cough headaches

Secondary cough headaches often have symptoms similar to those of primary cough headaches, though you may experience:

  • Longer lasting headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Fainting

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.

Feb. 19, 2015

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