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
  • 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.

May. 05, 2012