|Primary Cough Headaches
Primary cough headaches are an unusual type of headache triggered by bouts of coughing. Sometimes other types of straining have the same effect, including sneezing, blowing your nose, laughing, crying, singing or bending over.
Primary cough headaches tend to occur in limited episodes and eventually improve on their own, often within a period of two months to two years.
What causes primary cough headaches isn't known. Some researchers suspect that increased pressure in the head (intracranial pressure) during coughing or other types of straining may play a role. Other contributing factors may include a hidden or previous infection or anatomical irregularities in the brain.
Risk Factor :
Primary cough headaches are most common among men ages 40 and older. In fact, men experience about 80 percent of primary cough headaches.
When to seek medical advice :
Primary cough headaches aren't cause for concern. But it's a good idea to consult your doctor if you routinely experience sudden headaches after coughing — especially if the headaches are frequent or severe.
Primary cough headaches strike suddenly after coughing or other types of straining. They typically last a few seconds to a few minutes. Some primary cough headaches last up to 30 minutes.
The pain of a primary cough headache is often described as sharp, stabbing or splitting. You may feel the pain on both sides of your head and at the back of your skull. Sometimes a dull, aching pain lingers for several hours.
Your doctor may recommend a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam to verify that you have a primary cough headache — which isn't serious — rather than a type of headache that may be related to a more serious problem, such as a Chiari malformation (a condition in which part of the brain protrudes into the spinal canal). During the exam, a magnetic field and radio waves will be used to create cross-sectional images of the structures within your brain.
Primary cough headaches aren't associated with any complications.
Primary cough headaches usually last several seconds to a few minutes, making treatment impractical.
If you have a history of primary cough headaches, your doctor may recommend preventive therapy with indomethacin. This medication helps reduce pressure within the brain. Other options for preventive therapy may include acetazolamide or topiramate.
Rarely, a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) may be recommended. With this procedure, the doctor will remove a small amount of the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord.
To prevent primary cough headaches, avoid coughing. Treat lung infections, such as bronchitis, and avoid cough-inducing medications.