Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough? Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies
21 October 2022

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough? Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies

You might be getting the flu season and colder temperatures around the corner. Head pain can be caused by seasonal allergies, colds, or even flu. You might be wondering why my head hurts when I cough. The answer is that it all depends on what you are experiencing. Head pain can occur for many reasons. Your Clarendon Hills chiropractor can help you get through it. Continue reading to find out more about the relationship between head pain and coughing.

Causes of Head Pain When Coughing

One of the most common symptoms that you may share with your doctor when you have a cold is “when I cough, it hurts my head.” Your doctor will have to diagnose the root cause of your head pain and cough. These are the symptoms of a cough headache and which health conditions may be causing them.

Primary Cough Headaches

Primary headaches are the most common. They are usually temporary and don’t cause long-term problems. No matter if you have a cold or are sneezing from allergies, or laughing too loud, headaches can result from the pressure building up in your head while you cough. A rise in pressure can lead to uncomfortable headaches.

Headaches due to secondary Cough

Secondary cough headaches, which are more common in the elderly, are usually caused by an underlying condition such as a brain disorder. Secondary cough headaches can be caused by a brain tumor, hydrocephalus or any condition that affects the cerebrospinal fluid.

Cough Headaches: Signs and Symptoms

Headaches, coughing, and sneezing are all possible symptoms of a cold. Cough headaches can occur even if there isn’t a cold or allergy. Head pain can be sharp or stabbing if you cough. This pain may occur while you are coughing, or afterward. A lot of people report feeling a dull ache when the pain subsides. These are common symptoms of a primary headache. If you experience dizziness, feeling unbalanced, or faint, your doctor can help you determine if you are experiencing a secondary headache.

What are the symptoms of a primary cough headache?

Primary cough headaches can last from one second to thirty minutes. They can even last up to 2 hours in rare cases. Other signs of primary headaches are:

  • A sudden headache when you strain or cough.
  • A headache is felt in the forehead or both sides of your head.
  • The severity of pain can range from mild to severe
  • You may feel pain that is sharp, stabbing, or splitting.
  • The headache is characterized by a dull, aching sensation that lasts several hours after it first occurs.

What are the symptoms of secondary cough headaches?

Secondary cough headaches usually last for longer than one minute. These headaches are usually only experienced by people below 40 years of age. A secondary headache can also be caused by:

  • A sudden headache occurs when you strain or cough.
  • A headache felt in the back of your head
  • The severity of pain can range from mild to severe
  • You may feel the pain that is sharp, stabbing or bursting, explosive, pressing, dull or electrical.
  • Headaches can be accompanied by dizziness, fainting, and loss of coordination.

Treatment options for head pain when you cough.

To ease your pain and discomfort from primary cough headaches, you can try home remedies. Consider taking medication to reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu that may be causing your chronic coughing. Clearing your sinuses may help to remove allergens from the body. It can also reduce pressure on the head. Get enough sleep. This is one of the best things that you can do to your body in order to heal. Your body will have time to build an immune response during sleep. To soothe a sore throat, you should drink lots of fluids. This includes warm drinks like honey-lemon hot tea.

Risk factors

The type and cause of the headache can influence the risk factors. Some medications can reduce the symptoms of your cough and help with pressure and inflammation. You can visit your Downers Grove chiropractor if you have headaches or chronic coughing. These can include spinal adjustments that restore the proper alignment of your spine and joints, and reduce inflammation in your mucus membranes. A chiropractor can help you relieve any pressure from your head that may be causing pain. If you experience headaches lasting more than 2 hours, dizziness, loss of balance, or faintness, as well as head pain or coughing, you should see your doctor immediately. A chiropractor in Clarendon Hills might also recommend a CT scan or X-Ray to examine your brain and spinal cord for possible issues that could be causing your headaches and cough.


Talking with your provider will help you avoid triggers that can cause your headaches. This could help to reduce headaches. These preventive measures could include:

  • Conditions that can cause coughing such as bronchitis and other lung infections
  • As a side effect, avoid medications that cause coughing
  • Get an annual flu shot
  • To avoid constipation, use stool softeners
  • Avoid heavy lifting and prolonged bending.

These steps can help to prevent a headache from developing due to a severe cough. However, your doctor should be consulted if you have a headache due to coughing or straining.

What is the reason I feel pressure in my head when I cough?

You feel pressure in your head when coughing. This is normal because of the abdominal pressure that results from coughing. Your abdomen’s pressure radiates to your head, causing a headache. A headache can be caused by straining activities such as bending over, laughing, or sneezing.

How can you treat a headache caused by a cough?

Most primary cough headaches disappear within minutes. Your doctor might prescribe medication to reduce or eliminate your primary cough headaches. These medications include propranolol and indomethacin.

Secondary cough headaches can usually be treated by treating the underlying condition that is causing your symptoms. These headaches can be caused by brain conditions, so treatment often involves surgery to correct the condition.

How can you prevent a cough headache from recurring?

Primary cough headaches can be rare. You can prevent them by taking preventative measures to avoid the triggers. If your cough headaches are due to sneezing, then you can clean your house and avoid allergens such as pet dander, which may cause sneezing. You can also take the following steps to prevent your primary cough headaches:

  • Avoid medications that cause coughing side effects
  • Drinking lots of water and fiber will promote a smoother bowel movement without straining
  • Avoid activities that require heavy lifting or bending.
  • Regular exercise and healthy eating habits are key to avoiding illness.

Secondary cough headaches can’t be prevented easily because brain conditions are the cause. Find out how our chiropractic care can help you!

Posted by ccadmin


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