Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough
Have you ever experienced a throbbing headache after a coughing fit? It’s a common problem, but have you ever stopped to consider the cause? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this frustrating and often painful sensation.
First, let’s start by defining the types of headaches that can be triggered by coughing. The most common type is called a “cough headache.” These tend to be brief, but can be severe. They can be accompanied by neck pain and a sensation of pressure in the head. Cough headaches are classified into two categories: primary and secondary.
Primary Cough Headaches
Primary cough headaches are caused by the act of coughing itself. They are usually benign and resolve on their own. These types of headaches are more common in people over the age of 50 and are more likely to affect men.
The exact cause of primary cough headaches is unknown, but it is thought that they may be related to the muscles and blood vessels in the head and neck. When we cough, these muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, which can cause the head to hurt.
Secondary Cough Headaches
Secondary cough headaches are caused by an underlying medical condition. They can be more serious and require medical attention. Some possible underlying causes of secondary cough headaches include:
- Increased pressure in the brain: Conditions such as a brain tumor or aneurysm can cause increased pressure in the brain, leading to headaches when coughing.
- Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses can cause pressure and pain in the head, which may be exacerbated by coughing.
- Upper respiratory infections: Colds, flu, and other upper respiratory infections can cause inflammation and congestion in the sinuses and upper respiratory tract, leading to head pain when coughing.
- Allergies: Allergic reactions can cause inflammation in the sinuses, leading to headaches when coughing.
- Medications: Some medications, such as blood pressure medications, can cause headaches as a side effect.
If you experience a headache when coughing that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, neck stiffness, or changes in vision, it is important to see a doctor. These symptoms may indicate a more serious underlying condition.
How to Relief Cough Headaches
If you suffer from primary cough headaches, there are a few things you can try to relieve the pain. These include:
- Using over-the-counter pain medication: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with primary cough headaches.
- Avoiding triggers: If you know what triggers your cough headaches, try to avoid them. For example, if smoking or exposure to smoke triggers your headaches, try to avoid these situations.
- Reducing the frequency of coughing: Cough suppressants, such as dextromethorphan, can help to reduce the frequency and severity of coughing.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in the head and neck can help to reduce the frequency and severity of primary cough headaches.
If you suffer from secondary cough headaches, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include medications to relieve the underlying cause of the headaches, such as antibiotics for sinusitis or allergy medication for allergies.
Cough headaches can be a frustrating and painful experience, but with the right treatment and management, they can be relieved. If you experience persistent or severe headaches when coughing, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. With the right approach, you can find relief and live a life free from the discomfort of cough headaches.
It’s important to note that while cough headaches may not be a serious medical concern in most cases, they can be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. If you are experiencing headaches that are severe or persistent, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause and get appropriate treatment.
In addition to seeking medical treatment, there are a few things you can do at home to help alleviate the pain and discomfort of cough headaches. These include:
- Using over-the-counter pain medication: As mentioned earlier, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with cough headaches.
- Avoiding triggers: If you know what triggers your cough headaches, try to avoid these triggers as much as possible. This may involve avoiding smoking, exposure to smoke, or other irritants.
- Staying hydrated: Coughing can dehydrate your body, which can lead to headaches. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to help keep your body hydrated.
- Getting plenty of rest: Coughing can be exhausting, so be sure to get plenty of rest to help your body heal and recover.
Overall, cough headaches can be a frustrating and painful experience, but with the right treatment and management, they can be relieved. If you are experiencing persistent or severe headaches when coughing, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause and get appropriate treatment. With the right approach, you can find relief and live a life free from the discomfort of cough headaches.