Head Pain While Coughing
Cough headaches are a type of head pain triggered by coughing and other types of straining. This may include sneezing, blowing your nose, laughing, crying, singing, bending over or having a bowel movement. Cough headaches are fairly uncommon. There are two types: primary cough headaches and secondary cough headaches.
- Primary cough headaches are usually harmless, are caused only by coughing and get better quickly without treatment.
- A primary cough headache is diagnosed only when a provider has ruled out possible causes other than coughing.
- A secondary cough headache may be triggered by a cough, but it is caused by problems with the brain or structures near the brain and spine.
Secondary cough headaches can be more serious and may require treatment with surgery. Anyone who has a cough headache for the first time should see their health care provider. The provider can determine whether a cough or something else caused the pain.
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, splitting or “bursting” 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 often present with only a cough headache, but you may also experience:
Longer lasting headaches Dizziness Unsteadiness Fainting Ringing in the ears or hearing loss Blurred vision or double vision Tremor
A cough headache only happens right after coughing. Other headache pain is not a cough headache if you already had a headache when you coughed, or if you have a headache condition such as migraine. For example, people with migraine might find that their headaches get worse when they cough.
Why does my head hurt when I cough?
Headaches from coughing The force needed to cough comes from thoracic, abdominal and pelvic muscles and can create pressure that radiates to your head. In some people, this pressure can cause a cough headache. Straining these muscles may also occur during the following activities: Bending over.
How do I know if my headache is serious?
See your provider soon if: Your headaches wake you up from sleep, or your headaches make it difficult for you to fall asleep. A headache lasts more than a few days. Headaches are worse in the morning.
What is a sinus cough like?
Sinus conditions – Sinus conditions, such as sinusitis, can produce postnasal drip. This drip sometimes feels like a tickle in the back of your throat, and drainage can lead to chronic cough. This tickle happens when the amount of draining mucus is more than usual.
How long can sinus headaches last?
Sinus headaches caused by sinus infections can last up to two weeks or more, depending on the severity of your sinus infection.
Why am I getting sharp pains in my skull?
Occipital Neuralgia is a condition in which the occipital nerves, the nerves that run through the scalp, are injured or inflamed. This causes headaches that feel like severe piercing, throbbing or shock-like pain in the upper neck, back of the head or behind the ears.
Osteoarthritis of the upper cervical spine Trauma to the greater and/or lesser occipital nerves Compression of the greater and/or lesser occipital nerves or C2 and/or C3 nerve roots from degenerative cervical spine changes Cervical disc disease Tumors affecting the C2 and C3 nerve roots Gout Diabetes Blood vessel inflammation Infection
Symptoms of occipital neuralgia include continuous aching, burning and throbbing, with intermittent shocking or shooting pain that generally starts at the base of the head and goes to the scalp on one or both sides of the head. Patients often have pain behind the eye of the affected side of the head.
Additionally, a movement as light as brushing hair may trigger pain. The pain is often described as migraine-like and some patients may also experience symptoms common to migraines and cluster headaches, Occipital neuralgia can be very difficult to diagnose because of its similarities with migraines and other headache disorders.
Therefore, it is important to seek medical care when you begin feeling unusual, sharp pain in the neck or scalp and the pain is not accompanied by nausea or light sensitivity. Begin by addressing the problem with your primary care physician. They may refer you to a specialist.
- Diagnosis of occipital neuralgia is tricky, because there is not one concrete test that will reveal a positive or negative diagnosis.
- Typically, a physical examination and neurological exam will be done to look for abnormalities.
- If the physical and neurological exams are inconclusive, a doctor may order further imaging to rule out any other possible causes of the pain.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test may be ordered, which can show three-dimensional images of certain body structures and can reveal any impingement, A computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) will show the shape and size of body structures. Some doctors may use occipital nerve blocks to confirm their diagnosis.
Heat: patients often feel relief when heating pads or devices are placed in the location of the pain. Such heating pads can be bought over-the-counter or online. Physical therapy or massage therapy. Oral Medication:
Anti-inflammatory medications ; Muscle relaxants ; and Anticonvulsant medications.
Percutaneous nerve blocks: these injections can be used both to diagnose and treat occipital neuralgia. Botulinum Toxin (Botox) Injections : Botox injections can be used to decrease inflammation of the nerve
Occipital Nerve Stimulation : This surgical treatment involves the placement of electrodes under the skin near the occipital nerves. The procedure works the same way as spinal cord stimulation and uses the same device. The procedure is minimally invasive and surrounding nerves and structures are not damaged by the stimulation. It is an off-label indication for an FDA-approved device.
Spinal Cord Stimulation : this surgical treatment involves the placement of stimulating electrodes between the spinal cord and the vertebrae. The device produces electrical impulses to block pain messages from the spinal cord to the brain. C2,3 Ganglionectomy- This treatment involves the disruption of the second and third cervical sensory dorsal root ganglion, Acar et al (2008) studied the short-term and long-term effects of this procedure. The study found that 95% of patients had immediate relief with 60% maintaining relief past one year.
Patients are encouraged to regularly follow up with their primary care providers and specialists to maintain their treatment. Surgeons like patients to return to the clinic every few months in the year following the surgery. In these visits, they may adjust the stimulation settings and assess the patient’s recovery from surgery.
Evaluation of Occipital Nerve Stimulation in Intractable Occipital Neuralgias Ultrasound Guided Platelet Rich Plasma Injections for Post Traumatic Greater Occipital Neuraliga A Comparison of Dexamethasone and Triamcinolone for Ultrasound-guided Occipital C2 Nerve Blocks A Prospective Controlled Treatment Trial for Post-Traumatic Headaches
Sweet, J.A., Mitchell, L.S., Narouze, S., Sharan, A.D., Falowski, S.M., Schwalb, J.M., Pilitsis, J.G. (2015). Occipital Nerve Stimulation for the Treatment of Patients With Medically Refractory Occipital Neuralgia. Neurosurgery, 77 (3), 332–341. doi: 10.1227/neu.0000000000000872J This systematic review compiles treatment recommendations for the use of occipital nerve stimulation to treat occipital neuralgia. The review found various articles supporting these recommendaitons. Janjua, M.B., Reddy, S., Ahmadieh, T.Y.E., Ban, V.S., Ozturk, A.K., Hwang, S.W., Arlet, V. (2020). Occipital neuralgia: A neurosurgical perspective. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 71, 263–270. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2019.08.102 This paper investigates the different causes of occipital neuralgia and surgical interventions that have aided in relieving pain. The paper also provides case examples for each cause and corresponding treatment. The paper found that the C2 nerve is the most common site for compression causing the pain. Treatments such as C2 neurectomy and/or ganglionectomy offer the most pain relief for patients. Texakalidis, P., Tora, M.S., Nagarajan, P., Jr, O.P.K., & Boulis, N. (2019). High cervical spinal cord stimulation for occipital neuralgia: a case series and literature review. Journal of Pain Research, Volume 12, 2547–2553. doi: 10.2147/jpr.s214314P This study uses a literature review to support the author’s personal experiences treating occipital neuralgia with spinal cord sitmulation to show the efficacy of the treatment for this condition. The study found that high cervical spinal cord stimulation results in 40-50% success in patients with occipital neuralgia and thus, spinal cord stimulation may be considered as a treatment option.
Amy’s Occipital Neuralgia Story Michael’s Story
Patient Pages are authored by neurosurgical professionals, with the goal of providing useful information to the public. Julie G Pilitsis, MD, PhD, FAANS Chair, Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Professor, Neurosurgery and Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Albany Medical College Dr.
Pilitsis specializes in neuromodulation with research interests in treatments for movement disorders and chronic pain. Olga Khazen, BS Research Coordinator Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics Albany Medical College The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets.
This information provided is an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.
How to tell difference between sinus headache and sinus infection?
Sinus Infections – Chronic sinus infections are a kind of, Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, typically lasting between 4-8 weeks, though in cases of chronic sinusitis, patients have been known to suffer allergic inflammation lasting 8 weeks or more.
Another reaction to inflammation of the sinus and nasal passages, sinus infections surpass sinus headaches in severity when illness or allergies cause mucus to become trapped by the sinuses, prompting the infection to spread. While sinus headaches are a part of sinus infections, sinus infections come with a host of other symptoms as well.
These include fever and fatigue, postnasal drip and sore thought, coughing and nasal congestion, all in addition to the pain and pressure patients often feel from their forehead down to their neck. As per the case with sinus headaches, antibiotics and steroids may be used to treat sinus infections.
However, the effectiveness of antibiotics may depend on whether you have a bacterial or viral sinus infection. If a specialist diagnoses you with the latter, you may have to seek alternative treatment options, such as over-the-counter medications. It is critical to schedule an appointment with a professional if you feel a sinus infection getting worse, as you do not want to end up treating the problem in a way that causes the infection to last longer.
You may be at an increased risk for sinus headaches if you:
Have a weakened immune systemHave suffered a recent upper respiratory infectionHave suffered from Have a deviated septumHave a history of allergiesUse tobacco