Cough Headache: Causes, Symptoms And 3 Remedies To Cure This

The cough headache is a type of headache that causes when a person coughs or lifts heavy things which causes strain. This headache is a sudden headache some persons feel this headache for a few seconds and some experience this headache for a few minutes. Some people feel a very sharp pain and others feel mild pain in the head.

The prevalence of cough headaches is not well understood, but it is believed to be relatively rare. The prevalence of these headaches may be underreported since many people may choose not to seek medical care for them.

Types Of Cough Headache

Cough headaches can be classified into two types:

  1. Primary Cough Headache
  2. Secondary Cough Headache


Primary Cough Headache_ Primary cough headache is not dangerous and consider benign as it is not associated with any other disease.

Secondary Cough Headache_ Secondary cough headache is a result of any other medical condition the cause of this headache is any other disease.It is very important to know which type of headache a person has so the doctor may prescribe a suitable treatment.

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Causes Of Cough Headache

There are several reasons behind occurring this type of headache we will explore here all possible reasons so readers can fully understand the causes of this illness.

Primary Causes

Benign cough headache_ This type of headache is most common in men than women. This is the most common type of headache and it is not associated with any underlying causes.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension_ This type of cough headache is not common. In this rare condition, a person feels pressure inside the skull which causes headaches. And this headache becomes more worsen when a person cough, strain and bends over.

Secondary Causes

Sinusitis_ The strain and inflammation in the sinuses can cause pain and pressure in the head which become sharp when coughing.

Brain tumors_ A person who has a brain tumor is more likely to feel a headache that is worsened by coughing or when a person moves suddenly.

Post-traumatic headache_ Coughing or straining might make headaches that develop after a head injury worse.

This headache should not be confused with other symptoms of underlying illnesses such as meningitis, cerebral hemorrhage, or brain aneurysm.

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Symptoms Of Cough Headache

The signs and symptoms of cough headache are slightly different from person to person some generalized symptoms of cough headache are given below:

Some Common Symptoms

  1. When coughing or straining the sudden and intense pain felt in the head
  2. Some people feel pain on one side of the head while some people feel pain or irritation on both sides of the head.
  3. Headache remains from a few seconds to a few minutes
  4. Pain can be very harsh and some people feel mild pain.
  5. Headache that could be associated with a popping or crackling sound.

Suspicious Symptoms

  1. Some people may feel nausea and vomiting
  2. Sensitivity to light and sound means a person avoids sharp light and loud sound
  3. Cough headaches may be associated with neck pain and stiffness of muscles.
  4. Some people may experience blurred vision due to headache
  5. It may cause feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness

It’s important to remember that all of these symptoms could indicate a variety of illnesses or other headache types.

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Difference Between Cough Headache And Other Types Of Headaches

Type of HeadacheLocation of PainDurationTriggersOther Symptoms
Cough headacheOn one or both sides of the headA few seconds to a few minutesCoughing or strainingNausea, vomiting, neck pain or stiffness, dizziness or lightheadedness, sensitivity to light or sound, vision changes
MigraineOne side of the head can spreadHours to daysTriggers can vary, such as stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, or environmental factorsThrobbing pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, or smell, visual disturbances
Tension HeadacheBoth sides of the head can feel like a band around the headHours to daysStress, anxiety, poor postureDull ache or pressure, sensitivity to light or sound
Cluster HeadacheOne side of the head, often around the eye15 minutes to 3 hoursTriggers can vary, such as alcohol consumption, certain foods, or changes in sleep patternsIntense pain, tearing of the eye, stuffy or runny nose

Cough Headache Treatment

There are two types of treatment options available for cough headaches one is a medical treatment like medicines and pain killers while the other is home remedies we will explore here both of them.

Cough Headache Medical Treatment

The common medications to treat this illness are:

Painkillers_Painkillers sold without a prescription, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, can ease the discomfort brought on by cough headaches. Stronger prescription medicines may be required in some circumstances.

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Beta-blockers_ Beta-blockers are a medicine that helps to cure cough headaches by reducing or decreasing blood pressure and heart rate.


Steroids_ Prednisone and other corticosteroids may occasionally be prescribed to treat cough headache symptoms and reduce inflammation.

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Cough Headache Home Remedies

Despite medications, there are also a number of home remedies which is effective to cure this headache:

Ginger Remedy

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory which means it reduces inflammation in the body and also in blood vessels in the head which causes this headache. To use ginger as a home remedy for cough headaches, you can:

  1. Take a cup of water and start bowling it
  2. Now add 1- 2 spoons of grated ginger in hot water and boil it for 10 minutes
  3. At the end add some honey and lemon for a better taste

Essential Oils

There are different essential oils available like peppermint or lavender and it greatly effective to cure or relieve tension and reducing pain due to cough or headache. You can use it as:

  1. Take a few drops of essential oils
  2. And mix it with carrier oil like coconut oil and almond oil.
  3. Now massage it on your forehead and you will feel relaxed.

Cold Compress

Cold compress is great and helps to treat this type of headache. To use a cold compress as a home remedy for cough headache, you can:

  1. Place a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on your forehead or the back of your neck for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  2. Take a cold shower or bath.

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Some Other Conditions People Also Experience

Sore Throat Cough And Headache

This combination of symptoms is indicated that a person might have a respiratory infection such as a cold or flu. The cough may be caused by irritation of the airways, sore throat due to inflammation of the tonsils, and headache due to sinus pressure.

Sore Throat Headache No Fever

Although it might be a milder case or another infection, like strep throat, this set of symptoms can also be indicative of a respiratory infection. And the absence of fever shows that the infection is not severe.

Cough And Headache

This group of symptoms may be a sign of a number of ailments, such as asthma, allergies, or respiratory infections.

Dry Cough And Headache

A dry cough may be caused by inflammation in the airways without producing mucus that’s why this type of cough is dry. And the headache may be caused by tension in the neck and shoulder muscles.

When To Seek Medical Attention For Cough Headache

In some cases you need to seek medical attention if:

  1. Sudden or severe headache
  2. Change in the pattern of pain severity
  3. Continuous Pain and symptoms become worsen day by day
  4. Fever, dizziness, and blurred vision

If a person experiences these symptoms then should seek medical attention immediately.


The cough headache is a type of headache triggered when a person cough, sneezes, and put strain. The main reason for this headache is not fully understood yet. There are two types of this headache primary and secondary cough headache. Symptoms of this headache include sudden pain in the head, nausea, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
The treatment available for this headache is pain killers, steroids, beta-blockers, and also home remedies available to relieve the symptoms of headache.
If someone feels continuous pain and symptoms worsen or severe day by day then should seek medical attention immediately.


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