Headache When Coughing? How to Get Relief & Results Now

headache when coughing

Headache when coughing? Coughing is a common health complaint among various age groups. It’s a reflex action of the respiratory system to get rid of foreign objects that travel into the nose and down to the throat. When you’re down with the flu, you will likely cough more often than usual. Unfortunately, besides throat irritation and abdominal muscle pain, coughing can also cause other problems such as headaches or migraines. 

But why do some people get a headache when coughing? How are headaches and coughing connected, and what can you do to cope for migraines and headaches? Learn more as we take a closer look at cough headaches.

What is a Cough Headache and Why Does it Happen?

Doctors classify cough headaches into two types – primary or secondary. Most of the time, the primary type affects people in theirs 40s to 50s and causes discomfort for up to 30 minutes. You can quickly distinguish it by spotting the following:

  • Sharp pain that can affect one or both sides of your head
  • Painful sensation right after, before, or during coughing
  • Dull headache that can persist for a few minutes after the initial phases of the episode

On the one hand, if you have a secondary cough headache, you will notice more severe pain.  The episodes can also last longer than a few hours and extend for up to several weeks. You might also experience the following:

  • Feeling unsteady or unable to keep your balance
  • High intensity throbbing inside the head
  • Varied location of the pain   

Studies explain that primary headaches rarely leave a lingering impact on the body, while secondary cough headaches cause severe discomfort. Additionally, a primary headache when coughing develops because of the pressure applied to your muscles. The amount of force needed to expel foreign bodies or contaminants can strain the abdomen, chest, shoulders, and neck and leave you at risk of experiencing aching in your head. 

In contrast, secondary headaches usually get triggered by underlying health problems such as Chiari type 1 malformation, cervical subluxation, brain aneurysm, brainstem tumor, and skull abnormalities. The congestion that results from the underlying causes leads to the onset of headaches.

What To Do When You Have Get a Headache When Coughing

Naturally, getting rid of cough headaches entails eliminating the root cause of your coughing problem. It would help to seek your doctor’s assistance to determine whether you have a primary or secondary type of headache.

You may need to undergo diagnostic procedures like an MRI scan, CT scan, or magnetic resonance angiography to check for skull abnormalities that may be the reason behind your pain. You can also visit a chiropractor for migraines and headaches to determine if a neck misalignment is causing your cough headaches.

Primary Cough Headache Remedies

If the diagnostic finding reveals that you have primary headaches, you can try the following remedies:

  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication or using steroids – Both these options help dampen the body’s inflammatory response, helping you experience a bit of relief when you struggle from cough headaches. 
  • Asking for a spinal tap – In rare instances, removing a few amounts of spinal fluid can help reduce the cranial pressure that may be aggravating your cough headaches. 
  • Getting your neck bones adjusted – Upper cervical care is an excellent option for primary cough headaches because it helps ease pressure in the skull. It’s also a holistic procedure that aims to stimulate faster healing and recovery for various health problems. An upper cervical chiropractor for migraines and headaches facilitates this method.

headache when coughing

Secondary Cough Headache Remedies

On the one hand, if your doctor tells you that you have a secondary cough headache, here are some remedies you can use depending on the underlying condition:

  • Cerebral aneurysm – Patients with cerebral aneurysms mostly undergo a surgical procedure to remove burst veins or catheter treatment to promote clotting in affected vascular tissues.  
  • Brain tumor – In most cases, brain tumors patients need to undergo either surgical operation or chemotherapy to eliminate the cancerous cells or slow down tumor growth.
  • Chiari malformation – Medications like indomethacin provide relief to patients who experience secondary cough headaches because of a Chiari Type 1 malformation.
  • Cervical subluxation – Upper neck bone misalignments can certainly mess up the balance in your body, making you more at risk of experiencing headaches including headache when coughing. Moreover, the misaligned bones can impede fluid drainage, increasing the pressure in your head. Naturally, by correcting the problem through upper cervical chiropractic, you can potentially eliminate your cough headaches. 

Arrange an Appointment with an Upper Cervical Chiropractor for Migraines and Headaches

It’s not fun to experience a headache when coughing, especially if it happens frequently. It can leave you frustrated and anxious because you constantly anticipate an episode of pain and discomfort.  The episodes can also make you vulnerable to other health problems like migraine attacks, a highly debilitating condition that can leave a severe and lasting impact on your life, work, and relationships. 

Thankfully, you can potentially get rid of your symptom by seeking an upper cervical doctor. Whether you have a primary or secondary cough headache, upper cervical chiropractic presents as an excellent option because it’s natural and holistic. 

It comes in extra handy in boosting your ability to heal naturally because it eliminates signal interferences between the brain and various body parts. 

Thousands of ailing patients have found hope, healing, and recovery after getting their C1 and C2 bone positions corrected. Some have even managed to improve their migraine symptoms because they no longer experience frequent or severe headaches.  

So, if you want to eliminate problems such as having a headache when coughing, we strongly recommend talking to an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner. It would help to get your neck bones checked for misalignment so you can determine if the adjustments can help you cope with your symptoms better. 

Research on upper cervical chiropractic and its effects on headaches including headache when coughing has shown promising results including:

  • A case series published in the NCBI illustrated an integrated model of care for migraine that combines standard neurological care with chiropractic treatment, resulting in a significant reduction in headaches over a period of 9 to 10 months.
  • Additionally, a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial investigated the efficacy of upper cervical chiropractic for cervicogenic headache and found that headache frequency improved in the group receiving chiropractic treatment.
  • Furthermore, studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic care in reducing headache intensity, frequency, and duration for patients with chronic tension headaches and migraines.

These findings suggest that upper cervical chiropractic care may be a beneficial non-pharmacological management approach for various types of headaches including headache when coughing.

Locate a nearby practice and book your initial upper cervical consultation today!

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.