Cough headache: causes and treatment

cough headache

Does your head ache whenever you cough? If so, do you know the causes of a cough headache and how to treat this condition? There are times when your head starts to hurt as soon as you begin coughing. This condition is called cough headache.

Headaches associated with coughing can be of any type including because of a common cold and also because of acute pneumonia. In fact, there are a hundred conditions associated with your cough headache. The good news is not every kind of cough headache condition is harmful.

Head hurts when I cough. Why?

head hurts when i cough

Cough headaches are caused when your head gets pressurized when you begin to cough. This pressurization results in a headache. Another reason why people develop a cough headache is when they have a cold, in which case the coughing bouts may increase. The result of that is the nasal passages become blocked and this is what causes your headache. Here is a look at different types of cough headaches.

Primary headaches

Primary headaches caused by a cough occur immediately following a bout of coughing and this condition can last for a few minutes. The pain felt in this instance can be very sharp and affects the head as well as part of your back. Secondary headaches are not only harmful but also serious. This kind of cough headache requires treatment which includes surgery.

Cough headache symptoms

Symptoms of a cough headache (primary) include sharp and stabbing headache affecting both sides of the head and lasting for a few minutes. Symptoms of a secondary headache include long-lasting headache and dizziness.

Causes of cough headache

causes of cough headache

There are several causes of cough headache. Here is a brief look at them.


Chain smokers and those who normally smoke can develop bronchitis which in turn leads to cough headache bouts.


If you are allergic to smoke or pollen or even pollutants and dust particles, then your throat may become infected, which in turn leads to a dry cough condition. Even a change in the weather can cause a cough headache.

Asthma/skull defect

Asthmatic patients are also prone to developing cough headaches as too are those who have a defect in their skulls.


If your cough headache occurs infrequently, then there is no need to visit a doctor. However, if the condition occurs frequently, then be sure to see a doctor immediately.

To treat a primary headache, you will need to use medications like indomethacin, propranolol or acetazolamide.

To treat secondary headaches, you will need to undergo surgery to fix the underlying issues. Preventive medications are not effective.

Home remedies

home remedies cough headache

Including certain foods in the diet can lead to cough headache alleviation. Foods such as grapes, garlic, and mustard oil as well as eggs and corn can all help to alleviate your cough headache symptoms.


Consuming some roasted garlic cloves thrice a day and massaging the feet and palms with a mixture of garlic and mustard oil can also do wonders in alleviating your cough headache condition.


Just one teaspoon of honey taken with some ginger juice provides quick relief from a cough headache. Also, consuming a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of pepper and blending them with a little water can do wonders for your cough headache.