Some patients may experience headache after coughing.

Cough-related headaches may be classified as:

(1) primary "benign"

(2) secondary to an intracranial structural lesion, often in the posterior fossa (Chiari Type I, other)


Primary benign cough headaches:

(1) tend to occur in males over 50 years of age

(2) may be provoked by a Valsalva maneuver

(3) may be associated with other headaches related to a Valsalva maneuver (laughing, postural change, weight lifting, defecation, etc)

(4) tend to be of short duration

(5) have a pain quality that may be described as explosive, pressing, lancinating, electrical or mixed

(6) are usually hemicranial or bilateral and less often occipital (secondary cough headaches tend to show the opposite pattern)


Imaging studies of the brain are important in distinguishing primary from secondary.

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