Why head hurt when I cough? A girl is holding her head in both hands.

Why head hurt when I cough? It usually happens because coughing brings strong pressure in your body. This pressure usually comes as a pain in different body regions. The coughs themselves could be categorized into two groups that are usual coughs and severe coughs.

The common reasons behind regular or non-serious coughing could be cold, influenza, or asthma.

The other category of extreme or abnormal coughing includes disorders and diseases related to the brain, abnormality in the spinal cord, or infection in the lungs and bronchus.

In all these body pains, the most irritating and exasperating pain is a headache. We all experience headaches from time to time but there could be different reasons behind these headaches. So these question may arise in your mind:

 Why head hurt when I cough?

 And the answers, along with the details to these questions, are given below.

1. Why does cough occur? 

Coughing is a reflex action that usually occurs for the expelling out of all the foreign particles stuck in our windpipe, pharynx, lungs, bronchus, or nasal cavity. It is a natural phenomenon and cleaning system of our body.

It forcibly expel all the bad particles, which results in intense pressure on the abdomen, chest, and nasal cavity. this pressure also causes pain in head regions, resulting in headaches.

2.Why do headaches occur? 

When we cough, our body experiences a strong and powerful pressure in various body parts as an outcome of cough. Similarly, this pressure is also felt by our abdomen, chest, and lungs, resulting in pain in the head or only headaches. 

Doctors divide these headaches caused by coughing into two groups: primary cough headaches and secondary cough headaches.

Let’s jump into the details of these two categories and know the differences between them and how we can relate our headaches to them.

a) Primary cough headaches

Primary cough headaches are non-dangerous headaches, usually activated by coughing, sneezing, laughing, blowing your nose, or crying forcefully and forcibly.

The condition of being strained in bowel movements also becomes an essential point in the trigger of primary cough headaches.

  • What are the symptoms of primary cough headaches?

I am experiencing sudden headaches right after coughing, laughing, crying, or straining in bowel movements. Pain levels vary from person to person. Pain could be described as darting and sharp pain in the head.

  • Where do primary cough headaches occur?

 Primary coughing headaches can occur on both sides or on a half side of the head. Primary headaches are usually felt on the front part and side part of the head.

  • How long can a primary cough headache last?

Primary cough headaches may last from a few seconds to 20-30 minutes.

It can also last 1-2 hours in sporadic cases.

  • What are the solutions for the prevention of primary cough headaches?

 Headaches that occur after coughing usually settle down on their own if they are from the primary headache’s category but because the symptoms are excruciating and irritating, so following steps can be taken for the prevention of primary cough headaches:

1.having an adequate intake of water and warm beverages will help prevent straining in bowel movements.

2.Have a meditation of feces softener prescribed by the doctor to avoid straining.

3. Intake of medicines for the prevention of flu or cold as prescribed by the physician or pharmacist.

4.Breath in steam.

5. Make use of vaporizer and humidifier machines.

b) Secondary Cough headaches

  • Why do Secondary cough headaches occur?

Secondary cough headaches, also known as symptomatic cough headachesare severe and damage-causing headaches.

  1. The reasons behind these bad headaches are disorders and deformities of the brain and spinal cord, usually called Chiari malformations.
  2. these headaches could indicate a defect in the cranium (brain box) or skull.
  3. Deformity or disease in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that receives all the sensory information and data from all other parts of the body and spinal cord. It also regulates the body’s voluntary movements such as balance, coordination, speech, and posture.
  4. This could be a reason behind the sickness in the brain’s blood vessels (cerebral aneurysm).
  5. Secondary cough headache may occur due to a brain tumor or leakage in cerebrospinal fluid in the body.
  • What are the symptoms of secondary cough headaches? 

  1. Secondary cough headaches share the basic symptoms with primary cough headaches. However, its other symptoms are laziness, faintness, vertigo, and dizziness. Instability and shaking are also reported.
  2. Secondary cough headaches become very much pain with coughing, straining in bowel movement, and even cause a stroke (forcibly sneezing, blowing of the nose, or feces’ passing can damage blood vessels).
  • Where do secondary cough headaches occur?

like primary symptoms, secondary cough headaches also share the head’s front and side regions where these headaches usually occur with primary cough headaches. Still, it is explicitly felt in the backside of the head.

  • How long can a secondary cough headache last?

the period of secondary cough headaches is difficult or almost impossible to determine because these headaches are related to deformities in the brain, spinal cord, and blood vessels.

  • What are the solutions for the prevention of secondary cough headaches?

  1. As secondary cough headaches are related to deformities in the brain, spinal cord, or blood vessels, meditation can only be done professionally by doctors and surgeons.
  2. Physicians may suggest X-ray Computed Tomography (CT scan) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the diagnosis of the reason behind these headaches.
  3. Other tests like lumbar puncture and blood tests can also be carried out to locate and determine the disease.
  4. Surgery is a successful option in the correction and treatment of these deformities. Without surgery, meditation will be quite challenging and almost impossible because it is caused due to problems in the brain, spinal cord, or blood vessels.

3. How to cure cough? 

Coughing could result from cold or flu, foreign particles like smoke, dust, or grains stuck in the pharynx, or expelling out of bacteria along with other allergens.

It is a straightforward way of clearing out all the harmful and damageable particles from the body, especially the lungs.

Coughing is itself a right reflex action, and most importantly, it maintains and regulates a healthy lifestyle. Although we are familiar with the advantages of coughing, no doubt it is excruciating and hurting.

Many coughs disappear on their own after some time, but some coughs need profound meditation and treatment. Along with these treatments and meditations, here are some simple, easy, and convenient home remedies to calm and ease your cough.

  1. antibiotics: 

Antibiotics are useless if a patient is suffering from a viral infection as there is no medicine invented to cure viral infections.

Still, if someone is suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection, meditation through antibiotics could be an effective way to fix coughs. The use of antibiotics also relieves the headaches which are caused by coughs. 

  1. Humidifier and vaporizer: 

Humidifiers and vaporizers these two machines are used to solve the dryness of the nasal cavity and skin. Both devices are used to add moisture to the air, as breathing in dry air could worsen the cough.

Vaporizer and humidifier moisturize and smoothen the skin and windpipe, and it could help in the cure of cough.

  1. Intake of fluids: 

Drink  plenty of water and other fluids like warm tea, green tea, hot coffee, and other warm beverages to cure the cough and sore throat. Honey with warm water is also considered a cure for cough and sore throat. According to a study, sweet food can help in curing a cough.

  1. Avoid smoking and junk food: 

Junk food is not only disastrous for your figure and skin, but it is also dangerous for your coughs and colds. Even the use of junk food during illness can make your condition much worse. Avoiding junk food or fried food can help get rid of coughs as early as possible?

In smoking, cigarettes include nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar (an extremely toxic chemical found in cigarettes), and many other damages causing stuff like these.

When this stuff enters our body, they get stuck in our windpipe, lungs, and pharynx, so in this way, our body expels out this catastrophic stuff by coughing. However, smoking should be avoided to gain a healthy body and lead a healthy life.

  1. Elevate your head:

There are many benefits and advantages of elevated sleeping. Elevated sleeping is good for the body’s fluid circulation, decreases acid reflux, and betters the heart muscles.

High sleeping means sleeping in an inclined position, and fulfilling this purpose, you can make use of books, blocks, pillows, or bricks at the head side of your bed’s feet.

4.When should you consult a physician? 

As we are already quite familiar with, coughing is a natural phenomenon and clearing system of the body through which it expels out foreign particles from the body.

Still, some severe and attention-required signs and symptoms need some expert advice and medicines from doctors or physicians.

If these signs and symptoms from your coughing are ignored, your simple coughing can be transformed into something very much destructive and can cause severe damage to your health.

Not only your health but your lungs, windpipe, and nasal cavity can also be affected by these damage-causing agents. So, the following are some conditions in which you should immediately consult a doctor:

  •   Strong and sharp headaches: 

 We already know the answer to this question: why does my head hurt when I cough? But sometimes, these cough headaches, whether they belong to the primary cough headaches category or the secondary ones, could be extreme, sharp, and darting headaches.

These types of headaches are quite irritating and painful. Sometimes, these cough headaches become unbearable and insufferable. In these types of situations, it is best to consult a physician and take medicines and treatments prescribed by the doctor.

  •  Long term headaches: 

Primary cough headaches can last from few seconds to few minutes. In rare cases, it can take up to 2 hours, while in the case of secondary cough headaches, it was impossible to know the period of headaches as they were a result of deformities in the brain, spinal cord, and blood vessels.

If these headaches are caused by coughing that takes more than 1-2 weeks of the period, you should stop home remedies and see a doctor.

These long-term-based cough headaches could be a sign of something not right going on in your body. Not only this, but these long-term headaches can also severely affect your everyday life.

  •   coughing up blood: 

Coughing is very painful for patients (especially when you are suffering from a sore throat). But sometimes, you start to cough up blood again. In these circumstances, you need to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Coughing up blood can be a sign of infection in the chest, lungs, pharynx, or nasal cavity. Blood in cough is also a result of prolonged and severe cough.

Taking medicines prescribed by a doctor is the only solution to this problem. Coughing up blood can also be a sign of liver disease. It only gets worse if not treated professionally.

Also read: Why Does My Stomach Hurt When I Cough?


Now we are familiar with the headaches’ facts and details. Whether they belong to the primary headaches category or the other, headaches are very unpleasant and aching. They could be painful and hurtful if not treated with proper meditations and attention.

Home remedies are quite helpful in the cure of these cough headaches, but these headaches could become something worse for your health and life if not treated well.

Therefore, it is better to visit a doctor if you observe anything strange and irregular in your coughs. Even if these irregularities are on a small scale, still visit and take meditation from the doctor because ignoring these signs and symptoms could damage your health.

These little signs and symptoms could be indicating something destructive and catastrophic going on inside your body.