Cough, exertion and other miscellaneous headaches. Med Clin North Am

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, New York.
Medical Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.61). 06/1991; 75(3):733-47.
Source: PubMed


This article discusses a group of miscellaneous headache disorders not associated with structural lesions of the central nervous system. Usually a characteristic trigger such as cough, exertion, sexual activity, eating something cold, or a food additive initiates individual headache attacks. Although all of the disorders we consider are benign, several include serious organic disease in their differential diagnosis. The authors outline an approach for diagnosis that includes identifying and excluding patients with structural disease. Specific treatments are reviewed.

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    • "Symptomatic cough headache is reported for a number of pathologies which include Chiari I malformation, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume depletion, basilar impression, platybasia, medulloblastoma, middle and posterior fossa meningioma, and chromophobe adenoma.[1213] Although some reports of symptomatic cough headache show a clear association, the association in other cases is tentative. "
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    ABSTRACT: The 'Other Primary Headaches' include eight recognised benign headache disorders. Primary stabbing headache is a generally benign disorder which often co-exists with other primary headache disorders such as migraine and cluster headache. Primary cough headache is headache precipitated by valsalva; secondary cough has been reported particularly in association with posterior fossa pathology. Primary exertional headache can occur with sudden or gradual onset during, or immediately after, exercise. Similarly headache associated with sexual activity can occur with gradual evolution or sudden onset. Secondary headache is more likely with both exertional and sexual headache of sudden onset. Sudden onset headache, with maximum intensity reached within a minute, is termed thunderclap headache. A benign form of thunderclap headache exists. However, isolated primary and secondary thunderclap headache cannot be clinically differentiated. Therefore all headache of thunderclap onset should be investigated. The primary forms of the aforementioned paroxysmal headaches appear to be Indomethacin sensitive disorders. Hypnic headache is a rare disorder which is termed 'alarm clock headache', exclusively waking patients from sleep. The disorder can be Indomethacin responsive, but can also respond to Lithium and caffeine. New daily persistent headache is a rare and often intractable headache which starts one day and persists daily thereafter for at least 3 months. The clinical syndrome more often has migrainous features or is otherwise has a chronic tension-type headache phenotype. Management is that of the clinical syndrome. Hemicrania continua straddles the disorders of migraine and the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias and is not dealt with in this review.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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    • "Rooke’s influence remained until the 1990s. In 1991, Sands et al. [4] grouped together 219 cases of headache provoked by cough or by exertion. In this paper, Sands et al. found that one out of five cases was secondary to an intracranial lesion, usually located in the posterior fossa. "
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    ABSTRACT: Headaches provoked by cough, prolonged physical exercise and sexual activity have not been studied prospectively, clinically and neuroradiologically. Our aim was to delimitate characteristics, etiology, response to treatment and neuroradiological diagnostic protocol of those patients who consult to a general Neurological Department because of provoked headache. Those patients who consulted due to provoked headaches between 1996 and 2006 were interviewed in depth and followed-up for at least 1 year. Neuroradiological protocol included cranio-cervical MRI for all patients with cough headache and dynamic cerebrospinal functional MRI in secondary cough headache cases. In patients with headache provoked by prolonged physical exercise or/and sexual activity cranial neuroimaging (CT and/or MRI) was performed and, in case of suspicion of subarachnoid bleeding, angioMRI and/or lumbar tap were carried out. A total of 6,412 patients consulted due to headache during the 10 years of the study. The number of patients who had consulted due to any of these headaches is 97 (1.5% of all headaches). Diagnostic distribution was as follows: 68 patients (70.1%) consulted due to cough headache, 11 (11.3%) due to exertional headache and 18 (18.6%) due to sexual headache. A total of 28 patients (41.2%) out of 68 were diagnosed of primary cough headache, while the remaining 40 (58.8%) had secondary cough headache, always due to structural lesions in the posterior fossa, which in most cases was a Chiari type I malformation. In seven patients, cough headache was precipitated by treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. As compared to the primary variety, secondary cough headache began earlier (average 40 vs. 60 years old), was located posteriorly, lasted longer (5 years vs. 11 months), was associated with posterior fossa symptoms/signs and did not respond to indomethacin. All those patients showed difficulties in the cerebrospinal fluid circulation in the foramen magnum region in the dynamic MRI study and preoperative plateau waves, which disappeared after posterior fossa reconstruction. The mean age at onset for primary headaches provoked by physical exercise and sexual activity began at the same age (40 years old), shared clinical characteristics (bilateral, pulsating) and responded to beta-blockers. Contrary to cough headache, secondary cases are rare and the most frequent etiology was subarachnoid bleeding. In conclusion, these conditions account for a low proportion of headache consultations. These data show the total separation between cough headache versus headache due to physical exercise and sexual activity, confirm that these two latter headaches are clinical variants of the same entity and illustrate the clinical differences between the primary and secondary provoked headaches.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · The Journal of Headache and Pain
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    • "CDH exacerbated by straining, coughing or sneezing suggests a hindbrain malformation, occipitocervical junction disorder or increased intracranial pressure [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic daily headaches (CDHs) refers to primary headaches that happen on at least 15 days per month, for 4 or more hours per day, for at least three consecutive months. The differential diagnosis of CDHs is challenging and should proceed in an orderly fashion. The approach begins with a search for "red flags" that suggest the possibility of a secondary headache. If secondary headaches that mimic CDHs are excluded, either on clinical grounds or through investigation, the next step is to classify the headaches based on the duration of attacks. If the attacks last less than 4 hours per day, a trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC) is likely. TACs include episodic and chronic cluster headache, episodic and chronic paroxysmal hemicrania, SUNCT, and hypnic headache. If the duration is > or =4 h, a CDH is likely and the differential diagnosis encompasses chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache, new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. The clinical approach to diagnosing CDH is the scope of this review.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · The Journal of Headache and Pain
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