Primary cough headache is defined as head pain brought on by coughing or other Valsalva maneuvers, but not by prolonged physical exercise, in the absence of any intracranial disorder. Primary cough headache is considered to be a rare condition, accounting for 0.4% of all headaches consulting our Neurology Department. Its pathophysiology remains a mystery. Primary cough headache is a sudden-onset headache that usually lasts from 1 second to 30 minutes, tends to be bilateral and posterior, does not begin earlier than the fifth decade of life, is more frequent in men, is not accompanied by other neurologic manifestations, and responds to indomethacin. These clinical characteristics allow its differential diagnosis from other entities, even though a craniocervical magnetic resonance imaging study is mandatory to rule out posterior fossa lesions, especially Chiari type-I malformation.
KeywordsValsalva Maneuver International Headache Society Head Pain Cerebellar Tonsil Chiari Type
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