Sharp Pain After Sneezing, Left With Bad Headache?

by Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert Health Professional & Patient Advocate


4 weeks ago I was admitted to hospital with head pain. I sneezed and then I felt like I had been hit with a cricket bat, I fell to the floor and the awful pain lasted about 15 minutes. I had lots of tests, scans and a lumbar puncture and given the all clear to bleeds, tumours etc. I have had migraine before but nothing as bad as this pain. My consultant said I had a Primary Thunderclap Headache that I may have another and then I may not, to take another month of work and rest. If I have another thunderclap to go back to hospital to go through all the tests again to rule out the bleeds etc. I have had what I call Mini ones after a sneeze and the pain only lasts a minuet and I am left with a bad headache. I take paracetamol and sleep it off but I am fed up with this now. My question is how long do you think this will go on for and do you know any one who has anything similar? I have looked on the internet when my head is not too bad but could not find any information regarding post headaches. thanks Maddie.


Dear Maddie;

It is truly hard to know what the cause of your sharp head pain is, as it sounds like cerebrospinal fluid fluid pressure may be be involved, and you had a lumbar puncture, which I assume was normal. I wonder if there is any relationship of the head pain to barometric pressure changes (i.e., before a rain comes)? If there is a migraine and headache specialist available, that might be the person to consult with. I wouldn't expect paracetamol to be of much value in controlling the symptoms, and if you take it too frequently, paracetamol can compound the problem by causing medication overuse headache. You can read more about that in Medication Overuse Headache: When the Remedy Backfires.

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines.

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Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert
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Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert

Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert.