I have had a strong cough for about 3 weeks, however for the last week the cough has caused severe pain on the rear of my head as if my brain were banging into my skull. Also when I cough I see 4 very bright flashes of light as if they were coming from each temple and each cheek bone.
Your description suggests that this is a very harsh cough, one that could cause a muscle tension headache at the rear of your skull. Rarely, such strong coughing can cause more serious injury to intracranial blood vessels and/or adjacent structures. Concern about these more serious complications would be warranted if the headache was severe and unremitting; that is a continuous headache and not just one that occurs during a cough.
Cough headache is an uncommon, but important complication of cough. The most accepted explanation is that the cough is caused by a rapid increase in intracranial pressure. However, rarely, cough can provoke headaches due to: 1) cerebral aneurysm, which is a weakness of a blood vessel wall associated with a bulge; 2) stenosis of the carotid artery; 3) basilar artery disease; 4) space occupying lesions; and 5) subdural hematoma.
It would be prudent for you to see your doctor for evaluation of this headache to include a determination by him/her of whether further investigation is warranted such as consultation with a neurologist, evaluation of your carotid artery blood flow, a CT scan of the brain or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. The odds of your headache being benign are very much in your favor but a face to face evaluation by your doctor would enable him/her to put your headaches in the proper perspective.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.