Cough Cough Oww Oww
January 29, 2010 11:09 AM   Subscribe

[MedicalFilter] My dad frequently gets a weird pain in his head when he coughs. He has seen several doctors already. I recall reading something about this possibly being jaw-related but cannot remember specifics. Does this sound familiar? Can you help?

My dad (68, smoker, slightly elevated cholesterol, otherwise in good health) gets a sharp pain behind his eyes every time he coughs, in the area of his sinuses.

He has seen his PCP, two different ENTs and had a cat scan, but nobody has any clever ideas what this might be. We are a little beyond "See a doctor!" at this point.

I think I recall reading something somewhere at some point about a similar case where it turned out to be a TMJ type of situation, perhaps remedied by a bite guard, but the details are super fuzzy. (Possibly relevant: he does grind his teeth in his sleep.)

Does anyone have any experience with anything like this, suggestions for what might be worth investigating, or recommendations for the next kind of specialist to see?
posted by DarlingBri to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
 
Go to a neurologist and get an MRI of the head and neck. There's a whole lot of stuff that could be going on that's undiagnosable without an MRI.
posted by phunniemee at 11:15 AM on January 29, 2010


phunniemee: Go to a neurologist and get an MRI of the head and neck. There's a whole lot of stuff that could be going on that's undiagnosable without an MRI.

That's an excellent idea and I would appreciate a few more specifics. Not because I want to freak myself or my dad out, but because I'm doubtful that going to one's PCP and saying "Can you refer me for an MRI? I'd like to rule out a whole lot of stuff" has a resounding success rate. I suspect "I'd like to be referred for an MRI so we can at least rule out foo, bar and woo" would be more likely to result in an MRI, no?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2010


Have you talked to a dentist?
posted by idb at 12:05 PM on January 29, 2010


This Mayo article is a decent introduction to the phenomenon of "cough headaches," which I think you might find useful as a starting point.
posted by drpynchon at 12:18 PM on January 29, 2010


@idb: My asking MeFi strated because that's what I told my dad to do. His doctor says that a jaw thing would not result in pain in that location, but I've now suggested he start with the neuro and if no joy from various outcomes of that, consult his dentist.

@drpynchon: Thank you, that's very helpful. Apparently it didn't occur to us that this condition would actually be called, you know, a Cough Headache and I was Googling way less obvious stuff.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2010


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