Headache when bending over: sinusitis, migraine, other causes (2023)

Several different types ofHeadacheit can cause pain when you bend over. Most are no cause for concern, but some require medical attention.

This article describes the causes of back headache, risk factors, when to see a doctor, and treatment options.

Headache when bending over: sinusitis, migraine, other causes (1)

Common causes of headaches when bending over

Blut ucerebrospinal fluid(CSF) circulate through the brain and spinal cord and deliver a certain amount ofintracranial pressure(ICP) or pressure in the head to support and protect the brain and its blood supply. The ICP changes with different positions due to the effect of gravity on the distribution of fluids throughout the body.

When standing, the ICP naturally decreases as gravity moves fluid away from the head. However, when the head is tilted back, inverted, or flexed, the ICP increases. This increase in ICP can worsen headache symptoms due to the increased pressure inside the head.

sinus headache

Asinus headacheit results from increased pressure in the sinuses (the four pairs of cavities) in the head and face. It usually starts with inflammation caused by a cold or allergy. Elevated ICP can aggravate already inflamed sinuses and lead to headaches.

(Video) Sinus Headaches: Causes & Treatment


Amigraineis a neurological condition that can cause severe, throbbing headaches, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, and vomiting. The increase in ICP that occurs when bending over increases the intensity of migraine headaches.

dehydration headache

Adehydration headacheIt is the result of a lack of fluids in the body, which leads to headaches due to improper fluid balance. Elevated ICP creates a compressive force inside the head that further constricts blood vessels and worsens the dehydration headache. Dehydration can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or not drinking enough water.

cough headache

Acough headacheIt is a sudden headache that occurs after coughing, sneezing, laughing, exerting yourself, or bending over. It is caused by the increased pressure that builds up in the head and body from the force of these movements.

Positional headache when bending over

Orthostatic or positional headaches are caused by standing and are usually relieved by lying down. This type of headache can be made worse by bending over. Positional headaches can result from a CSF leak,cervicalHeadache (pain transmission from neck to head) or orthostatic postureTachycardia(rapid heartbeat) syndrome.


A CSF leak occurs when there is a tear in the outermost layer that surrounds the brain (dura mater) or a fracture in one of the bones of the skull. A tear in the dura or a fracture of the skull can cause spinal fluid to leak from the brain through the nose and ears.

In addition to drainage from the nose and ears, a CSF leak can also cause headaches, ringing in the ears (the sum), blurred vision etcMeningitis. These symptoms tend to increase as the ICP increases, which can occur in certain positions, e.g. B. when bending over.

Cervicogenic headache

ACervicogenic headacheit is usually located on one side of the head and neck. "Cervicogenic" means it originates in the neck. These headaches usually present with a limited range of motion in the cervical spine due to muscle tension.

(Video) How to manage headache while coughing and bending down? - Dr. Satish Babu K

Cervicogenic headaches result from muscle irritation in the neck controlled by the C1, C2, and C3 spinal nerve roots. Bending over can make cervicogenic headaches worse by increasing tension in the neck muscles.

Posturales orthostatisches Tachykardiesyndrom (POTS)

Posturales orthostatisches Tachykardiesyndrom(POTS) is a condition characterized by a significant increase in heart rate (tachycardia) when assuming an upright position, either from a prone to a seated position, or from a seated or crouched position to a standing position. This change in heart rate can also cause headaches,palpitations, fatigue, nausea and fainting.

When to consult a doctor

Common flexor headaches subside when the underlying cause, such as a sinus infection or dehydration, is relieved. They usually do not require any additional treatment.

More severe and prolonged headaches, such as migraines or positional headaches, generally require longer treatment. If you have persistent headaches several times a week or month, especially if your headaches get worse over time, make an appointment with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.


To make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your medical history, including:

  • your headache symptoms
  • How long does your headache last?
  • When did your headache start?
  • How often do your headaches occur?
  • When certain conditions trigger your headache
  • Other medical conditions you may have

Your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess neck movement and range of motion for possible neurological disease. They may also recommend diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your headache. These tests may include:

  • damn work
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)by unoComputed tomography (CT)your brain
  • CSF analysis using alumbar puncture/ Lumbar puncture (insertion of a hollow needle into the lower spine to remove liquor for analysis)
  • Myelographie,a procedure in which a contrast medium is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid inside the spine and examined with a CT scan

If POTS is suspected, your doctor will do a propensity test. During this test, you are attached to a flat table that changes position horizontally and vertically. Your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored as the table changes position.

(Video) Is It A Tension Headache or Possible Brain Cancer? Simple 20 Second Test


A common headache that is made worse by bending over can be controlled and prevented with lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Stay adequately hydrated
  • control stress
  • get enoughsleep at night
  • Limit exposure to bright phone, tablet, television, and computer screens
  • Treatment of colds andallergies
  • Avoid migraine triggers like loud noises and bright lights
  • Taking pain-relieving medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including Advil or Motrin ibuprofen or Aleve naproxen sodium) or prescription medications for migraine headaches

Treatments for positional headaches

Treatment for positional headaches depends on the underlying cause. Options include:

  • physical therapy, exercise and lifestyle changes such as improving posture and managing stress to reduce cervicogenic headaches
  • Cardiovascular drugs to improve heart function and reduce POTS symptoms
  • Other lifestyle changes to reduce POTS symptoms, such as wearing compression clothing, increasing fluid intake, exercise, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and exposure to heat.
  • Likeepidural blood stain, in which a sample of blood is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid in your spine to circulate and form a clot to seal a CSF leak and relieve symptoms
  • Surgery to close a CSF leak

Risk factors for positional headache

Certain factors increase the risk of developing positional headaches. These include:

  • bad attitude
  • Overexertion when exercising or coughing
  • brain tumors
  • trauma to the head or face

POTS positional headaches have unique risk factors, including:

  • The pregnancy
  • Big operation
  • Trauma
  • Virus infection
  • peripheral nerve(nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) damaged
  • Diabetes
  • alcoholism
  • autoimmune diseases likeSarcoidosis,Amilose,systemic lupus erythematosus, miSjogren's Syndrome
  • chemotherapy
  • heavy metal poisoning


Headaches when bending over can be due to sinus infections, dehydration, a cough, or migraines. Positional headaches resulting from a CFL leak can also lead to bending over headaches.

Common headaches that are made worse by bending over can usually be managed with lifestyle changes, such as B. Reducing stress, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding triggers like loud noises and bright lights. For more complicated positional headaches, medication, physical therapy, epidural blood, or surgery may be needed.

A word from Verywell

The occasional headache here or there is usually nothing to worry about. However, you should see your doctor if you have persistent headaches several times a week or month to determine the underlying cause.

(Video) What does it mean when it is THROBBING in the temples

frequently asked questions

  • What part of the head is affected by a headache caused by COVID-19?

    A COVID-19 headache usually occurs on both sides of the head, rather than just one side.

  • What does a brain tumor headache look like?

    A brain tumor headache usually causes a constant, dull headache in a specific area of ​​the head and is sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and seizures.

    (Video) 7 Warning Signs and symptoms of a Brain Tumor You Should Know


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