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What are Positional Headaches?

Positional headaches are an uncomfortable type of headache that happens when you suddenly stand up or sit down. They can last for a short time, like 5 minutes, to 48 hours and usually the best relief is 20-30 minutes spent resting in bed. Although they don’t commonly bring about many other symptoms than pain itself, positional headaches can be distinctly unpleasant.

Signs and symptoms: 

  • Pain (severe, throbbing, pulsating, aching, stabbing)
  • Worse throughout the day
  • Most commonly back of the head, but can be on the side or at the front in rare cases
  • Hearing changes or double vision
  • Dizziness 
  • Back or chest pain

Symptoms are commonly worsened by

  • coughing or sneezing
  • strenuous exercises
  • sexual activities
  • bending over, lifting, reaching
  • straining during a bowel movement


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is a low pressure headache caused by decreased fluid cushioning the spinal and brain tissue, resulting in symptoms like dizziness, nausea and neck stiffness. While it may be triggered by an obvious event such as surgery or trauma to head/neck region, unrecognised events can also cause this condition – something as harmless looking as sneezing or coughing! People with weaker connective tissues composition are more likely to suffer from these positional headaches which could stem out of structural conditions affecting intervertebral disc , nerves, blood vessels & other soft-tissues


For more mild cases, patients may find symptomatic relief from the following: getting bed rest or lying flat, hydrating or IV therapy, avoiding strenuous and straining activities, drinking caffeine, eating healthily, practicing medication or using an abdominal binder. However, it is rare that any of these would be successful long term treatments.