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What causes headaches in the back of the head after laughing?

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Practicing since : 2008
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I, as well as my siblings, get painful knots in the back of the head (occipital region) when we laugh a lot. We affectionally refer to them as laugh knots. However, there are times when not only do I experience pain, but I have become lightheaded or dizzy, and have had to stop laughing, and massage the area until feeling subside. I have mentioned this to physicians and all I get is a strange reaction. Can anyone help me to understand what's happening and whether I have reasons to worry.
Posted Sun, 16 Feb 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Anjana Rao Kavoor 3 hours later
Brief Answer: Please find detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hiy XXXX Thanks you for sending in your query. Headaches in the back of the head (occipital region) after laughing are a very rare occurrence. It has been seen in patients and needs further investigations. At best it can be classified as a triggered headache. It is important to note that your siblings also face a similar problem. The mechanism of short-lasting sharp shooting headache is thought to be due to transient pressure dissociation between intracranial and intraspinal space while the patient is laughing. Differences in pressure between both compartments may cause downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils into the foramen magnum, which causes stretching of intracranial pain sensitive structures, such as meninges, nerves, and blood vessels. There are certain medications which can reduce the symptoms of laughing headache but this can be prescribed only after complete neurological clinical examination. If necessary, a MRI scan may be asked for you. The severity of the condition must be evaluated by your doctor. Hope this answers your query. Please do write in if you have any doubts. Dr.A.Rao Kavoor
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