Post-Traumatic Headaches

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

A headache is a common symptom of traumatic brain injury and is known as a post-traumatic headache. The frequency and severity of the post-traumatic headaches can diminish with the passage of time, however, just as a traumatic brain injury can become persistent with continuing symptoms, post-traumatic headaches can also persist for years.

The traumatic brain injury lawyers at Karns & Kerrison understand the pain that TBI victims are experiencing and are prepared to help them receive the medical care and support they deserve. Call us at 401-841-5300 to get started.

Types of Post-Traumatic Headaches & Their Causes

Headaches are a very common symptom of traumatic brain injury and come in many types such as tension headaches, neurovascular headaches, cervicogenic headaches, musculoskeletal headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) headaches, and neurologic headaches.

There are various causes for post-traumatic headaches including muscle contraction and spasm of the neck and scalp surrounding the area of injury. Post-traumatic headaches may also be the result of vascular causes, leading to pulsating headaches.

The Pain of Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headache pain can occur multiple times each day and often times will force the traumatic brain injury victim to have to lie down and rest until the pain passes. These headaches are extremely disruptive and can prevent a TBI victim from fully returning to work and the activities they once enjoyed.

Post-traumatic headaches are not only painful and disruptive but may also generate anxiety, fear, and depression in the person experiencing them. These psychological factors may inhibit the healing that TBI victims so desperately need.

Treating a Post-Traumatic Headache

There are various methods to treat post-traumatic headaches that should be discussed with your treating physician. Some of these methods include non-narcotic analgesics, short-term use of tranquilizers or antidepressants for the emotional reactions or psychological symptoms along with other types of medications your physician might recommend.

Pain management physicians can help with the symptoms by utilizing injections such as cervical area trigger point injections or occipital block injections directly into the occipital nerve at the base of the skull. In addition, physical therapy or manipulative medicine may help with muscle-spasm-caused headaches.

Post-traumatic headaches can start directly after a traumatic brain injury or there can be a delay. Traumatic brain injury victims suffering from post-traumatic headaches should describe very fully and accurately to their treating physician what the headache feels like, how the headache starts, where the headache hurts, how long the headache lasts, what makes the headache worse, and what makes the headache less or better.

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