Traumatic Brain Injury & Headaches in Colorado Car Accidents

Traumatic Brain Injury & Headaches

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

March 8, 2023

Despite being made out of biological stuff and doughy tissues, humans are designed to tolerate and  survive tremendous levels of force. When these impacts happen, though, they may and frequently do have long-term consequences for our bodies.

This company has previously written on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and the neuropsychiatric problems that they may produce and some of the words typically used in the context of such injuries.  Despite the frequency of TBI and its possible long-term consequences, at least 25% of persons who suffer from mild TBI do not seek medical help.

The most prevalent symptom after a TBI is a “post-traumatic headache,” which includes closed-head injuries (such as concussions) and neuropsychiatric problems (such as schizophrenia).

One of the most prevalent signs of traumatic brain damage is headache (often called post- traumatic headache). Over 30% of individuals say they get headaches that last for weeks or months following an accident.


After a TBI, headaches may continue for months or even years, coming and going. Headaches might make it difficult to carry out regular tasks or cause you to have trouble thinking and remembering things.


Those who have had a TBI will, of course, have a wide range of symptoms and experiences. As a result, patients should be aware of the following forms of headaches:

Migraine with or without aura Persistent post-traumatic headache Migraine in the vestibules Cluster headaches  Chronic tension headaches


The only headache problem directly linked to brain damage is post-traumatic headache, which starts within seven days after the injury or after awareness is returned. This headache type is perhaps an  umbrella word for persistent head pain after a trauma, whether it be migraine, tension-type headache,

or another form. The fact that a persistent post-traumatic headache lasts longer than three months is the minimum criterion for chronicity.

Furthermore, when this headache appears again inside a patient, the International Headache Society recognizes it as a secondary headache disease. If a person already had a pre-existing headache diagnosis that was rendered worse or chronic due to the TBI, it might be a primary headache problem.

In any case,  post-traumatic headache is distinct in that it often includes symptoms from all of the other major  headache and migraine diseases, making diagnosis difficult. However, research has demonstrated small changes in triggers and even brain anatomy compared to regular migraine, which may pave the way  for more accurate diagnosis in the future.


The most frequent post-traumatic or post-TBI headache syndromes are migraine with aura and migraine without aura. Veterans who have had a traumatic brain injury may be more susceptible to migraines than other headache disorders.

The sensory symptoms that occur in combination with the direct headache help to distinguish these kinds. Consider the following scenario:

  • Photophobia or light sensitivity Sound sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Odor sensitivity Visual or another aura

Compared to other headache-related illnesses that follow TBI, some have speculated that impairment may be one of the most important predictors of migraine. This might be related to a greater chance of impairment, a longer recovery time, and other negative effects for people who suffer from migraine induced by a TBI. 

Migraine with aura, as previously mentioned, adds pre-attack visual and sensory abnormalities to the list  of symptoms. Although it is less common in the general population than migraine without aura, doctors  have discovered that it is the most common headache disease after sports-related traumatic brain injuries, with roughly 45 percent of patients experiencing it.

This compared to around one out of every four people who have persistent migraines that aren’t caused by auras.


Vestibular symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, or motion sickness are a kind of migraine that may  develop after a TBI. As it’s known, Vestibular migraine is one of the most common causes of persistent  post-injury dizziness; in fact, concussions and traumatic brain injuries are major risk factors for the onset of vestibular migraine. However, research has shown nothing regarding how often this migraine

subtype develops as a direct consequence of TBI, even though migraine-associated vertigo affects many individuals regularly and may last for years.


Cluster headaches, despite their rarity, are excruciating, and that’s before you realize that they’ve been dubbed “suicide headaches” to reflect the blinding agony that comes in bouts or clusters. Similar to vestibular migraine, nothing is known regarding the overall occurrence of post-TBI cluster headache.

However, cluster headache patients are more likely than migraine patients to have traumatic brain injuries during their lifetime. This might imply an increased chance of developing cluster headaches or  that TBI is a primary cause of the condition. 


Tension-type headaches, sometimes known as stress headaches,’ lack the usual migraine symptoms but  may be just as chronic and unpleasant. Although they are the most common kind of headache in the general population, they seem to occur less often after TBI than migraine, involving 22-40% of patients  depending on the source and severity of the damage.

When it comes to symptoms, the most  common complaint is discomfort, which affects both sides of the head. Increased sensitivity to light or sound, but not both, is a symptom of chronic tension-type headache.


People with severe TBIs may get headaches due to the surgery on their skulls or tiny collections of blood

or fluid within the skull.

Headaches may also arise after mild to moderate damage or after the initial healing has occurred in the  event of a severe TBI. These headaches may be caused by several factors, including a change in the brain  induced by the accident, unhealed neck and skull traumas, tension and stress, or pinjuryaceutical side  effects.

What are some of the most common types of headaches following a TBI?


These headaches occur when a portion of the brain becomes hypersensitive, triggering a pain signal that travels to other sections of the brain (like the ripples that spread out after you drop a pebble in water).  The following characteristics characterize these headaches:

A dull, throbbing feeling on one side of the head, generally on one side. Vomiting or nausea.

Sensitivity to light and sound.

Pain intensity ranges from mild to severe.

You may have warning signs of a migraine, such as seeing spots or bright lights. This is referred to as an aura.

Tension headaches are the most common form of headache.

Muscle tension or spasms, as well as stress, are linked to these headaches. They typically have the  following characteristics: A tight, squeezing feeling that might be felt all over the head or on both sides. Pain intensity ranges from mild to severe.

Take place later in the day.

Headaches caused by a carcinogenic source.

This form of headache occurs when the muscles and soft tissues in the neck and back of the head have  been injured. Many nerves in the tissues and bones of the neck have branches that pass to the skull and scalp, resulting in headaches. This form of headache generally contains the following characteristics:

They often begin in the neck, shoulders, and back of the head and sometimes extend to the top of the head.

These headaches are not generally accompanied by nausea and may vary from moderate to severe, depending on how the neck is moved or positioned. Headaches that come back

Medicines used to relieve migraines may sometimes produce headaches themselves. When pain relievers are used daily, skipping one or two doses might cause a headache.

If you reduce your caffeine intake, you may have a rebound headache. For example, you can develop a headache if you don’t drink as much coffee, tea, or energy drinks as you usually do.

Other information about headaches

These are the most common forms of headaches. However, there are more. It’s fairly uncommon for someone to have two distinct sorts of headaches. A family history of headaches, such as migraine, is frequent.

Should I be concerned about a headache?

The majority of headaches are not harmful. A person should visit a health care provider skilled in treating people with brain injuries in the first few days following a concussion or head injury. IF ANY OF  THE FOLLOWING HAPPENS:

Your headache becomes more severe.

You experience nausea and/or vomiting in conjunction with a headache.

You have arm or leg weakness or difficulty speaking in conjunction with a headache.


Doctors will often request a CT scan of your brain in the days after a head injury to ensure there is no  bleeding in your brain. A brain scan or other test is seldom required after that to correctly identify a  headache.

Typically, your health care practitioner will use your medical history and symptoms to determine the kind of headache you’re experiencing and how to treat it.


Many individuals keep a headache journal to keep track of their symptoms. This will vary depending on the circumstances. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your headaches and keep note of your  symptoms and treatment response.


Strong pain relievers, sometimes known as opioids or narcotics, are seldom used to treat TBI headaches.  Certain drugs may exacerbate other TBI symptoms. They may also have unforeseen adverse effects on those who have had a TBI.

If pain medication is required, non-narcotic drugs should be used first. Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are examples (Tylenol or Advil are examples). If you  use pain relievers for a headache more than three times a week, you should watch whether your headaches are growing worse. This is referred to as a rebound headache.

Self-care, often known as headache hygiene, is the most effective strategy to control your headaches. Here are some suggestions for self-care:

Only take drugs as directed by your doctor. You should not take any drugs by yourself. If you start to have a headache, go somewhere dark and quiet where you can lay down. If bright lights appear to give you headaches, use dark glasses.

Stay away from any meals or drinks that tend to cause a headache.

Use relaxation methods such as listening to music, meditation, or deep breathing to prevent tension.

Work with a mental health professional to relieve stress and anxiety if necessary. Exercise daily. This is beneficial to both your body and mind.

Every day, go to bed and wake up at the same hour. Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and smoke.

Stretch and strengthen your muscles by participating in physical therapy. Learn how to do these  workouts on your own at home.

Consider acupuncture or massage therapy as an alternate treatment.

Keep track of your headaches and discuss them with your doctor. Make a list of every time you have a  headache, how bad it is, and what you think caused it.

Headaches caused by a TBI normally go away with time. The length of time it takes for your brain to heal is determined by the sort of damage you sustained. Self-care may help you recuperate quicker if you manage your headache discomfort. If your discomfort is growing worse, contact your doctor. Also, never attempt to cure a headache with medicines or alcohol on your own.

Changes in your lifestyle might help you avoid headaches.

The initial stages in treating any sort of headache do not include medicines or other forms of treatment. Many times, lifestyle factors may either cause or aggravate headaches. Simple modifications may have a significant impact on whether or not headaches arise.

Get adequate sleep;

Exercise regularly. By increasing sleep and reducing triggers, aerobic activity such as walking and proper stretching may frequently assist in avoiding headaches. Check with your health care practitioner if any exercise makes your headache worse. Stay away from caffeine.

Avoid foods like red wine, monosodium glutamate (MSG, a popular food ingredient), and some cheeses that might cause a headache.

Only use pain medications daily if your doctor has prescribed them.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen are common treatments for infrequent headaches.

Migraine headache medications, such as sumatriptan (Imitrex®). Meditation/relaxation treatment

Biofeedback is a kind of treatment that involves the use of brainwaves to Self-massage and stretching


Injections of numbing medicine or steroids into the cervical spine muscles, nerves, or joints, for example.

Massage for therapeutic purposes. Heat or ice packs may be used.

Recurrent headaches that occur more than twice a week and need treatment. If you get regular headaches, you may need a prescription from your doctor. Headaches caused by a TBI may be treated with the following medications:


Anti-seizure drugs (such as gabapentin, commonly known as Neurontin®). Beta-blockers, which are blood pressure medications (like propranolol).

Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox).

A post-traumatic headache is simply a headache that occurs after a head injury. Tension headaches (where the afflicted’s head feels squeezed at the temples), migraines, cervical headaches (though these  are most commonly associated with neck injuries involving soft- tissue injures), musculoskeletal headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (commonly referred to as TMJ, this condition is typified by problems with one’s jaw), and neuralgic pain are the most common types of post-traumatic headaches (associated with nerve injuries to the nerves in the face and upper neck resulting in head  discomfort).

Trauma patients get post-traumatic headaches as a result of tiny collections of blood or  fluid within their skulls.

Symptomatic therapy is used to treat post-traumatic headaches. Unfortunately, no pinjuryaceutical exists that can address the underlying damage that is causing the complainant’s discomfort.

Thus each  symptom must be treated separately. Tricyclic antidepressants are often used to treat chronic tension headaches (i.e., amitriptyline). The purpose of these drugs is to alleviate sadness and discomfort.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness and you  feel that person is experiencing post-traumatic headaches. As a result, you should speak with a certified  Colorado personal injury attorney.

It’s crucial to remember that post-traumatic headache may be persistent, so if you or  someone you know is suffering from one, you or they must get treatment from a medical expert as soon  as possible so that the issue and sub-type of headache can be correctly diagnosed.


Once your doctor has given you an initial diagnosis and prognosis for recovery, you should speak with an  expert traumatic brain injury lawyer to see whether someone else’s carelessness caused the damage, whether it happened in a car or motorcycle accident, or at a sports event. Warrior Car Accident Lawyers.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, is dedicated to learning about the medical aspects of traumatic brain injury to get proper compensation for victims. Please contact us at 719-300-1100 to help you with a free  case review and consultation about a traumatic brain injury.

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