Causes of Post Traumatic Headache – Find Out How

Causes of Post Traumatic Headache

By Gordon Johnson

Call me at 800-992-9447

The causes of post traumatic headaches is determined by several different factors.  In the case of a more severe brain injury such as a subdural hematoma or epidural hematoma may require surgery to correct the clotting between the brain and the skull.  This as one of the causes of post traumatic headache would be the extreme method of treating the headaches but in a lot of cases there is no surgery required.  With the appropriate testing they should be able to determine the source of the pain that goes along with the post traumatic headache and rule out surgery if not caused by subdural or epidural hematomas or other extreme damage caused by the trauma.  Another cause that may require surgery is abnormal blood flow to areas such as the eyes. If the arterial and venous blood flow is interrupted by some type of trauma surgery to correct this problem may be necessary.

When we talk about traumatic brain injury that was not caused by an actual blow to the head such as those caused by acceleration/deceleration or “whiplash”, not only may surgery not be required but the brain injury may go undiagnosed.  As stated before, people with mild traumatic brain injury may have more occurrence of post traumatic headaches than those with a more severe brain injury.  Early complaints of the pain that they suffer may be head and neck pain.  They are often accompanied by nausea, dizziness and disorientation.  All of these symptoms can trigger an emotional response such as depression or anxiety.

Because headache is such a common complaint after trauma it is far too often not factored into the overall diagnosis.  Headaches after concussion flows from the nature of the biomechanical forces that jostle the brain.  Most who suffer a concussion can have non-brain injury headaches, regardless of whether it is the brain injury itself that is causing the headache.  Those who suffer headaches from acceleration/deceleration forces may go unnoticed.

There are six major causes of post traumatic headache pain;

  1. Displacement of structures in the skull
  2. Inflammation which could be intracranial, extracranial or cervical
  3. Decreased blood flow or metabolic changes
  4. Head or neck increased muscle tone
  5. Inflammation of the thin tissue layers or irritation to them
  6. Increased pressure in the skull

Next Understanding Post Traumatic Headaches


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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