Post Traumatic Headaches – About the Pain

Post Traumatic Headache

By Gordon Johnson

Call me at 800-992-9447

Post traumatic headaches are the most common complaint after someone has suffered a concussion or severe brain injury.   Over 70% of brain injury victims will complain of some kind of head pain known commonly as post traumatic headache.  Post traumatic headaches are not consistent with the severity of the injury.  In other words, even someone who has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury may have as much trouble or more with headache pain as someone with a severe brain injury.

Unfortunately not all of the medical community has caught on to the severity of post traumatic headaches.  Post traumatic headache is the most common complaint of post-concussion syndrome. In 1988 the International Headache Society (IHS) Classification System was written but never really took hold as the physicians and clinicians tend to use the old classification system because of their familiarity and understanding of it.  The HIS systems criteria states that a loss of consciousness, amnesia lasting longer that 10 minutes and two abnormalities of the following situations have to occur for post traumatic headache to become a diagnosis;

  1. Neurological Exam
  2. Skull films
  3. Central Nervous System Imaging
  4. Evoked potentials
  5. Cerebrospinal fluid
  6. Vestibular function tests
  7. Neuropsycological tests

These are all important when ensuring the standard degree of trauma but leaves out the overwhelming number of post traumatic headaches that are caused by brain injury without a blow to the head.

Many patients that suffer headaches after trauma to the head attribute the headaches to the force of the blow to the head.  In many cases there wasn’t an actual blow to the head but rather the acceleration/deceleration factor comes into effect.  It is sometimes termed “whiplash”.  These types of injuries cause the brain and the skull to collide.  The bruising that is caused by this type of trauma may be difficult to detect without proper testing such as a Cat Scan or MRI.

Next Causes of Post Traumatic Headache


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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