Headaches after Brain Injury
Headaches are very common when you have sustained a brain injury and can be very frustrating for patients because the symptoms can’t be measured objectively. The problem can’t be seen, like a broken arm, and it can be hard for the patient themselves to describe what they’re feeling. This is why it’s important to be seen by doctors experienced in brain injuries who understand and be familiar with the headache symptoms.
Types of headaches and treatments
There are several types of headaches common to head injuries:
- Tension headaches – Patients commonly complain of a dull ache, often brought on, or aggravated by, situations that are causing high emotions or stress
- Migraine headaches – These are less common in brain-injured patients, but the symptoms are similar to regular migraine headaches
- Cluster headaches– These come on quickly and then pass quickly
- Mixed – Symptoms can include one or more of the above
It’s difficult to establish clear and predictable patterns from one patient to the next. Patients with similar brain injuries may have different types of headaches. One study attempted but couldn’t find any similarity for the type of headache depending on age or gender, either.
Treatments for headaches need to be carefully matched to the underlying condition. Many headaches can be relieved by medication. Tension headaches can be aided by learning relaxation techniques like biofeedback to reduce or prevent muscle tension.
More prevalent in minor brain injuries
A study reported by US News found that “People who’ve had a mild traumatic brain injury have more severe headaches and a greater number of headaches than those who’ve had moderate to severe brain injury.”
The study examined patients throughout their first year of recovery. Their findings showed that those with mild injuries were more likely to have new or worsened headaches throughout the year than those with moderate to severe injuries.
It’s important to know this for three reasons:
- Don’t dismiss your symptoms problem because you think your injury “wasn’t that bad.” It doesn’t matter if you didn’t lose consciousness or have some kind of memory loss. Even low-speed car crashes can produce a significant impact. The brain can “ricochet” inside the skull, causing it injury even with no direct contact to the head;
- Be persistent, to get the proper medical evaluation and treatment or pain relief that you need; and,
- When it comes time to settle your case, if someone else is responsible for the injury, you want to make sure that headache symptoms aren’t minimized. Report all of your symptoms to your doctor and record all of your symptoms and treatments.
Headaches can be debilitating and need to be acted on with proper treatment and proper care.
Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer
If you’ve sustained a brain injury because of an accident that was caused by someone else, you may want to contact a brain injury lawyer. While we cannot change what has happened to you, we can help you to obtain compensation for the proper medical care you need now and may need in the future.