Post-traumatic headache is caused by trauma to the head and neck. The headache may be caused by:
Blood or fluid buildup inside the skull
Changes in the brain caused by the injury
Neck and skull injuries that are still healing
Tension and stress
Anyone who has had a head injury is at greater risk for this type of headache.
Problems may start right after the injury or as it is healing. A person may have:
Head and neck pain
Mood and personality changes
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked about any recent trauma to the head, neck, or face. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal of treatment is to manage headaches until the person has healed. Complete rest is rarely needed.
Medicines may be given to help manage headache pain. These may be:
Over the counter medicines, such as ibuprofen
There are no known guidelines to lower the risk of this problem.
Headaches after head injuries—post-traumatic headaches. Brainline website. Available at: https://www.brainline.org/article/headaches-after-head-injuries-%E2%80%94-post-traumatic-headaches. Accessed September 11, 2020.
Headaches after traumatic brain injury. Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center website. Available at: http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Headaches-After-Traumatic-Brain-Injury. Accessed September 11, 2020.
Post-traumatic headache. National Headache Foundation website. Available at: http://www.headaches.org/2007/10/25/post-traumatic-headache. Accessed September 11, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Shawna Grubb, RN
Last Updated: 3/24/2021
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