Tampa Bay Post-Traumatic Headache

What is a post-traumatic headache?

Post-traumatic headache[1] (PTH) is defined by the International Headache Society as a headache developing within seven days of the injury or after regaining consciousness. A headache is the most common symptom following TBI. Studies to date have documented that anywhere from 30-90% of individuals who sustain a TBI develop post-traumatic headache.  Interestingly, several researchers have reported that post-traumatic headache is more common after mild TBI than after severe TBI.  The vast majority of people with post-traumatic headache improve within days or weeks; however, for some individuals, headaches may persist beyond this time frame up to months or years.

Post-traumatic headache (PTHA) is the most common complaint after sustaining a brain injury. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people who have had a mild TBI or concussion complain of PTHA. It can also be a sign or symptom of an undiagnosed brain injury[2].  According to the American Council for Headache Education, it is estimated that there are over 450,000 new cases of chronic post-traumatic headache[3] in the United States each year.

Post-traumatic headache[4] is a catch-all phrase. Without a more specific diagnosis, “PTHA” simply states the obvious but does not explain the cause of the headache or how to treat it. Often PTHA is not related to the brain injury itself but rather to the other injuries sustained at the same time including trauma to the head, jaw, and/or neck. This is important because if the headache pain is a result of a neck fracture, for example, it would need to be treated differently from headache pain resulting from the brain itself.

Types of Tampa Bay PTHA

Different types of headache have been described but the most common headache resembles migraine (moderate to severe in intensity, pulsating, associated nausea/vomiting or light/sound sensitivity, worsened with routine activity), and tension-type headache (mild to moderate in intensity, non-pulsating headache with either light or sound sensitivity but no nausea or vomiting). There are several different types of PTHA:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine or neurovascular headaches
  • Musculoskeletal headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Neuritic and neuralgic pain

Symptoms of Florida PTHA

  • Head pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches made worse by exertion, coughing, bending over or head movement
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Double vision or tired eyes, sensitivity to light
  • Memory problems or trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to noise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in the sense of smell or taste
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia or fatigue
  • Mood and personality changes

Treatment for Florida Post Traumatic Headaches

Head-injured patients can experience difficulty performing daily activities, may miss school or work and have a lower quality of life.  While medication may be the most effective treatment for PTHA, the treatment will depend on the type of a headache.

Non-drug treatments include physical therapy, biofeedback/relaxation therapy, nerve stimulators, and cognitive behavior therapy. Since psychological problems may trigger a headache or persistent headaches may exacerbate emotional problems, providing psychological support is often times a crucial part of the overall treatment.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat PTHA

In addition to medical or pharmacy treatments for post-traumatic headache, many physicians recommend lifestyle changes including:

  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising daily
  • Stop smoking and abstaining from alcohol
  • Avoiding foods which can trigger headaches such as caffeine, red wine, MSG and some cheeses.
  • Obtaining adequate sleep

Risk Factors for Tampa Bay Post Traumatic Headaches

Risk factors for developing post-concussion syndrome include:

  • Studies have found increasing age to be a risk factor for post- concussion syndrome.
  • Women are more likely to be diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, but this may be because women are generally more likely to seek medical care.
  • Concussions resulting from car collisions, falls, assaults and sports injuries are commonly associated with post-concussion syndrome.

Contact a Tampa Bay Brain Injury Attorney

The effects of a brain injury can be dramatic and life-long causing temporary or even permanent injuries.  If you have suffered a brain injury, it is important to speak to an experienced Tampa Bay brain injury attorney. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled brain injury lawyers have helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses including lost wages, medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900



[1] http://www.americanmigrainefoundation.org/post-traumatic-headache/
[2] http://www.brainline.org/content/2008/07/signs-and-symptoms.html
[3] http://neurohealth.info/centers/headache-center/post-traumatic
[4] http://www.brainline.org/landing_pages/categories/headaches.html

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