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Headaches After Head Injuries

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 2 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
Headaches Head Brain Skull Injury

If you have ever bumped your head and been left with a lingering headache and perhaps some light bruising and a bump then you know how just how sensitive the head is to injury. Some head injuries, however, can be severe and recovery may be much more complicated. In fact, head injuries may not always leave a person with obvious structural abnormalities but the effects can still be crippling.

After Head Injuries

Headaches may sometimes persist for many months or years. Even a direct blow to the head and skull does not necessarily result in a headache immediately afterwards, which can mean a postponed to the doctor and further complications from delayed treatment.

Headaches following a head injury may be mild, moderate or severe and the extent of the injury itself is not always indicative of the severity of headaches. Mild headaches following a head injury are those that usually don't prevent a person from functioning daily. These types of headaches tend to respond to over-the-counter pain medications as well as general relaxation techniques. Although you may need to take medication regularly to prevent their return, they usually absolve after a few weeks to several months. Moderate headaches may show some improvement with treatment similar to that used for mild headaches, but they still remain albeit to a less painful degree. You may experience some relief from medication but not enough to completely eliminate the headaches.

With severe headaches, you are probably unable to function at work, school or in any normal capacity. Common headache medications don't alleviate the pain and no amount of immediate therapeutic attention provides any substantial relief. Severe headaches are truly disabling as they prevent a person from participating in social activities and functioning in normal daily life.


A mild brain injury is usually classed as a concussion. When a concussion occurs, there is a disruption in normal brain functioning that may occur in conjunction with cognitive confusion and fainting. Some of the imaging tests commonly used following head injury doesn’t always show any major abnormalities although undetected nerve problems from the injury may still cause chronic headaches and pain. Any headaches that collectively exist for an extended length of time are typically referred to as post-concussion headaches.

Headaches and Bleeding

If you have suffered from a brain injury and find that your headaches are becoming more severe, it is important that you see your doctor and explain all of your symptoms. You may have bleeding in the brain that can be slow in exhibiting obvious symptoms. Sometimes a headache is the only indication of serious bleeding and you should obtain prompt medical treatment.

Treating Headaches After Brain Injury

One of the unfortunate realities for people who suffer from headaches following a head injury is that they will probably experience other symptoms related to the injury, which then complicates treatment. Dizziness, sensory problems, depression, paranoia and sleep disorders are common complaints from those who have suffered a head injury. Treatment tends to focus on the symptoms rather than a root cause because there is usually no 'cure' for brain injuries. Anti-depressants are often effective for treating pain and any accompanying depression or anxiety.

Your Lifestyle

Eliminating stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes is advised and avoiding substances such as alcohol can be helpful in preventing headaches after a head injury. Although many people suffer from sleep disorders following a head injury, try to get as much rest as possible. Exercise may be beneficial, even if it's just a simple brisk walk outside for ten minutes. Keep a strong support network if you can and be sure to alert your boss or any colleagues at work regarding your head injury and any headaches you are experiencing.

If you are open and maintain communication, your work can hopefully be accommodating to any special needs you may have. Most people who suffer from headaches after a brain injury will experience relief within several months to a year and for those who suffer from persistent headaches, treatments can make head pain more manageable.

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@Ans01 - if you're having problems breathing and you passed out as a result, then you need to see a doctor anyway.
Katie\g - 3-Nov-17 @ 12:26 PM
Earlier today I was having trouble breathing I went to get me something to drink in the kitchen and then I got really dizzy and felt like I was gonna passoutand then i couldn’t see anything and I blackedout and I hit the kitchen floor and my head hit the floor pretty hard and now I’m having a lot of pain in the back of my head and having bad headaches Should I see a dr or am I fine?
Ans01 - 2-Nov-17 @ 8:27 PM
I fell on my head a month ago and had small bleeding, went to the doctor and there was no brain injury or skull damage. There was no headache back than, but now, I start to get light pain on the spot where I fell. I would be thankful for comments
bo - 31-Oct-17 @ 1:09 AM
I hit my head 3 days ago on a piano I was fine for the day but then got really moody as I am I paranoid person I did not sleep for the two days but I feel fine I just feel really moody and but there’s like pain around my head is this back?
Hol - 22-Oct-17 @ 3:57 PM
I hit my head falling down a flight of stairs about four days ago, I believe I knocked myself out in the fall as I do not remember it but was told about it. The next day I was very nauseated and had a mild head ache. However the day after that I had a more severe head ache and an odd tingling sensation on the right hand side of my scalp when I touched it. The headache and the tingling sensation have not gone yet, do I need urgent medical help or am i ok?
Emew - 10-Oct-17 @ 10:42 AM
@Hyper - it's not about whether you look crazy or not, you have to think of your health. Go to the doctor, you might be concussed!
Edie - 6-Oct-17 @ 12:52 PM
I was playing ball with my dog and as I bent down his head came up. I was hit square in the tip of my nose. I was bleeding and all I saw for a second was black. I sat for a few minutes as blood poured out of my nose. I have very very slight bruisingand swelling. Like barely. My dog has a big head. I do not notice any problems with my nose but I have had this terrible awful headache in my face and my head. My eyes hurt and I am almost crazy with the pain. I dont want to go to the Doctor and look crazy. Any suggestions?
Hyper - 3-Oct-17 @ 1:00 AM
@FF Vertigo usually results from a sudden or temporary change in the activity of the balance sensors in the inner ear or in the balance sensors’ connections to the brain, both of which detect movement and changes in your head position. Vertigo can occur after a fall. If your symptoms haven't cleared up is known as post-concussion syndrome. Symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, problems with memory or concentration, unsteadiness, depression, anxiety and changes in behaviour. The fact you have had scans and nothing has been found is positive.But you still need to visit your doc frequently if the symptoms persist and your doc will refer you back to a specialist. Hope it clears up for you soon.
Zander - 1-Aug-17 @ 12:22 PM
I fell to the ground and hit my head 4 months ago. After that I had a severe headache and dizziness. Now I'm still experiencing dizziness when I try to sleep over the left side of my head. I also wake up very dizzy. I went to the doc and made some scans, but nothing was wrong. Is it normal to still experience this headaches and dizziness? I'm very worried to be honest.
FF - 31-Jul-17 @ 3:36 PM
@Stells - I would - it doesn't harm and it's always best to be on the safe side. Jean.
JTV56 - 20-Jul-17 @ 10:54 AM
I fell backwards 2 weeks ago and hit my head on the pavement, initially it dud hurt and I had a headache the next day.I was on holiday at the time so didn't think too much of it. Since then I've had trouble with my sleeping and I wake up with pains in the back of my head, I do feel irritable but have put that down to lack of sleep. As I'm still here I don't believe it's anything serious but the pain I have in the mornings when I wake up are very unpleasant. I've not taken anything nor seen a doctor. But thinking maybe I should?
Stells - 19-Jul-17 @ 6:17 AM
My wok that was hanging on my wall came of and smacked me right in the middle of my head it didn't knock me out but felt very dizzy and sick, 2 days later and my head is so sore to touch and really bad headache,Do you think I need to seek medical attention?
Aj - 12-Apr-17 @ 1:43 PM
I had hit ny head on a table and got a headache and it was getting worse so i went home, in the car i had passes out and my mom drove me to the hospital my words began to become slurred but the doctor just gave me a prescription and sent me home later i began having severe headaches so my mom scheduled an appointment at a clinic were they said i had a concussion so i scheduled an appointment for a concussion doctor where they took an impact test and said i in fact do have a concussion..he had warned my mom that if it got worse i had to go to a neurologist..2 days later i passes out and hit my head again and i had the worst headache then the next day i passed out again and hit my head again when i woke up o couldnt hear anything and my headaches got worse then my checkup came around 3 days later and i told them what had happened and they referred me to a neurologist where they found out that i had icp (inter cranial pressure) and they had to drill a hole in my skull and insert some tube thing to monitor icp..never take a head injury lightly
Alexandra - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:21 AM
close to a year ago, i got my head hit with a frozen water bottle, and the pain went away but became noticeable again one to two days ago. is it serious?
joe - 2-Jan-17 @ 3:26 PM
A week ago, i banged my head on a steam pipe on my top left crown. I still get headaches, but now they're on the right side near the temple and top, has a dull pressure feel. It also radiates to my neck...The thing is that I'm leaving the country tomorrow and i cant see a doctor at all. Also tylenol helps a little bit for a few hours, but i wake up with nausea, then it goes away. I don't know if that's related to stress or the injury itself since i suffer from anxiety a lot
Ford - 30-Dec-16 @ 3:05 PM
@Soul Ja - I do HOPE you have taken yourself to your doctors or A&E.
EllieOOO - 13-Oct-16 @ 2:26 PM
I was running accross my bed 3 days ago and completely "brain farted" that my ceiling fan was on. I ended up breaking a fan blade off with my forehead. I don't remember leaving my room but it bled pretty good for a few minutes. Eye brow to eye brow to hair line is swollen and my headaches are getting worse (absolutely intense) especially when I bend over or walk around, not to mention slight to moderate dizziness. Love being a happening waiting to accident!!!
Soul Ja - 13-Oct-16 @ 1:06 AM
Tripped over my grandsons makeshift bed whilst on holiday and banged my head against bedside cabinet. Trip to hospital and some tests later I was sent home with no scan, although I have no memory of the accident taking place. My head still hurts and I am taking prescribed Codeine tablets for pain relief. Should I have been scanned?
Sweetpie - 29-Sep-16 @ 3:05 PM
Hit the side of my head in a swimming pool.Have a lump on the side and a migraine.
Jane - 29-Jul-16 @ 1:08 PM
semkolom - Your Question:
I have bumped my head hard quiet a lot since am anemic and usually pass out or blackout. But recently I have started feeling some pains over my right eyebrow and my head as a whole and it gets worst anytime I bend over to pick something up, I hope you guys can try and help me find a home medication since I can’t afford to go the hospital to get professional help.

Our Response:
We are not a medical service, therefore cannot advise and/or give professional medical help. You would need to seek professional help from a doctor. I hope you manage to sort it out.
HeadacheExpert - 28-Jul-16 @ 11:06 AM
i have bumped my head hard quiet a lot since am anemic and usually pass out or blackout. But recently I have started feeling some pains over my right eyebrow and my head as a whole and it gets worst anytime I bend over to pick something up, I hope you guys can try and help me find a home medication since I can’t afford to go the hospital to get professional help.
semkolom - 27-Jul-16 @ 11:36 AM
I was at work and drop something on my head / bridge of my nose had a headache and neck pains since. Is this serious ?
Sam45 - 25-Jun-16 @ 6:03 PM
My had injury; resulted in 6 stitches along my hair line and bruising across my eyes and down my cheek and jaw, lasting weeks.I blacked out and vomitted. No CT scan or x-Ray was taken by hospital. 2 months since I am suffering cold sensations like water dripping down my head, headaches, throbbing, numbness on my scalp and areas that way from the wound site, but are very tender. The wound has been infected, but I can't understand the sensations of pain 5 cm along from the wound towards the crown of my head.Could it be an internal injury not picked up as no scans taken?
Seza Thacker - 21-Jun-16 @ 12:28 AM
I was punched to the right side of my head The pain has been there for a week. Just on the right side of my head, my right eye and I get an ear ache sometime. It's getting worse day by day. Want should I do?
Maz - 10-Jun-16 @ 8:54 PM
I was punched to the head twice on the right side just above the ear. The has been there for a week. I don't feel anywhere else just on the right side of my head an my eye. What should I do?
Maz - 10-Jun-16 @ 8:48 PM
Golfmom - Your Question:
I fell and hit my head on a nightstand two weeks ago had a headache when it happened but not since yet I still have a bump that is tender, why do you think this is?Thanks,Kathy

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot answer such specific queries - you would have to visit your GP who will be able to check you out properly.
HeadacheExpert - 6-Jun-16 @ 10:01 AM
I fell and hit my head on a nightstand two weeks ago had a headache when it happened but not since yet I still have a bump that is tender, why do you think this is? Thanks,Kathy
Golfmom - 5-Jun-16 @ 12:33 AM
I was getting groceries out my car trunk and the trunk fell on my head and I have a big knot and have had a bad headache since.. What should I do?? I took Excedrin and aleve but nothing is working!
robin83 - 20-Apr-16 @ 11:29 PM
Ladyt - Your Question:
I was bumped by a car 5 days ago I fell and hit my head. I have a scratch and bruise. I had a hair clasp on it shattered causing the scratch. There was very little bleeding. Minor headach that evening but today I got up and felt dizzy. Is this normal

Our Response:
I should visit your GP if you have any symptoms as a result of the bump, just to be on the safe side.
HeadacheExpert - 18-Apr-16 @ 1:56 PM
I was bumped by a car 5 days agoI fell and hit my head. I have a scratch and bruise. I had a hair clasp on it shattered causing the scratch. There was very little bleeding.Minor headach that evening but today I got up and felt dizzy. Is this normal
Ladyt - 17-Apr-16 @ 9:24 PM
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