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Headaches After Head Injuries

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Jan 2018 | 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.

Concussions

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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[Add a Comment]
@Coop - I'm not surprised. It may take a few days. Go to the docs if you feel it's unbearable.
Ugg - 15-Jan-18 @ 11:43 AM
Played footy this morning and took football into the face and can not shift this heaface i taken asprin but not calimef it down what so ever
Coop - 14-Jan-18 @ 5:03 PM
I had a band to my head three weeks ago and have had a headache night and day since on the right side of me head, I was hit on the left side, I had a CT scan done and the Dr said it showed no bleed but that my brain prob hit the right side dye to the force I was hit at, I am having pain on moving my head as well as the constant pain, this is quite severe, is this a sign that there is something else going on
Mo - 5-Jan-18 @ 9:51 PM
@Tbear & @Stevo - both of you should get yourselves seen to if you are in any way concerned. More so Tbear if you feel sick too. Stevo - your head is going to hurt for a while if you've had stitches.
mumof3 - 5-Jan-18 @ 3:12 PM
I banged my head three weeks ago resulting in having 8 stitches and my head still hurts is this normal
Stevo - 2-Jan-18 @ 5:24 PM
About a month ago, while I was at workI fell from a 10 foot ladder. I was taken to the hospital and had a the tests and xrays but a little over a week ago I startedhaving these headaches that will wake me up at night, I sometimes feeldizzy and sick to my stomach. Should I be worried.
Tbear - 1-Jan-18 @ 7:10 PM
I got punched in the face a few days ago, and now ive been getting headaches. What does this mean?
Lisa - 27-Dec-17 @ 9:48 PM
Hit my face into car door almost took my eye out now I have pain all around my eyes
Hurting - 19-Dec-17 @ 5:22 PM
@Gilly - if you have any doubts that you're not OK, make an appointment to see your doctor. It's always best to be on the safe side.
AngieG - 19-Dec-17 @ 12:57 PM
Hi I had a fall on Saturday 16th December 2017 and hit my head and was knocked out I have two black eyes and my nose is broke I did go the hospital and got checked but now I’m having headaches and I feel sick and feel like I’m in a daze is this normal thanks gill
Gilly - 19-Dec-17 @ 10:55 AM
Hi. So I had something fall on my head about 4 months ago. I was left with a nasty cut and bits of spiky hair where the unpack had cut my hair off. I didn't quite pass out. I went to the hospital, they cleaned me up and glued my cut back together. I had 3 weeks off work with post concussion syndrome. Since then though I have a constant head ache. And my head is so tender all over. My boyfriend went to give me a cuddle and his shoulder tapped my head and the pain was ridiculous I was nearly crying. Is this normal?. I should add I did go back to the hospital about a week after it had happened as I was feeling so bad. They said that was normal and send me on my way.
Klare - 7-Dec-17 @ 7:28 AM
@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
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Latest Comments
  • Ugg
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Coop - I'm not surprised. It may take a few days. Go to the docs if you feel it's unbearable.
    15 January 2018
  • Coop
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Played footy this morning and took football into the face and can not shift this heaface i taken asprin but not calimef it down…
    14 January 2018
  • Yoli
    Re: Headaches During The Night
    Every time my husband drinks water at night he wakes up with the headache is that normal?
    13 January 2018
  • mumof3
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Tbear & @Stevo - both of you should get yourselves seen to if you are in any way concerned. More so Tbear if you feel sick too.…
    5 January 2018
  • Stevo
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I banged my head three weeks ago resulting in having 8 stitches and my head still hurts is this normal
    2 January 2018
  • Tbear
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    About a month ago, while I was at work I fell from a 10 foot ladder. I was taken to the hospital and had a the tests and xrays…
    1 January 2018
  • Lisa
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I got punched in the face a few days ago, and now ive been getting headaches. What does this mean?
    27 December 2017
  • Moe
    Re: Scalp Pain: What Causes It?
    Hair does not grow properly short in some spots long in other pain in the middle of scalp scratching can't take it no more
    24 December 2017
  • Joeboy
    Re: Flicker Illness
    This is very interesting I do know of someone whom has all the symptoms mentioned it will be some comfort for her to know she is not alone and her…
    24 December 2017
  • Hurting
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    Hit my face into car door almost took my eye out now I have pain all around my eyes
    19 December 2017
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