What Should I Do if I Have a Headache After an Accident?

Thump! Thump! Thump! You can feel your head throbbing to the beat of your heart. The pain starts as a small discomfort and transforms into a sharp pain. Headaches are not fun and, in some cases, can debilitate you to the point that it interferes with daily activities.

Headaches can be caused by a variety of things and are classified as primary or secondary. Primary headaches occur when the pain-sensitive structures in your head experience overactivity or some problem. These include:

  • Migraines
  • Tension headaches

Secondary headaches are the symptoms caused by another condition like:

Have You Been In An Accident?

Another common type of secondary headaches that can occur after a traumatic event, like motor vehicle accidents, are post-traumatic headaches. Depending on where the pain originates will determine if its a:

  • Post-Concussive Headache. Pain due to injury to the brain.
  • Cervicogenic headache. Pain originates from inflammation or damage in the neck.
  • Occipital Neuralgia Headache. Pain results from compression to the spine or herniated disc that pinches the upper cervical nerve roots or the nerve at the skull base.

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the body suffers from shock, so there is no immediate pain. In some cases, the headaches can begin right after or start hours or days later.

Symptoms of a Post-Traumatic Headache

Your brain can sustain a direct injury during the accident if your head receives a violent blow or shaking. The pain experienced with post-traumatic headaches can be in a general area or localized. They are very similar to tension headaches and occur daily. 

An indirect head injury can include whiplash when your head and neck whip back and forth in an accident. Whiplash is very common in motor vehicle accidents, especially in rear-end collisions, resulting in inflammation to head and neck areas, causing pain and headaches.

If you feel that you haven’t suffered a serious injury, it’s vital to look out for:

  • Feeling pressure or tightness across your forehead.
  • Pressure on the sides or back of your head.
  • Tenderness in the muscles of the shoulders or neck.
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

What Should I Do?

How severe an accident was, does not determine how severe the injuries will be. Some of the factors that will affect the severity of your traumatic brain injury include:

  • The position of your head when the accident occurred
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Having had prior brain injuries or concussions

To determine the severity, get seen immediately by the paramedics on the scene or go to the hospital. Medical professionals, including a chiropractor, can assess the actual cause of your headache.

Is it Just a Headache?

Unfortunately, headaches aren’t the only after-effects of being involved in an accident. At Spine Health and Wellness, you can count on an expert team made up of a doctor, nurse practitioner, chiropractor, and physical therapist. 

Together we can cover all the bases searching for the right treatment to get you feeling good as new. Contact us today and request an appointment.

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