Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches commonly occur after a brain injury or trauma. Half of the people who sustain a traumatic brain injury experience post-traumatic headaches.

The physicians and providers at the Clinical Neuroscience Institute’s Headache Center are specially trained in the treatment of post-traumatic headaches. Our highly-qualified team is focused on the thorough, effective care of this condition, helping our patients live a more comfortable, healthier life.

What are Post-Traumatic Headaches?

Post-traumatic headaches are those that occur after a mild or traumatic brain injury, and persist for a long period of time. The symptoms usually occur within seven days of the injury and mimic those of a migraine or tension-type headache. The cause of post-traumatic headache is unknown, but treatments are available.

Symptoms of post-traumatic headache include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurring of vision
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired libido
  • Personality change
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sleep disturbances

Diagnosing Post-Traumatic Headaches

Your doctor may ask you to describe your symptoms, what precedes them, and how often you experience pain. Your physician may conduct an examination and, in some cases, require certain imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans to make a positive diagnosis.  

Treatment for Post-Traumatic Headaches

Post-traumatic headaches can disrupt your day-to-day routine and impact your quality of life. Our experienced specialists and trained providers are well-versed in the treatment of post-traumatic headaches. Your treatment options will be presented to you based on your individual needs. While some non-narcotic medications are among the options, other therapies and preventative measures have shown to be helpful. These options include:

  • Avoid certain foods that may trigger a headache, like red wine, MSG, or certain cheeses
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Exercising daily
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Heat or ice packs
  • Local injections
  • Relaxation therapy/meditation
  • Stretching and self-massage
  • Therapeutic massage