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Post-Traumatic Headaches from an Accident

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Post-Traumatic Headaches from an Accident


The most common symptom after a closed head injury is a headache. Case studies have reported headaches lasting more than two months in 60 percent of head trauma patients. One of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is post-traumatic headache (PTHA) which may involve somatic, behavioral, and cognitive problems. A physician should be aware of the various sources of headaches that result from head injuries and accidents. Headaches that do not progress or respond to treatment should be followed to identify their source.

If you developed post-traumatic headaches after a head injury in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. To learn more, schedule a meeting for free, friendly case advice with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

When a recent accident has left you with head trauma and post-traumatic headaches, you should discuss your case in detail with a lawyer that has years of experience in personal injury law. The legal team at AutoAccident.com can help you seek financial compensation for your injuries and damages. Our personal injury attorneys can answer all your questions in a free consultation. We will provide you with the information needed to make a well-informed decision in your situation moving forward.

Patient History and Physical Examination for PTHA

After head trauma in an accident, such as a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), a physician should evaluate a patient and ask about headaches. Post-traumatic headaches generally occur within seven days per the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3). A specific phenotype does not exist for this condition. Therefore, a patient with a TBI may report symptoms that have similar characteristics to those of secondary and primary headaches.

During the encounter, the physician should question the patient about the severity of their headaches and related symptoms. The physical exam should include neurological status, musculoskeletal palpation of the cervical neck and the head, and range of motion of the cervical spine. Case reviews have suggested that the temple was the most common region of pain. Other areas of complaint included the vertex, eyes, back of the head, and neck.

How are Headaches Classified?

The International Headache Society (IHS) provides the diagnostic criteria for headaches. IHS classification has two categories for headaches: primary and secondary. In the case of PTHA, it is classified as secondary, with onset within seven days after regaining the ability to feel and report pain, after recovering consciousness, or following injury or trauma.

Acute post-traumatic headache cases tend to resolve after three months. However, persistent PTHA cases are classified as those that exceed three months. Case reviews have suggested that persistent post-traumatic headache cases account for approximately four percent of all secondary headache disorders.

Treatment for Post-Traumatic Headaches

Treatment of PTHA is individualized and will be based on the predominant characteristics of the disorder. It may include therapy, interventional procedures, musculoskeletal treatment and manipulation, and oral medications. Case reviews have suggested that physical therapy, acupuncture, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), biofeedback, and cognitive-behavioral therapy were effective modalities in a multi-disciplinary approach for post-traumatic headache patients.

Pharmacologic management should be suited to the specific post-traumatic headache phenotype if it is known. The role of intravenous (IV) and oral medication for preventative and acute treatments has been investigated in various case reviews. Preventative treatments included gabapentin, anticonvulsants, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Case studies have suggested that Petasites, CoQ10, vitamin B2, and magnesium have been found to be helpful in the prevention of migraine headaches. Other treatments that have shown some benefit in managing migraine headaches include antiemetics, ergot derivatives, medications that contain butalbital, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen.

The acute treatment of episodic tension-like post-traumatic headaches is generally NSAIDs. Management of headaches associated with craniomandibular dysfunction may include intraoral device implants. Cases have reported benefits for patients with headache refractory to intraoral devices from botulinum toxin injection, specifically into the temporomandibular joint.

What are the Possible Complications of Post-Traumatic Headaches?

A patient returning to normal activity before a traumatic brain injury may find PTHA a psychosocial problem. Studies have suggested that up to 35 percent of patients with post-traumatic headaches are unable to work after three months. Conversely, patients with PTHA face an increased risk of developing a dependence on opioid medication due to the possible chronicity of this painful condition.

Protecting Your Rights After an Accident

The first thing that must be done after suffering injuries, such as a TBI or other type of head trauma, in an accident is to seek medical treatment immediately. That is because post-traumatic headaches may occur from a head injury and progress into debilitating and chronic conditions. Other steps should be taken to protect your rights and best interests after an incident resulting in head trauma. That is because:

  • Crucial evidence necessary to prove the other side’s liability for the crash may become challenging to obtain, given that evidence may be lost or destroyed over time.
  • The California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 allows injured parties just two years from the date of the incident to take legal action by filing a lawsuit in court against a negligent party or entity.
  • The deadline for government entity claims, a case made on behalf of a party injured in an accident involving a public agency as a defendant, is 180 days per California Government Code Section 911.2.

While this may seem like ample time to file a personal injury lawsuit, you may find it challenging to find the time to handle a civil case. This is especially true when trying to get your life back on track after head trauma. At AutoAccident.com, we can handle all aspects of your case to allow you the time to rebuild your life after accident-related injuries, such as a TBI and PTHA.

How Our Legal Team Assists Clients with Post-Traumatic Headaches

Speaking with a personal injury attorney is useful to know what should be done after a recent accident. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling personal injury cases, including those that involve TBI and post-traumatic headaches. Some of the ways that our law firm can help you with your PTHA case include:

  • Charge No Upfront Costs: At AutoAccident.com, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront in attorney’s fees. Costs of legal representation will only be due if we obtain a favorable insurance settlement or jury award on your behalf.
  • Work Closely with You: Our legal team will take the time to answer your questions and provide you regular updates regarding your case. Our law firm puts a priority on excellent service and communication. We will take your concerns seriously about your post-traumatic headache case and will be available anytime to discuss them in detail.
  • Manage All Verbal and Written Communication: We will handle communication with insurance companies and defense counsel on your behalf. If they reach out to you, refer them to your accident attorney for contact regarding your PTHA case.
  • Meet Filing Criteria: A personal injury case for an accident may be challenging and involve many letters, forms, and other documents. Our law office will work to ensure that all required paperwork is filed appropriately and on time.
  • Handle Negotiations: Trying to negotiate with an insurance carrier on your own may do more harm than good in the long run. When you select our personal injury law firm to handle your case, you can rest assured that we will have your goals and needs in mind when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.
  • Advocate for You in Civil Court: In some rare cases, a mutual settlement agreement may not be reached with insurance carriers and defense counsel. If we have exhausted all attempts for a reasonable settlement agreement, we will build a strong case to present in trial for a jury or judge to determine an appropriate award.

Since 1982, our law firm has assisted many clients to recover maximum compensation in their cases, including TBI and post-traumatic headaches. We would be honored to assist you with your case and help you seek financial recovery for your losses. Learn more about our post-traumatic headache attorneys and how we can help you with your PTHA case by watching the video below.

Discuss Your Post-Traumatic Headache Case with an Attorney

When an accident has left you with head trauma and post-traumatic headaches, you and your family should consider discussing your case in detail with an experienced attorney. Contact a head injury attorney from our law office today to learn more about your rights and options for recovery at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. We have obtained maximum compensation in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients since 1982.

Photograph Source: “Andrea Piacquadio” via Pexels

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