Common complaints that result from a car accident include headaches. Some people who have suffered from headaches since before an accident may notice that their headaches are more severe or persistent. Some people will experience a headache within a few hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. There are many reasons why headaches after a car accident can occur. A visit to a doctor can help you determine the cause of your headache and provide relief.
Headaches after Car Accidents
A car accident can cause headaches that last a lifetime. There are many reasons that a headache can occur, some of which may not be immediately obvious. The most common causes are a blow to the head or whiplash. The impact and force that was used during an accident can have a significant impact on how severe the headache is.
Headaches after a Car Wreck
There are many types of injuries that can lead to headaches after a car accident. However, some injuries are more common and are more likely to cause pain.
Post-Traumatic headache: This type of headache is often caused by trauma to the neck and head during an accident or other traumatic event. Post-traumatic headaches can be carcinogenic (originating in the neck), postconcussive (originating from the brain as a result of concussion), or muscle contraction/spasm. This type of headache is not common for several days or even weeks after an accident.
Post-Concussive Headache (i.e. Concussion Headache (i.e. Migraine Headaches). A concussion refers to an injury to the brain. It is often caused by a blow or a sudden, violent jolt. Concussion-related migraine headaches are caused by a chemical phenomenon in the brain. They are often associated with nausea, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity as well as sensitivity to certain smells or movements. Concussions can also cause confusion, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.
Muscle-Contraction/Spasm Headaches: One of the most common causes of headaches after a car wreck, is caused when the muscles of the neck, head, or upper back are injured. A sudden jolt to the neck or head, especially during an accident, can cause damage or injury to the soft tissue. This can lead to either straining or spasming of the muscles. Muscle strain, along with headaches, can cause reduced range of motion, tenderness, redness, swelling, and/or redness.
Whiplash Headache –Whiplash refers to a common injury from motor vehicle accidents. It is caused by an abrupt force on the neck and head. This jerking action can cause soft tissue strain as the head is frequently pushed forward or backward. Whiplash headaches are usually located near the base of the skull and can cause neck pain, stiffness, fatigue, or dizziness.
Headache from a fractured skull or neck bone: Intense fracture headaches can occur when the skull or neck bone is fractured. These headaches can cause pain in the neck and back, as well as localized pain near the injury site. Brain injury, which can lead to persistent headaches and brain damage due to a fractured bone, may also be a problem. The type and extent of bone fractures will determine the severity of the symptoms. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, confusion, slurred or stiff speech, and headaches due to fractures.
Occipital Neuralgia Headache: An accident can cause a compression of the spine (or disc herniation) or irritation to the greater occipital (nerve at the base of the skull) nerve roots. These nerves can cause pain, tenderness, and burning sensations, as well as numbness at the base of the skull, the neck, and the back. It can be touchable and tender.
Why it’s important to see a doctor soon after an accident
Headaches can appear as soon as a few days or even weeks after an auto accident. Sometimes headaches can be a sign of an injury sustained in an accident. Having an experienced auto injury doctor can help relieve headache pain and reduce the chance of it becoming chronic.
This article was written by a medical professional at Florida Medical Pain Management. Florida Medical Pain Management is proud to offer comprehensive pain management services to a diverse group of patients. Patients at Florida Medical Pain Management can get help managing hip, knee, leg, and neck pain. The practice also offers comprehensive arthritis management, along with treatments for auto accidents, sports, and work injuries. Click Here to learn more!