Chronic Post-Traumatic Headaches

Long-term headaches resulting from a head injury are known as post-traumatic headaches or chronic post-traumatic headaches. Any symptoms connected with these headaches must last for at least three months to be considered chronic.

Post-traumatic headaches are connected with injury to the brain and often happen as a result of concussion or laceration. They can also trigger post-traumatic stress disorder effects depending on the nature of the injury.

Diagnosing Post-Traumatic Headaches

When most patients go for a post-traumatic headache diagnosis, neurological examinations and imaging studies usually show no abnormal results. The diagnosis is generally based on the symptoms in concert with the brain injury.

The clinical features of post-traumatic headaches can present in many ways. Some of the more common post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are daily chronic tension headaches with a steady ache on both sides of the head or migraine-like headaches with nausea, sensitivity to light and/or sound, and a throbbing pain on one side of the head.  If chronic migraines persist, Botox injections can be effective.

Other Post-Stress Symptoms

It is very rare for headache to be the only post-traumatic stress symptom. Besides post-traumatic headaches, other post-traumatic stress symptoms and signs can be as varied as the patients. You may experience changes in brain function such as difficulties in concentrating, memory problems, the inability to work efficiently or effectively, or basic changes in mental functioning.

Some patients experience psychological symptoms such as anxiety, personality changes, depression, sleep disturbances like insomnia or short sleep, or problems with libido.

Neurological symptoms are also common. You may experience ringing in the ears, dizziness or blurry vision.

Treating Post-Traumatic Headaches and Other Symptoms

Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder frequently miss school or work, have a hard time performing basic daily activities and generally have a lower quality of life. Post-traumatic stress treatment is mainly concentrated on alleviating the various symptoms each patient experiences, and so the course of treatment will be different for each patient.

Post-traumatic stress medication will mainly focus on headache relief. Anti-inflammatory medication or triptans, which are mainly used for migraines, are used in the first few weeks of treatment. If moderate to severe post-traumatic headaches persist after the third week, your doctor may prescribe preventive medication, especially to help prevent overuse of pain medication. The most commonly prescribed preventive medications are anti-seizure medication, blood pressure pills and antidepressants. You may also benefit from medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which helps with concentration problems, or antidepressants for treating depression and anxiety.

Post-traumatic stress treatment plans don’t always include pharmacological solutions. Massage therapy has been shown to be successful in combating stress and promoting relaxation, as has biofeedback.

Lifestyle changes can be just as important as medical intervention, especially when it comes to long-term results. Most patients find good results with physical and recreational therapy. They help with deconditioning, promote the use of healthy habits, and are the keystone in drug and alcohol abuse avoidance.

For more serious, chronic cases, psychological help may be a necessary part of the treatment plan. Counseling to learn pain-coping techniques and to deal with behavioral changes and even to find and provide assistance for those patients who do not have support systems in their home environment.

Post-traumatic headaches can exist in a vicious circle. Psychological problems can trigger headaches, while chronic headaches can be the cause of even more psychological problems. This is why counseling and other psychological help is crucial in dealing with this condition.

Post-traumatic Headaches