Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Head Injury Headache Years Later

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What Causes A Head Injury

Posttraumatic headache may persist even 5 years after traumatic brain injury

There are several causes of head injuries. You may get injured playing a sport or activity. Certain jobs, such as construction, contain risk of a head injury. Children or elderly people may fall around the house and get hurt. Severe head injuries are most likely to occur in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle wreck.

Tips And Tricks For Immediate Concussion Headache Symptom Relief

There are some simple steps you can take to help alleviate or reduce the pain of headaches after a mild TBI and improve your quality of life while you wait for treatment of post-concussion syndrome.

One of the first things we recommend is to avoid stimulants or depressants, such as alcohol and caffeine. Although these may provide temporary relief, they can also exacerbate the underlying cause of your headaches. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , drinking alcohol might lengthen your recovery time, especially during acute injury.

For autonomic nervous system headaches, reducing stress is a very important part of any post-post-traumatic headache treatment plan. For example, you can practice mindfulness and mindful breathing daily, breathing in and out with a focus on your breath. Breathing in this manner helps to decrease the sympathetic nervous system and improve blood flow, along with many other benefits. Other stress reducers, such as using essential oils, can help alleviate headache pain and reduce frequency.

For persistent sinus pain and pressure, using a hot pad on the sinuses can help to open up the blood vessels and reduce the pressure. Adding in peppermint oil may also help to open up congestion and help with relaxation.

With spine-related cervicogenic headaches, simply stretching the neck can help to alleviate some of the muscle tension and pain.

Why Do Headaches Happen After Brain Injury

Right after a severe TBI, people may have headaches because of the surgery on their skulls or because they have small collections of blood or fluid inside the skull.

Headaches can also occur after mild to moderate injury or, in the case of severe TBI, after the initial healing has taken place. These headaches can be caused by a variety of conditions, including a change in the brain caused by the injury, neck and skull injuries that have not yet fully healed, tension and stress, or side effects from medication.

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Ptsd Symptoms And Behaviors

Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include reliving a traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, or constantly thinking about it. You might avoid situations or people that remind you of the event, have only negative thoughts or emotions, and constantly feel jittery, nervous, or on edge. Although some of these symptoms sound similar to PTS, the difference is the duration and intensity. Symptoms that continue for more than one month, are severe, and interfere with your daily functioning are characteristic of PTSD.

Behaviors that indicate professional intervention is needed may include drinking or smoking more than usual as attempts to reduce anxiety or anger, and aggressive driving. Service members who have experienced combat can be especially nervous driving under overpasses and past litter on the roadside behavior learned in Iraq and Afghanistan where insurgents hide improvised explosive devices in garbage and use overpasses to shoot at vehicles. Other behaviors that indicate that help may be needed can include being wary of crowds, showing reluctance to go to movie theaters, crowded stores, or nightclubs, and avoiding news that addresses overseas combat or getting angry at the reports.

What Are The Different Types Of Head Injury

7 Symptoms of Concussions and How to Address Them

The following are some of the different types of head injuries:

  • Intracranial hematoma . There are several types of ICH, or blood clots, in or around the brain. The different types are classified by their location in the brain. These can range from mild head injuries to quite serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The different types of ICH include the following:

  • Epidural hematoma. Epidural hematomas occur when a blood clot forms underneath the skull, but on top of the dura, the tough covering that surrounds the brain. They usually come from a tear in an artery that runs just under the skull called the middle meningeal artery. Epidural hematomas are usually associated with a skull fracture.

  • Subdural hematoma. Subdural hematomas occur when a blood clot forms underneath the skull and underneath the dura, but outside of the brain. These can form from a tear in the veins that go from the brain to the dura, or from a cut on the brain itself. They are sometimes, but not always, associated with a skull fracture.

  • Diffuse axonal injury . These injuries are fairly common and are usually caused by shaking of the brain back and forth, which can happen in car accidents, from falls or shaken baby syndrome. Diffuse injuries can be mild, such as with a concussion, or may be very severe, as in diffuse axonal injury . In DAI, the patient is usually in a coma for a prolonged period of time, with injury to many different parts of the brain.

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    Can Head Trauma Cause Problems Years Later

    In a world of TBI, many people have no idea what its like to have suffered a TBI. Years later, the brain can still be injured, and that can affect us long after weve left the hospital. The brain is plastic, so if you hit it in a way that it wasnt intended to be hit, your brain may not remember it as such.

    The same goes for your head trauma. If you experience a head injury because you hit your head in a way that wasnt intended for it , but you dont remember what happened because of how the brain heals itself, then your symptoms will likely not match up with the test results.

    Your brain injuries symptoms may even lighten up and become less severe brain injuries over time.

    A Severe Head Injury Is Often Called A Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

    The medical communitys optimism regarding severe traumatic brain injury the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury is derived in part from the growing number of studies showing that untreated TBI can cause cognitive decline, a condition known as cognitive decline and dementia, or CTE.

    But this just may be premature, according to a new study led by a team of scientists at the National Institute on Aging , part of the National Institutes of Health .

    The researchers found that MRI scans of the brains and cognitive function of individuals with TBI more than two decades after they were injured show very little evidence that in fact, cognitive decline occurred.

    Currently, there is no clear consensus on what exactly happened to these individuals during their time in hospitals after being injured however, there is general agreement that traumatic brain injury has an effect on brain structure and function..

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    Rebound Or Medication Overuse Headaches

    Sometimes the very medicines used to treat headaches can actually cause headaches. If some over the counter pain medications for headaches or certain prescribed medications are taken every day, they can actually lead to worsening headaches overall. Speak with your provider about which medications can cause overuse headaches.

    Rebound headaches can occur if a person suddenly decreases the amount of caffeine they use. For example, if a person normally drinks a lot of coffee, tea or energy drinks and then doesnt get their usual amount, they may get a headache. In addition, missing one or two doses of certain medications can result in a headache.

    What Are The Long

    Signs To Look For After Head Trauma, According To A Doctor

    Like many injuries, traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to catastrophic. Doctors group TBIs into three categories:

    • Mild TBI: Your brain imaging studies look normal, and you may have lost consciousness for just a few minutes .
    • Moderate TBI: Your MRI or CT scan shows some damage to your brain, and your loss of consciousness may have lasted up to 24 hours.
    • Severe TBI: Your imaging studies show significant brain damage, your experience post-traumatic amnesia for more than 24 hours, and you lose consciousness for more than a day some severe TBI victims remain in a persistent vegetative state.

    While some victims will experience minor concussion symptoms for a few days, others will require a lifetime of intense medical care and support. And thanks to recent medical research, we now know a lot more about how TBIs impact peoples long-term wellbeing and the effects of repeated, mild head trauma.

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    Keep It Going: Do You Know These 15 Essential Tbi Recovery Tips

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    Should I Worry About Having A Headache

    Most headaches are not dangerous. In the first few days after a concussion or head injury, a person should see a health care professional experienced in treating persons with brain injuries IF the following occurs:

    • Headaches get worse.
    • There is nausea and/or vomiting with a headache.
    • Arm or leg weakness or problems speaking develop along with a headache.
    • Increasing sleepiness occurs with headache.

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    Can An Mri Detect Post

    In most cases, an MRI cannot detect post-concussion syndrome. An MRI uses magnets to look at protons in water. In regards to a brain scan, that means the image is of the soft tissue in your head.

    An MRI doesnt show the skull bones well, but it will show the structure of your brain because thats where the water is. The protons in water respond to a magnetic field differently based on what kind of tissue theyre in. By using MRI technology, we can look at those differences to determine what kind of tissue is being observed and the shape of that tissue. Because of this, a regular MRI is powerful at detecting serious issues in the brain such as strokes, aneurysms, tumors, bleeding, and so forth.

    Unlike structural damage caused by tumors or brain bleeds, mild traumatic brain injuries do not show up on standard brain imaging tests because the tissue is not damaged in an obvious way. Head trauma impacts the ability of neurons to signal for the right amount of blood to accomplish certain processes but does not impact the structure of the cells themselves.

    To learn more about the difference between an MRI scan and an fNCI scan, read our post: Can an MRI Detect Post-Concussion Syndrome?

    That information not only helps us diagnose PCS but also tailor treatment to the specific needs of each patient.

    Warning Signs Of A Serious Brain Injury

    • Pain: Constant or recurring headache
    • Motor dysfunction: Inability to control or coordinate motor functions or disturbance to balance
    • Sensory: Changes in ability to hear, taste or see dizziness hypersensitivity to light or sound
    • Cognitive: Shortened attention span easily distracted overstimulated by environment difficulty staying focused on a task, following directions or understanding information feeling of disorientation, confusion and other neuropsychological deficiencies
    • Speech: Difficulty finding the “right” word difficulty expressing words or thoughts dysarthric speech

    Seek immediate medical attention if any of these warning signs occur

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    Are There Any Cures For Concussion Besides Rest

    There is no doubt that rest helps a brain recover from a concussion. There is research going on to determine how much rest is needed, but each concussion is treated individually. Typically, mental and physical rest is advocated. There is also research going on looking at medications that may be useful to prevent the progression of concussion, based on the physiology of what happens when the brain is initially concussed, and to help the brain “heal” more quickly.

    What Is A Head Injury

    Head injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death in adults. The injury can be as mild as a bump, bruise , or cut on the head, or can be moderate to severe in nature due to a concussion, deep cut or open wound, fractured skull bone, or from internal bleeding and damage to the brain.

    A head injury is a broad term that describes a vast array of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the head. Head injuries are also commonly referred to as brain injury, or traumatic brain injury , depending on the extent of the head trauma.

    Head injuries are rising dramatically–about 1.7 million people have a TBI each year. Millions of Americans are alive today who have had a head injury and now need help with the activities of daily living, costing the country more than $56 billion per year.

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    Whats A Typical Recovery Plan For Students Who Have Experienced A Concussion

    Its important to know that recovery plans need to be individualized for each person. Your concussion specialist or family doctor can assist in creating this individualized plan and providing it to the student so they can share with the school.

    At first students may need to miss several days of school for symptoms to calm down. Once the student can manage their symptoms at home in a controlled environment, they should gradually add some mental work like reading or writing in journal. If they can perform an hour of mental activity at home without worsening symptoms, they can try to return to school.

    Students should not return to school for half days. Rather, they should try to complete as many classes as concussion symptoms allow each day. This may require getting more rest each day. Students should not set an alarm clock but wake when their body and brain are ready and then, if symptoms allow it, go to school. If the student gets symptoms during the school day, they should go to an agreed upon location, such as the nurses office or counselors office, and rest before returning to class. Should the student’s symptoms result in them spending more time in the space designated for rest and recovery than in class, the student should consider going home.

    Parents should work with teachers, school nurses, counselors or psychologists to make other adjustments in their school day. For example, students may:

    How Many Concussions Does It Take To Develop Post

    Headaches After Traumatic Brain Injury

    Multiple concussions will not necessarily cause post-concussion syndrome, but they are a risk factor for developing PCS. We do not know why some individuals develop PCS symptoms and others do not, but we do know that you have a chance of developing PCS after each concussion. That said, a previous concussion is not a reliable indictor of whether you will develop post-concussion syndrome.

    Up to 30% of all concussion patients develop persistent post-concussion symptoms to some degree a much higher incidence than you might expect given the current lack of awareness in the medical community.

    Further reading: The long-term effects of multiple concussions

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    Looking To The Future

    A mild concussion can be treated with rest or exercise. All concussions should be followed up with chiropractic care and lifestyle changes.If you or a loved one are experiencing these post-concussion symptoms, seek medical attention right away. The sooner your concussion is treated, the more likely you will avoid the long term effects of concussions.

    View Our Sources

  • Daneshvar, D. H., Nowinski, C. J., McKee, A. C., & Cantu, R. C. . The epidemiology of sport-related concussion. Clinics in sports medicine, 30, 1-17. Full text:
  • Stern, R. A. . Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in postconcussion syndrome: measuring neuronal injury and distinguishing individuals at risk for persistent postconcussion syndrome or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. JAMA neurology, 73, 1280-1282. Abstract:
  • Martland, H. S. . Punch drunk. Journal of the American Medical Association, 91, 1103-1107. Abstract:
  • Stein, T. D., Alvarez, V. E., & McKee, A. C. . Concussion in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Current pain and headache reports, 19, 47. Full text:
  • Morse, A. M., & Kothare, S. V. . Sleep disorders and concussion. In Handbook of clinical neurology . Elsevier. Abstract:
  • Dr. Ty Carzoli

    How Are The Headaches Treated

    Good sleep, exercise to tolerance, relaxation and stress management, reduced caffeine, regular healthy eating and avoidance of acute symptomatic medication overuse are recommended regardless of headache severity or type. Use physical therapy for tension-type headaches when a neck pain or injury is also present. Biofeedback training is worth exploring. ON can be treated by an injection around the irritated nerve with a local anesthetic sometimes combined with a steroid medication. Both acute and preventative medications are used determined by headache type.

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    What Is The Post

    Post-concussion syndrome is a set of complaints that a person experiences for weeks, months, or sometimes years after a concussion. The most common PCS complaints are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, loss of concentration and memory, and noise sensitivity. Other symptoms can include ringing in the ears, hearing loss, blurred vision, light and noise sensitivity, decreased smell and taste, depression, personality change, post-traumatic stress disorder, decreased sex drive, and nausea and sometimes vomiting.

    One or more PCS complaints occur in about 50% of people with a mild closed head injury. It is not known with any certainty why PCS occurs and sometimes lasts long periods of time. Persistent or prolonged PCS is associated with increased risk when preexisting psychological conditions, expectations of disability and older age are present. For most, memory and concentration problems are better within three months.

    What Are The Symptoms Of A Concussion

    Dizziness Nausea Headache Light Sensitivity

    The most common symptoms of concussion include:

    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Will not eat or nurse.
    • Change in sleep pattern, sleepy at unusual times.
    • More fussy than usual, wont stop crying despite being comforted.

    Its always best to call your pediatrician if your child experiences a bump to their head. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you call your doctor for anything more than a mild head bump.

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