What Causes Headache After a Car Crash
Headache is reported in 90% of patients after a car crash, and there are many different possible sources of the pain.
Cervicogenic headaches are a very common problem. Cervicogenic means "originating in the neck" and these types of headaches are caused by irritation of the nerves that travel through the head and neck. These nerves are irritated either directly from the crash or as a result of ligament or disc injury in the spine.
Tension headaches are also common, as the muscles can be injured in a collision, causing them to spasm. Vascular symptoms, or injury to the blood vessels in your neck, are less common, but can be very serious. Symptoms of vascular injury are dizziness, faintness, blurry vision, neck pain, and headache.
Brain injury can also cause headaches. If you struck your head during the collision, or if it was a high speed crash, you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Brain injury, even mild cases, can have long-term effects on your health and productivity.
Finally, migraines are another kind of headache that has been reported after auto injury. Headache can be a symptom of a more serious injury, so it's important to have your health-care provider do a careful exam after a car crash. If you have headache after a collision, we might be able to help.
Freeman MD, et al. A review and methodologic critique of the literature refuting whiplash syndrome. Spine 1999; 24 (1): 86-96.
Prevent Injury, Adjust your Headrest. CAA South Central Ontario. http://www.caasco.com/insurance/auto-vehicle-insurance/adjust-your-headrest.jsp.
How to Adjust Your Head Restraint. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/adjust_head_restraints.pdf.