What happens when puberty and brain injuries mix?
You thought your child had recovered from their concussion, but it's been 6 months and they're still having persistent, painful headaches. New research shows that children and teens can continue having chronic headaches for up to a year after a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
It's been documented that adults can experience chornic headaches after a traumatic brain injury, but few studies have examined the prevalence of headaches in children with brain injuries.
Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle enrolled 512 children in a study to monitor their recovery after a severe injury. Children with mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) were more likely to suffer from headaches than children who had other injuries. Three months after the brain injury, nearly half of teens suffered from headaches, and their headaches were more serious in severity. Girls were also more susceptible to headaches than young boys, with the majority of girls reporting frequent and serious headaches.
Migraines are also more common in girls during puberty. This led researchers to suggest that there may be a link between migraines and post-traumatic headaches in girls.
The good new is that in this study, persistent headaches often went away 12 months after the injury. Still, if your child is suffering from severe head pain after a concussion or brain injury, they may have a more difficult time completely routine activities or performing well in school. Consult with a doctor about safe methods of pain relief.
Blume H, et al. "Headache after pediatric traumatic brain injury: a cohort study" Pediatrics (2011): DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-1742.
Walsh, Nancy. "Headache Common After Kids' Brain Injury." Medpage Today. December 5, 2011.