We’ll cover some of those that can be common after a brain injury. Please note that how headaches are named and classified changes from country to country.
Tension headaches often feel like a diffuse vice-like pressure throughout the head, lasting from 30 minutes to a week. They usually respond well to over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen, paracetemol and aspirin. A very common cause of headaches is due to the microscopic damage to nerve pathways in the brain after a traumatic brain injury and other types of brain disorder, resulting in what is often called a tension headache.
Migraines are moderate to severe headaches, recurrent and pulsating in nature and often only affecting one half of the head. Other symptoms may include vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound or smell. They can last from four hours to three days in length. Sometimes the person sees an ‘aura’ before the migraine starts and can avoid the onset. This can be by avoiding activities that are triggering the migraine, or taking appropriate medication.
Musculoskeletal headaches are common with traumatic brain injuries when there is injury to the neck and/or structures in the head. An example of this is a whip lash injury. These headaches often worsen with stooping, bending or exertion. They may be associated with dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound and even imbalance. These headaches often disappear when the underlying problem is resolved.
Cluster headaches are typically short (15 minutes to three hours) of severe pain that usually is located around one eye. Other symptoms include nasal congestion, tearing and a red eye.