Characteristics and Treatment of Headache After Traumatic Brain Injury

Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA.
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.2). 08/2006; 85(7):619-27. DOI: 10.1097/01.phm.0000223235.09931.c0
Source: PubMed


Headache is one of the most common complaints in patients with traumatic brain injury. By definition, headache that develops within 1 wk after head trauma (or within 1 wk after regaining consciousness) is referred to as posttraumatic headache (PTH). Although most PTH resolves within 6-12 mos after injury, approximately 18-33% of PTH persists beyond 1 yr. We performed a systematic literature review on this topic and found that many patients with PTH had clinical presentations very similar to tension-type headache (37% of all PTH) and migraine (29% of all PTH). Although there is no universally accepted protocol for treating PTH, many clinicians treat PTH as if they were managing primary headache. As a result of the heterogeneity in the terminology and paucity in prospective, well-controlled studies in this field, there is a definite need for conducting double-blind, placebo-controlled treatment trials in patients with PTH.

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