Basics of Post-Traumatic Headache

Post traumatic headache basics and understanding post traumatic headache

Over the next several weeks, our blog will focus on headaches, a common complaint in individuals who suffer a traumatic brain injury. This headache series will culminate with the publication of our article in the next edition of the Brain Injury Professional, titled Pitfalls of Oversimplified Headache Diagnosis in TBI Litigation.

In our experience, most people think that “a headache is a headache.” Few people outside of the medical community know that there are hundreds of different types and subtypes of headaches. The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition - beta version (ICHD III beta), developed by the International Headache Society (IHS), is a system for classifying and describing various headache disorders and suggesting appropriate diagnostic criteria for each.

Because various subtypes of headaches have different causes and treatments, accurate diagnosis of the headache type is key. In the medical realm, identification of the proper headache type guides proper treatment. For instance, although physical activity may help alleviate certain kinds of headaches it can worsen others. 

We often find that medical providers diagnose any headache after a brain injury with the blanket term “post-traumatic headache.” In the legal field, proper diagnosis of a headache can help ensure that an expert’s testimony is admissible. Given the complexity of identifying a specific type of headache amid hundreds of others, a thorough differential diagnosis is critical to identify the type of headache within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

So, whether you’re searching for a medical provider to help treat your headaches, or maybe you’re looking for a lawyer to handle a brain injury case, make sure that you hire a professional who understands headaches.

ICHD III (beta) is available here.