Why you shouldn’t ignore headaches after a car accident

Did you know that each year nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes? According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, this amounts to 3.2 deaths a day on average, with an additional 20-50 million injured or disabled annually. If you are in a car accident, minor or major, and you don’t seem to have sustained injuries, you still ought to visit our car accident doctor in Hollywood for a medical evaluation, as certain symptoms might not show up immediately. If left untreated, they may result in further complications. Headaches are chief among the later-onset car accident injuries, and can be considered one of the most disabling injuries people have after an accident. Even if you did not hit your head in the accident, you may develop a headache a few hours, days or even a week afterwards. Some people who suffer from head pain before an auto accident might find that their headaches become more painful or persistent. Neurologists often refer to headaches after car accidents as post-traumatic headaches.

Common reasons and symptoms of headaches after car accidents

There are several reasons why headaches might appear after a car collision. The most common are a hit or knock to the head, or whiplash. These are the main types and symptoms of the most common head injuries.

  • Post-traumatic headache: Usually caused by trauma to the head and neck during a car accident or other traumatic event. It might include neck pain which radiates to the head and presents as a headache. The headache typically appears within hours to days after the accident, but it may sometimes be delayed. If you suffer from post-traumatic headaches, your situation may be more serious than you think, as headaches from a car crash can indicate brain damage. Don’t wait to visit our auto accident doctor in Hollywood, who can help determine the cause and alleviate your pain.
  • Concussion headaches: An injury to the brain, usually caused by a blow to the head or a sudden and violent jolt, that affects the way the brain works. The brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which prevents it from hitting the inner walls of the skull during impact. Nevertheless, a violent blow to the head or neck may cause the brain to strike the skull walls, leading to bruising. Migraine headaches related to concussion are often associated with symptoms such as: nausea (sometimes with vomiting), light and sound sensitivity, confusion, dizziness, and ringing in the ears. In some cases, they are accompanied by memory loss (for the period just before and during the trauma), slurred speech, sleep problems and anxiety. This head injury might be also called post-concussion syndrome.
  • Muscle strain headaches/spasm headaches: One of the most common causes of headaches; can be non-traumatic or due to trauma. It is caused when the muscles of the neck, head or upper back are injured or strained. During a car accident, the sudden impact to the neck and head may tear or injure the soft tissue, causing a strain or spasm of the muscles. Besides a headache, muscle strain can lead to a reduced range of motion, pain during certain movements, tenderness in the affected muscle, or redness and swelling.
  • Whiplash headaches: Caused by a sudden force upon the head and neck. It occurs when the neck muscles and ligaments get strained by the sudden, forced movement (forward and backward) of the head and neck. This jerking action may strain the soft tissue. The headaches are usually at the base of the skull and can be accompanied by neck pain or stiffness, visual disturbances, dizziness and fatigue as well as problems with concentration and memory, and difficulty sleeping. This is one of the most common types of headaches that doesn’t appear until days or weeks after the crash.
  • Fracture headaches: Arising from a fracture of the skull or neck; causes intense headaches. The pain is generally in the neck and back of the head or can be localized close to the injury site. A brain injury is not common but it may also be a factor in a persistent headache. Depending on the type and severity of the fracture, the symptoms can be intense and may include: nausea, confusion, stiff neck, slurred speech or even seizures.
  • Pinched nerve headaches (occipital neuralgia headache): Due to the compression of the spinal nerves at its root. During an auto accident, it may happen that the compression of the spine or disc herniation leads to a pinching of the upper cervical (neck) nerve roots or irritation of the greater occipital nerve (nerve at the base of the skull). When these nerves are compressed, pain, tenderness, burning, numbness and tingling from the base of the skull up the back of the head can occur. It is also usually tender to the touch.

Auto injury clinic - see our car accident doctor in Hollywood after an accident

If you or any of your loved ones is in a car collision, it’s important to see a physician right away. Our auto accident doctor in Hollywood always tells his patients that even a minor car crash may cause certain injuries that you’re not aware of and, in the long run, may turn out to be serious. Our compassionate and professional team will take care of you and make sure that you receive the help that you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

For your convenience, we have three convenient locations in Aventura, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.