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Why you shouldn’t ignore headaches after a car accident

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Did you know that each year nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes and 20 - 50 million are injured every year?

Knowing these numbers, you can consider yourself fortunate if you survive a car accident. However, if you got involved in a minor or major car accident and you don’t seem to have sustained injuries, you still ought to visit our auto injury clinic for a medical evaluation as certain symptoms might not show up immediately. If left untreated, they may result in further complications.

Headaches are common among later-onset car accident injuries. They 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. But aside from post-traumatic headaches, there are also other root causes of headaches that occur after a vehicular accident.

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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. Whiplash headache 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.

headaches after car accident

Constant headache after a car accident - what to do about it?

In general, headaches are very common. At least 7 in 10 people can get a headache at least once a year. In the U.S. alone, around 45 million people complain about experiencing severe headaches. There are several reasons and causes behind headaches, such as stress and hormonal imbalances. However, if you have been in a car accident and you start getting constant headaches immediately or a while after the event, it’s highly likely that you sustained injuries from the accident. So, what should you do about it?

1. Get examined by an auto accident doctor immediately.

As we’ve laid out above, there are several possible reasons why you may experience constant headaches after a motor vehicle accident. The only way to determine exactly what’s causing your symptoms is to seek medical care by visiting our auto injury clinic so you can get a full evaluation and proper diagnosis.

You might be wondering if you can go to any medical practitioner who doesn’t particularly specialize in auto accident injury. While a family doctor or general practitioner has the skills and knowledge to diagnose and treat your headache, an auto injury doctor is experienced in handling cases directly related to vehicular or road accidents. As a result, they know the importance of proper documentation and they know how to do it. Such documentation is often required in insurance claims. Moreover, it is easier for an auto injury physician to rule in and rule out other injuries you may have sustained from the accident.


2. Don’t wait and “tough it out.”

Even if your headache is not too severe or if it responds to over-the-counter pain medication, you shouldn’t ignore it especially if you’ve been in an accident recently. Don’t simply wait for your symptoms to get better or go away.


3. Follow pain management treatment and recommendations.

Once diagnosed at our auto injury clinic, you will be prescribed the right medications and pain management plan. The treatment for motor vehicle accident injuries varies based on the diagnosis, so it’s important that you don’t self-medicate. If you have any questions, clarifications, or follow-up concerns, you can also take advantage of our telemedicine pain management service. We are easy to reach and approach, so you don’t have to endure pain on your own.


4. Know and assert your rights.

At our auto accident  clinic, we can help to determine if your symptoms and injuries are related to the accident you recently got involved in. As mentioned above, they will also prepare the necessary documentation that you can take to your insurance company or lawyer. Your lawyer can then guide you in terms of ensuring you obtain all the rights and compensation to which you are legally entitled.

Make the best choice - Auto injury clinic at Pain Care Specialists of Florida

If you or any of your loved ones get involved in a car collision, it’s important to see a physician right away. Our auto accident doctors always tell their 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. Our pain care specialist in Florida, Dr. Luis Escobar, has the qualifications and years of experience required in expert pain management.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our services. We also offer telemedicine pain management.

For your convenience, we have three convenient locations in Florida. You may schedule a consultation at any of our offices:

Don’t hesitate to call us at 954-322-8586 if you have any questions.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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