Characteristics and treatment of headache after traumatic brain injury: A focused review

Henry L. Lew, Pei Hsin Lin*, Jong Ling Fuh, Shuu Jiun Wang, David J. Clark, William C. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-627
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume85
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Keywords

  • Brain Injuries
  • Headache
  • Posttraumatic
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

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