Headaches: Signature Symptoms of Invisible Wounds

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Of the many symptoms of brain injury, headaches are one of the signature effects of the invisible wounds of war. Headaches related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), commonly known as Post-Traumatic Headaches (PTHA). PTHA is a sort of “all in” term, though the International Headache Society defines PTHA as “a headache developing within seven days of the injury or after regaining consciousness.” It doesn’t necessarily define a specific headache, but more refers to the headaches that can follow a TBI.

There are different types of headaches that can follow injuries such as a TBI. Two of the most common are migraine headaches and tension-type headaches. While the migraine headaches may not exactly be classifiable as migraines, PTHA can resemble them. They tend to be pulsating and can range from mild to severe. There can also be a sensitivity to light and sound (both of which are also symptoms of a brain injury). The tension-type headaches feature a dull, aching pain. They also typically cause a feeling of pressure or tightness on the head. It can present itself in the forehead, sides, or back of the head.

Meanwhile, as it pertains to post-traumatic stress (PTS), headaches may help indicate the severity of a person’s symptoms according to a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology Meeting in 2017. There has yet to be a clear answer as to why people suffering from PTS are more susceptible to headaches. However, the hypothesis is that while stress has been clearly linked to headaches, people suffering from PTS are likely to experience more stress as a result of their condition.

How does one cope with these symptoms? For one, diagnosis is important. Understanding the injury, the severity of the injury, and developing a plan for proper treatment can all impact the symptoms and effects of a TBI or PTS. There are many different treatments for headaches which include physical therapy, acupuncture, and relaxation therapy/meditation. In addition, certain changes to daily life can help prevent the onset of headaches. Those changes include avoiding headache-causing drinks such as alcohol and caffeine, and making sure to get enough sleep each night.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund works to treat the invisible wounds of war in our service members. Our mission is to build Intrepid Spirit Centers acting as satellites to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence which was opened by IFHF in 2010 and is now the leading facility to treat TBI and PTS in service members. Each center is specially equipped to help our heroes fight the war within. Learn more about our Intrepid Spirit Centers and support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with a donation today.

Posted on June 18 2018 in Blog

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