These headaches can be torture from an accident
As a personal injury attorney, I can attest that headaches are commonplace after a car accident, especially in conjunction with a neck injury or “whiplash”.
Headaches can result from any type of car accident – even low impact crashes.
Headaches can indicate a closed head injury.
Why would you have a headache from a car accident
During a car accident, your head is “whipped” around causing the muscles, tendons and nerves around your neck to become irritated. This irritation can cause headaches.
These headaches can be a minor nuisance or quite debilitating.
Are the headaches temporary or long-lasting
Most of our clients’ headaches are reported as temporary – maybe lasting a couple of hours or few days. Some clients have suffered from long-lasting or chronic headaches, however.
A few of these clients were later diagnosed with cervicogenic headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches are similar to migraines (although typically effect only one side of the head) and are caused by referred pain. Referred pain is pain that moves away from where it originates. In these cases, the pain source is the upper neck and the pain radiates upwards towards the back of your head, temples, or behind your eyes.
Injuries to the upper cervical spine (facet joints at C1, C2, C3) can lead to these types of cervicogenic headaches. These headaches can occur daily with varying degrees of intensity.
These headaches are more common in woman than men.
How would you know if I have an upper cervical spine injury
Upper cervical injuries can be diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon or pain management doctor (physiatrist) by flexion/extension view x-rays of your cervical spine, x-rays of your skull, or a cervical MRI.
What is the treatment for headaches related to an upper cervical spine injury after a car accident?
Typically, a pain management doctor (physiatrist), will prescribe pain medication (anti-inflammatories) in an attempt to dull the pain. If this course of treatment is unsuccessful, the physiatrist may recommend injections (nerve blocks) to reduce inflammation of the facet joints.
Occipital Nerve Block: An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area. This is typically used for a facet injury at C1/C2.
Medial Branch Blocks: A medical branch nerve block is a procedure in which anesthetic is injected near small medial nerves connected to a facet joint. This is typically used for a facet injury at C2/C3.
In addition to headaches your my jaw hurt
In some cases, a victim of a car accident can suffer from TMJ or temporomandibular joint injury.
The TMJ is the joint where a person’s lower jaw bone meets the skull. As a result of the pressure placed on the jaw after a car accident, these muscles go into a constant state of tension.
As a result of this constant tension, the referred pain radiates up from the jaw to the temples.
In the past, our clients who have suffered from TMJ related injuries treat with oral surgeons.
Can headaches be a sign of a closed head injury
Trauma to the brain can occur after a car accident due to the head suddenly moving at a high rate of speed. The jarring movement can damage the tissue, nerves, and vessels in the brain.
This can occur from blunt trauma (i.e. hitting your head on the windshield, steering wheel or window), but can also occur from whiplash.
One symptom of a closed head injury is headaches.
Other signs of a closed injury include, concussion, weakness, numbness, decreased coordination or balance, confusion, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, light sensitivity, loss of vision or ringing in ears.
Traumatic brain injuries are extremely serious and life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. You should not minimize these tell-tale symptoms.
Proceed to the hospital immediately. The hospital will likely require you to undergo a CT scan, MRI or PET scan to determine the severity of your injury.
The headaches from your accident deserves legal assistance
We can determine whether the at-fault party has available insurance coverage to compensate you for your past medical bills, future medical bills, and pain and suffering related to this injury.