A sample of headache incidence in post concussive patients

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Abstract

Objective

Headache is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and may persist months to years after the initial injury. The purpose of this pilot project was to determine the incidence and characteristics of headaches within the TBI population.

Design

Descriptive study.

Setting

Data were collected from an out-patient clinic specialising in the management of TBI.

Participants

42 patients (24 male, 18 female) with headache symptoms.

Intervention

Treating physicians collected data on only one appointment for each patient. Of the 160 patients visiting the clinic in May 2012, 30% complained of headaches. Headache symptoms were defined by the International Headache Society Classification ICHD-II criteria.

Outcome Measures

Measures relating to gender, time since head injury, type of headache, severity of headache, frequency of headaches, location of headache and current medication were recorded.

Results

Fifty-seven percent of the population was male. Almost 40% of patients had sustained a head injury over a year prior to data collection. Half of the subjects suffered from tension-type headaches, 14% of patients from migraines, and 7% from both migraine and tension-type headaches. One third reported headaches to occur on a daily basis and 81% percent suffered from headaches that were at least moderate in severity. Thirty-six percent of patients were taking either Advil or Tylenol at the time of data collection.

Conclusions

The pilot data confirmed clinical belief of the necessity to conduct large-scale trials to implement and evaluate interventions for the management of headaches in the TBI population.

Competing interests

None.

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