Intracranial Hypotension Following Motor Vehicle Accident: An Overlooked Cause of Post-Traumatic Head and Neck Pain?

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Motor vehicle accidents result in many patients with chronic head and neck pain, some of which meet the criteria for a “whiplash syndrome.” The cervical zygapophysial joint synovium, muscular, and ligamentous strains and other anatomical sites are often implicated in the pathophysiology of these cases. Some patients have a characteristic constellation of vague neurological symptoms, often including headache, posterior neck discomfort, dizziness, nausea, and sometimes visual changes. Recently presented research has noted that some patients who have a whiplash-associated disorder have imaging findings consistent with a low-pressure cerebrospinal fluid leak. Some of these patients respond favorably to high-volume epidural blood patch. The following case presentation focuses on the differential diagnosis of a post-traumatic headache syndrome, specific imaging findings, and treatment strategies.

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