What to Know About Concussion and Headaches

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June 2, 2022
July 11, 2021
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What to Know About Concussion and Headaches

Head trauma with symptoms that affect brain function is called a concussion.  Among the many symptoms that last after head trauma, headache is the most common. Other symptoms of concussion include memory and other cognitive problems, mood changes, coordination issues, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.

A concussion can be caused by a direct trauma to the head, or from shaking of the brain within the hard bones of the skull. This triggers an inflammatory response in the brain not unlike what happens during a migraine attack.  Thankfully, the vast majority of post-concussion symptoms generally resolve over time.

People respond differently to concussions, and symptoms after a concussion can vary based on several factors. For adults, signs that should warrant a visit to the doctor include drowsiness, worsening headache, vision problems, confusion, or seizures amongst others. A general rule to consider is if something is concerning to you, that is a good reason to get checked out by a doctor.

Headaches associated with concussions can last for less than seven days and up to more than six months.  Repeated concussions, especially occurring in a short time frame can also be very dangerous and can lead to more severe headaches and migraines and even cause permanent injury to the brain. Regular check-ups with your doctors and correct diagnostics might help to identify headaches related to concussions.

If you have a concussion and headaches, it is important to see your doctor so that they can help diagnose you and start treatments. Your doctor might recommend medications as well as a variety of non-drug treatments including therapy and rehabilitation. These treatments can be targeted to specifically address the symptoms you have and help with recovery.

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Sumeet Vadera, MD, MBA, FAANS
Sumeet Vadera is an Associate Professor, Director of Epilepsy Surgery, and Associate Program Director of the Neurosurgery Department at University of California, Irvine
About the Author
Dr. Sumeet Vadera is a neurosurgeon and epilepsy surgery specialist in Orange County, CA. Dr. Vadera completed his medical school training at Jefferson Medical College, and neurosurgery residency and epilepsy surgery training at the Cleveland Clinic where he developed a passion for treating pain disorders including headache. Dr. Vadera has been named Top Doctor in Orange County and 40 Under 40 in Orange County, CA.

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