Post-traumatic Headache

  • Ajal M. DaveEmail author
  • Jay C. Erickson
  • Brett J. Theeler


Post-traumatic headaches (PTHAs) are a common occurrence following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and while most PTHAs resolve, a proportion of patients develop chronic headache disorders. The exact mechanism(s) by which PTHAs develop are unknown, but herein we review some of the current pathophysiologic hypotheses. History and physical examination are important to rule out potentially dangerous secondary conditions, determine treatment approach, and evaluate for the need for further workup or neuroimaging. Treatment of PTHA requires phenotyping of the PTHA using criteria for primary headache disorders, as most PTHAs meet criteria for primary headache disorders and are usually migraine or tension-type headaches. The therapeutic approach to PTHA requires optimizing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic management of each patient’s head and neck pain as well as treatment of associated comorbidities.


Post-traumatic headache, PTHA, CPTHA, Primary headache, Secondary headache, TBI, Neurogenic inflammation 



The identification of specific products or scientific instrumentation is considered an integral part of the scientific endeavor and does not constitute endorsement or implied endorsement on the part of the author, the United States Department of Defense, or any component agency of the US Government. The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the US Departments of the Army, Navy, or Air Force, the US Department of Defense, or the US Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ajal M. Dave
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jay C. Erickson
    • 2
  • Brett J. Theeler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyWalter Reed National Military Medical CenterBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologySt. Joseph’s HospitalTacomaUSA

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