Posted on March 22, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 27 of 36 in the series Zachary

Post Traumatic Headaches: Zach Part Twenty Seven

In our previous part, we explored Zach’s premorbid history of migraines.  His post traumatic headaches now are different.

You still get post traumatic headaches.

Now I do.  Yeah, I get really bad ones.

Tell me about the worst headache you’ve had in the last couple weeks.  When you get them, how often do you get them?

I get them a lot now. I get, a lot of them.  The reason I was getting them was because I was dehydrated.  A really bad one?  I don’t think I’ve had a really bad one in a, a while.

So just tell me about what do you remember regarding a difficult one.  Tell me about it when you get a bad one.

Well, a lot of times in college what would happen is, I was staring at a computer screen all day.  My brain would just hurt, like it would hurt like all over and I can’t go to my next class.  I would go somewhere quiet, dark, you know.  So, I would do that and I would just take a nap and just try to, and it would help. I would just close my eyes and, and try to think of about nothing.

But, I would go to the DC (dining common) and people would say what’s wrong? I just looked absolutely miserable because of my headache.

Did the post traumatic headaches gets less after your eye surgery?

Yes.  I think so actually.

Stress, visual fatigue, anything else cause them?

Stress, over thinking and visual fatigue like staring at the computer all day.

Certainly, the double vision could account for a significant number of Zach’s post traumatic headaches. That he still has some lingering effects of that, even after his eye surgery would point to that.  Yet, as the cause of non-traumatic headaches is so varied, the increase in those triggers is likely exponential after a severe brain injury such as Zach’s.

Post-traumatic headaches can be one of the symptoms of brain injury that lingers the longest.  In fact, much like seizure risk goes up years removed from the head injury, headache risk factors may multiply later in life.  The connected but poorly understood relationship between headache and seizure may contribute to that. Many migraines may be the manifestations of seizure activity, that has not evolved to the point of causing overt seizure symptoms.  It is thought that this is the explanation as to why anti-seizure medicines often have success in treating migraines.

For more on post-traumatic headaches, read this article by Randolph Evans.


Next in Part Twenty Eight –

Dealing with Fatigue After Brain Injury


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447