Head Injury Symptoms

a Guide to Recovering from Mild Head Injury, Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


Types of Headache


  • There are many different types of headache

  • The commonest types of headache that occur following a mild head injury are migraine and tension-type headache

  • Some people have either migraine or tension-headache, some experience both

  • Headaches can be episodic (i.e. come and go) or chronic (occur on most days, sometimes all day)

  • Most headaches following mild head injury resolve by 3 months but some people continue to experience headaches beyond this point which is labelled as chronic daily headache


1. Migraine

What is ‘Aura’?

  • Migraines are classified as occurring with or without ‘aura’

  • This is the umbrella term we give to the various symptoms that can occur either just before or with the headache itself

  • The commonest aura are visual symptoms, such as blurring, blind spots ('scotomas') or seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines.

  • Others include sensory symptoms such as spreading tingling or pins and needles

  • These symptoms usually evolve over about 5 minutes and last approximately 60 minutes

  • They are always fully reversible


2. Tension-Type Headache


3. Chronic Daily Headache

  • Often present most days, sometimes all day

  • Can have features of migraine, tension-type headache or both

  • Important to always consider medication overuse headache as a contributory factor

  • Typical features include:

        o  Constant ‘pressing’ or ‘burning’ sensation, sometimes pounding

        o  Can occur on one side, both sides or over a small area

        o  Often worsens as the day goes on

        o  Conventional painkillers ‘only take the edge off’

  • It can be difficult to understand how a headache can cause such severe pain without any obvious underlying cause

  • Chronic Daily Headache is a widely recognised diagnosis in neurology


> Click here to download a leaflet with more information on Chronic Daily Headache


The development of a chronic daily headache is commonly due to the overuse of simple painkillers resulting in an additional type of headache called medication overuse headache.

Tension-Type Headache Medication Overuse Headache

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