A car accident can cause a number of injuries, and one of the side effects might be a constant headache. These headaches can be extremely painful and might be symptoms of a concussion or other kind of neurological issue. It’s important to see a medical professional after a car accident, since symptoms often get worse over time. They can also have a delayed effect, and not show up for days after the accident, so you might have an injury you’re not even aware of. A doctor that deals with neurological conditions will have the expertise to diagnose a health concern, or clear you of any problems. It’s better to be on the safe side when it comes to these kinds of incidents, as a car accident is often causes physical trauma to the body.
Why does my head hurt after a car accident?
The most common reasons to have a headache after a car accident are experiencing a blow to the head during the initial accident, or the sudden motion jerking the neck back and forth (also known as whiplash). Depending on the force of the accident the symptoms might be very prominent immediately, or subtle and delayed. Headaches after a car accident are often called post-traumatic headaches due to the cause being impact trauma. If the cause of headaches is a concussion you most definitely need to see a car accident doctor right away. The impact could cause your brain to hit the inner skull walls and inflict bruising within the brain.
Symptoms of a Headache after Minor Car Accident
You may experience one symptom, or many, and the timing with which they show up can also vary. So you can experience one immediately, with others coming about later on. Some of the symptoms you might notice after a rear-end collision or any kind of car accident include:
- Temples Tender to the Touch
- Shooting pains
- Vision issues
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
What Causes Headache in the Back of Head?
After experiencing a car accident trauma you might suffer different types of headaches. One of the more prominent headaches you can feel is one that causes painful sensations in the back of the head. Herniated discs can be caused by the impact of the car accident or the whiplash that causes the vertebrae in your neck to dramatically compress. When the herniated disc happens in your neck you can experience cervicogenic headaches. The pain with these types of headaches start in the back of the head and is the primary location you’ll feel pain. They can also spread to the temples or behind the eyes and discomfort in shoulders and arms. They also get worse when laying down and could even cause sleeping problems if the pain is bad enough.
Herniated discs sometimes go away on their own, however, if they symptoms are bad enough it is advisable to consult with a doctor to monitor your condition. A medical professional with experience diagnosing herniated discs can check your overall health, and to ensure there aren’t any other complications happening in tandem with the herniated disc. If you have poor posture it can make these types of headaches worse and cause more of a dull, throbbing headache at the base of the skull.
Whiplash is a pretty common thing to happen during a car accident, but can cause plenty of issues in the neck. Usually people recover in a few weeks with a proper treatment plan and some pain medication and exercise. Though, some people do develop chronic neck pain and long lasting issues after a car accident. Whiplash causes headaches that start at the base of the skull, but they also have a few other associated symptoms such as:
- Dizziness & fatigue
- Neck pain & stiffness
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Tenderness in the shoulders
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
Delayed concussion symptoms
It’s important to talk about the possibility of a concussion following an accident. Some people won’t be aware that they suffered a concussion, or the symptoms might not appear until later on. That’s why almost everyone should see a doctor if they experience a car accident just to have a peace of mind that everything is alright within your body. Delayed concussion symptoms may appear 24 to 48 hours after the initial accident. The onset of a headache can begin to develop or difficulty remembering.
More symptoms that can appear later on include:
- Difficulty Remembering
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Trouble Balancing
Immediately following a concussion it’s recommended to rest and avoid any rigorous physical activity or mental activity. That includes avoiding cell phones, computers, and televisions for a couple days. After 2 days you can slowly start using electronic devices for a few minutes here and there. Though if anything you’re doing causes symptoms to flare up or get worse, stop and consult with your doctor.
Overall the span of recovery period for concussions can be a few days to more than 10 days. It’s good to work with a concussion specialist who can walk you through the recovery process and ensure you’re being safe and healthy throughout.
Seeing a Doctor after a Car Accident
If you’re experiencing pain after a car accident or a headache that won’t go away it’s critical to talk about your symptoms with a doctor. Neurologists and neurosurgeons specialize in everything to do with the brain and spine. Some symptoms of different conditions overlap, and doctors who have decades of experience diagnosing each condition will be differentiate between them. There is also specialized imaging equipment that can be utilized to pinpoint the exact cause and area of the injury such as open MRI machines, X-ray’s, CT scans and more. Getting a quick and accurate diagnosis can help speed up your recovery process and allow you to return to normal life faster.