Headaches after Car Crash
When a person is involved in a car crash, even low speed collisions, headaches are a common result. There are several different types of headaches which are result from a car collision. Low energy impacts, not necessarily whiplash, can result in headaches as well.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury is an uncommon result in low energy impacts but can be quite serious when they do occur. During higher energy level collisions, the brain can essentially slosh around inside the skull, causing swelling and injury to the brain. One result of TBI can be significant headache. Common symptoms also include dizziness and vertigo. There are very specific protocols for treating headaches associated with dramatic brain injury.
It is not common for migraine headaches to originate from a vehicle collision. However, it is quite common for people who already suffer from migraine headaches to have a significant increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration of their migraine headaches. Most migraine headaches are associated with vasomotor responses. Car crash energy’s forces can disturb the normal blood flow to the brain and trigger migraine headaches.
Muscle Tension Headache
Muscle tension headaches are fairly common following a motor vehicle collision. With the amount of muscle spasm associated with protective posture during a collision, it is common to experience headache pain over the forehead, temples and eyes. These types of headaches respond favorably to complete chiropractic care, including electrical muscle therapy such as interferential.
When soft-tissues of the neck become inflamed, they can produce radiating pain into the head. Commonly these headaches present as pain in the back of the head. They tend to be worse in the afternoon. Cervicogenic headaches respond very favorably to complete chiropractic care.
Complete Chiropractic Care
Not all chiropractors treat injuries the same way. We would not expect exact duplication of all approaches, but there are some common themes and protocols. I do not recommend victims of car crashes see chiropractors who simply “crack necks” and dismiss the patient. The “one treatment fits all” model is not appropriate for personal injuries. The chiropractic physician should address the soft-tissue injuries as well as the joint mechanics. He should be using therapies such as ultrasound, laser, EMS, AMRT, and prescribing home stretches as well. In our St George UT chiropractor office, we do offer the additional therapies to help patients with their soft-tissue injuries.
Haas, M., etal. Dose Response and Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Cervicogenic Headache: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. The Spine Journal 2010; 10:117-128.
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