Head Pain After a Car Accident

Thousands of people are injured every day as a result of car accidents and they don’t even know it. Oftentimes, we walk and talk ourselves right out of a car crash thinking everything is OK, yet don’t realize it takes up to 10 days to experience the full extent of an injury caused by a car crash. Even low-impact accidents can have drastic consequences, and symptoms such as headaches are common. Headaches after a car crash may occur within hours of the crash, or within days. They are usually a symptom of something greater.

Post-traumatic headaches is the term used to describe headaches experienced specifically after a blow to the head. In a car accident, the most sensitive and vital part of your body, your head, is the one that endures the most stress. It often hits the steering wheel, the driver window, or the headrest depending on the direction of the impact.


Types of accidents 

In a rear-end collision, your body is violently thrust forward making the steering wheel a big target for your head to hit. If the airbag is deployed in this situation, it is possible your injuries are mitigated. Regardless, your body continues to move after the crash and your head rapidly whips backward. This back-and-forth movement is referred to as “whiplash” and can cause severe neck and head pain.

In a head-on collision, your body is pushed backward but your head continues to move forward until your chin hits your chest. This is another scenario in which you experience whiplash. Following neck pain, headaches are the top complaint among those who have suffered whiplash. Whiplash injuries typically don’t show symptoms right away, and many people who experience whiplash just go home and take over the counter pain medicine to numb neck pain and stiffness. These signs, along with headaches, only worsen in the days immediately following an accident.


Signs to watch for 

The severity of headaches, in particular, does not correlate with the severity of the impact. Even a low-impact car crash in which the airbag did not deploy, or a crash in which the impact was made at less than 10 MPH, can spark debilitating headaches. Simply receiving a sudden blow to the head can trigger post-traumatic headaches. If you started suffering from headaches after a car accident, know that they come more frequently and more painfully than regular headaches.

Some symptoms include dull, aching head pain; sensation of tightness around the forehead, feeling a tender scalp, neck, and shoulders, and even loss of appetite. If your headache lasts 30 minutes to a whole week long, you are experiencing a tension headache. Chronic headaches occur 15 or more times a month for a period of three months. Episodic headaches occur less frequently than 15 times a month.

If you are just now experiencing severe head pain from a previous car accident, don’t suffer alone. We have an experienced and dedicated staff of pain doctors in our New Jersey pain centers eager to help you overcome debilitating pain. Book an appointment today.