IMR Press / JIN / Volume 20 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2004109
Open Access Perspective
Examining the association between traumatic brain injury and headache
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1 School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN Belfast, UK
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2021, 20(4), 1079–1094; https://doi.org/10.31083/j.jin2004109
Submitted: 11 September 2021 | Revised: 21 October 2021 | Accepted: 26 October 2021 | Published: 30 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Headache)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Abstract

Traumatic brain injury is a common and major cause of disability and death that might require emergency neurological and neurosurgical interventions. Traumatic brain injury can result in temporary or permanent physical, cognitive and psychological impairments. One of the most common complications associated with traumatic brain injury is post-traumatic headache, associated with significant disability and reduced quality of life. Post-traumatic headache is a public health concern that can affect the long-term outcome of traumatic brain injury patients. Clinical symptoms of post-traumatic headache significantly overlap with common primary headaches such as migraine and tension-type headaches. Beyond neurobiological factors, psychological factors can play crucial roles in the initiation and sustainment of post-traumatic headache. While neurological mechanisms underlying post-traumatic headache remains unknown, different studies suggest various mechanisms such as physical damages to the cranial nerves and neck structure, hyper-sensitization of the pain modulatory pathway, and inflammation as underlying causes for the neurobiology of headache. I explore the hypothesis that traumatic brain injury is associated with headaches. In particular, I provide an overview of the neurobiology of post-traumatic headache, its diagnosis, presenting recent findings on the etiology, explaining similarities and differences between with primary headaches such as migraine and tension-type headache, discuss pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for the treatments, as well as emphasising on the psychological importance of post-traumatic headache.

Keywords
Traumatic brain injury
Headache
Post-traumatic headache
Migraine
Tensiontype headache
Neurology
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