Headache after mTBI is very common and persistent across the first year after injury. Assertive, early treatment may be warranted to avoid chronicity and disability. Further research is needed to determine whether post-traumatic headache (PTH) responds to headache treatment used in the primary headache disorders and whether chronic PTH is preventable.
Headache is one of the most common persisting symptoms after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Yet there is a paucity of prospective longitudinal studies of the incidence and prevalence of headache in a sample with a range of injury severity. We sought to describe the natural history of headache in the first year after TBI, and to determine the roles of prior history of headache, sex, and severity of TBI as risk factors for post-traumatic headache. A cohort of 452 acute, consecutive patients admitted to inpatient rehabilitation services with TBI were enrolled during their inpatient rehabilitation from February 2008 to June 2009. Subjects were enrolled across 7 acute rehabilitation centers designated as TBI Model Systems centers. They were prospectively assessed by structured interviews prior to inpatient rehabilitation discharge, and at 3, 6, and 12 months after injury. Results of this natural history study suggest that 71% of participants reported headache during the first year after injury. The prevalence of headache remained high over the first year, with more than 41% of participants reporting headache at 3, 6, and 12 months post-injury. Persons with a pre-injury history of headache ( p <0.001) and females ( p <0.01) were significantly more likely to report headache. The incidence of headache had no relation to TBI severity ( p = 0.67). Overall, headache is common in the first year after TBI, independent of the severity of injury range examined in this study. Use of the International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria requiring onset of headache within 1 week of injury underestimates rates of post-traumatic headache. Better understanding of the natural history of headache including timing, type, and risk factors should aid in the design of treatment studies to prevent or reduce the chronicity of headache and its disruptive effects on quality of life.
This study confirmed previous findings that telcagepant 300 mg was effective at relieving pain and other migraine symptoms at 2 hours and providing sustained pain freedom up to 24 hours. In this study, telcagepant 150 mg was also effective. Telcagepant was generally well tolerated.
Our data show that most headache after TBI may be classified using primary headache criteria. Migraine/probable migraine described the majority of headache after TBI across one year post-injury. Using symptom-based criteria for headache following TBI can serve as a framework from which to provide evidence-based treatment for these frequent, severe, and persistent headaches.
NSAIDs easily enter the brain, but their high protein binding limits absolute amount of entry. All work similarly as either nonselective or selective cyclooxygenase inhibitors, but indomethacin may have more potent vasoconstrictive activity and unique direct neuronal or nitric oxide-dependent inhibitory pathway activity.
Post-traumatic headache (PTH) is the most frequent symptom after traumatic brain injury (TBI). We review the epidemiology and characterization of PTH in military and civilian settings. PTH appears to be more likely to develop following mild TBI (concussion) compared with moderate or severe TBI. PTH often clinically resembles primary headache disorders, usually migraine. For migraine-like PTH, individuals who had the most severe headache pain had the highest headache frequencies. Based on studies to date in both civilian and military settings, we recommend changes to the current definition of PTH. Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are frequently associated with TBI, especially in military populations and in combat settings. PTSD can complicate treatment of PTH as a comorbid condition of post-concussion syndrome. PTH should not be treated as an isolated condition. Comorbid conditions such as PTSD and sleep disturbances also need to be treated. Double-blind placebo-controlled trials in PTH population are necessary to see whether similar phenotypes in the primary headache disorders and PTH will respond similarly to treatment. Until blinded treatment trials are completed, we suggest that, when possible, PTH be treated as one would treat the primary headache disorder(s) that the PTH most closely resembles.
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