Post-Concussive Headache

Seventy percent of people who suffer mild TBI develop. Such headache does not come from bruising of the brain itself, because the brain has no pain fibers. Post-concussive headache can come from bruising of the scalp; stretch injury to the pain nerves in the meninges (the membranes which cover the brain) or the occipital region where the head and neck meet; strain of the muscles in jaw, the neck or both; bulging or tearing of a cervical disc with cervical dysfunction; tension type headache from the stresses of living with a mild TBI; migraine – either newly caused or aggravated from pre-existing frequency or intensity; post-traumatic sinus infection; and even drug induced headache from treatment for your TBI.

Given the multiplicity of potential causes of post-concussive headache following a mild TBI, if you have persistent headache you are best off seeing a Board Certified Neurologist and a Board Certified Physiatrist or Pain Medicine Physician to get properly diagnosed and implement an effective treatment plan. Whichever doctor you use to treat your headache it’s important to work cooperatively, comply with medication recommendations, and keep the doctor promptly informed of any changes in your symptoms.

Concussion Injuries: The Silent Accident Related Injury

After a serious accident, you may not be able to see the initial signs of a concussion. In fact, in most cases the symptoms may not present themselves until several days after the accident. However, it does not mean that this serious condition is not there. If you were involved in a serious accident, such as a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident, it is important to make sure you did not suffer a concussion, even if you did not hit your head.

What Is a Concussion?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a concussion as a type of traumatic brain injury (or TBI) caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Such a sudden movement can cause the brain to violently move around or twist in the skull. This may in turn stretch and damage the brain cells and create a chemical change or imbalance in the brain.

Medical providers often describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury. The reasoning for this description is that although concussions are generally not life threatening, the effect can still be serious.

Symptoms of a Concussion

Concussions are often described as the “silent injury” for the very reason that it has symptoms that are generally invisible immediately after an accident and may take several days or even weeks to surface. As such, most accident victims may not experience the typical symptoms of a concussion injury until days or weeks after the accident, when the condition has gotten significantly worse.

Concussions can be difficult to diagnose without the help of an experienced medical provider who knows exactly what to look for and what tests to order. If you notice any of the following symptoms after an accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention:

  • Vomiting or the constant feeling of nausea
  • Frequent headaches and dizziness
  • Eyesight trouble or double vision
  • Any degree of loss of memory
  • Being in a daze or confused
  • Ringing in the ears

Compensation for Concussion Injuries

Concussions were not always given the same serious attention as other brain and close head injuries. However, with more research and knowledge, the true impact of a concussion injury is now more clearly understood. While concussions are often the result of a sports injury, victims of other accidents may also suffer such a serious medical condition.

Regardless of what caused your concussion, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. To ensure that you obtain the full money damages that you deserve, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that was caused by the negligent or reckless actions of a third party and have suffered a concussion or any other serious injury as a result, you should call New Jersey concussion attorney Dan Matrafajlo at 908-248-4404 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

Quick Radar Scan used for Concussion Diagnosis

People with concussions don’t walk normally. Their brain impairment is equivalent to have a blood alcohol of 0.05. The alteration in their gait is more pronounced when they perform cognitive tasks while walking. In April 2011 researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute demonstrated the use of a simple radar test in the field to diagnose concussions. When people with a concussion walk toward the radar device while saying the 12 months of the year backwards their gait is detectably different on radar than the gait of a normal person. The radar technique is effective and is quicker and cheaper than existing techniques which utilize motions sensors and make people wear reflective markers on their clothes.

Brain Gym Program Helps Mild TBI

Soliders coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with concussive brain injuries from explosions show problems with concentration, working memory, and multi-tasking. Dr. David Twillie, director of the Fort Campbell Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, has developed a new method of treating these “mild” brain injuries with an 80% success rate.

The method involves identifying the part(s) of the brain which were damaged along with the functions that have been impaired, and then coming up with cognitive challenges tailored to stimulating the injured areas. Pushing the soldiers to use the damaged parts of their brains stimulates their brains to regrow brain cells, thicken synapses, and restore some of the lost brain function. Some of the soldiers helped by this therapy elected to return to the war zone for duty. Dr. Twillie believes the technique can be successfully applied to civilians with mild TBI.

Doctor examining a brain CT scan

Brainscope device for on-field Diagnosis of MTBI

BrainScope is a new EEG device designed to detect concussions in athletes on the field. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. BrainScope consists of a headband with 8 electrodes placed over the forehead and temples. The device sends EEG data to a handheld computer for processing. The mini-computer lets a physician know if the athlete’s EEGs are within normal parameters. A study in 2010 showed the device can detect EEG abnormalities consistent with concussion. Starting in the summer of 2011 Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian with the University of Rochester Medical Center will be testing BrainScope to see if it can be used to discern which players may have a brain bleed and need to get a head CT scan.

traumatic brain injury in sports

CDC Redefines Concussion

The most recent definition of a concussion by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is as follows: “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.”

This is a very significant change in definition. In the past a concussion was viewed as simply a transient alteration in consciousness caused by head contact or whiplash which might or might not involve injury to the brain. The new definition makes it clear that a concussion is a form of brain injury. Thus any concussion from any source should be taken seriously and the victim should be examined by a doctor.

Functional Scan of Cerebral Blood Flow Diagnoses Concussion

In the March 2015 online issue of JAMA Neurology neuroscientist Timothy Meier of Albuquerque, NM published a study of 44 college football players with cognitive and behavioral symptoms of concussion. Dr. Meier used a form of neuroimaging that tracks patterns of cerebral blood flow CBF). He found that the players who improved and became asymptomatic post-concussion showed normalized CBF, whereas the players who continued to be symptomatic showed reduced CBF, especially in a part of the brain known as the dorsal midinsular cortex. The conclusion of the study was that quantified CBF can be used as an objective biomarker for concussion. What does this mean for victims of head injury who are suing in court for compensation? It means that if neuro-imaging of brain structures like CT scans or MRIs fail to show brain damage, a functional scan for quantitative CBF can help establish brain injury from an accident such as a car crash or fall.

How Concussions Cause Dementia

Neuroscience has already established that concussions can trigger the build up of sticky tau protein in the brain that causes the same destructive effects of Alzheimer’s disease. How does this happen? The answer comes from research published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience by Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the University of Rochester Center for Translational Neuromedicine. Dr. Nedergaard says that the brain has its own separate system for waste removal called the glymphatic system which utilizes very fine structures to carry cerebro-spinal fluid bearing waste products away from the brain. These structures are fragile and vulnerable to brain trauma from blows to the head. When they become damaged they stop removing waste products from the brain, including the sticky tau protein that gums up brain cells.

Why are Two Concussions Close in Time so Damaging?

On 11/16/14  Zachary Weil and colleagues from Ohio State University  presented the answer to this question at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Weil shared his research on how mice respond to two concussions. After the first concussion the mouse brain ramps us its use of glucose to power repair of damaged brain cells. This surge in glucose use is dependent upon the brain having normal signaling for the uptake of insulin. When the two concussions are 20 days apart the surge in glucose use has already occurred and the brain is protected. However, when the second concussion occurs just 3 days later brain signaling for uptake of insulin is disrupted, the brain becomes insulin resistant, and brain cells cannot utilize sugar. The result is lack of energy for brain repair, inflammation, and degeneration of brain cells with loss of attentional, memory, and learning abilities.

Dr. Weil says it appears that the surge in glucose utilization by the brain for self-repair appears about 6 days after a concussion. This not only means that soldiers and athletes with minor head injuries must be kept of out of action for more than a week. It also means that civilians must rest and not expose themselves to the risk of head injury for the same time frame. People with a brand new concussion should talk to their doctor about when it is wise to return to work and begin driving again. Being a driver or passenger in a car is definitely a risk factor for a second concussion.