Headaches are fairly common after a car accident. Some crash victims who suffered headaches before the accident might find that the pain worsens afterward. Others may not experience a headache until several hours or days following the accident. Visiting a physician after a crash is crucial to help determine the cause of your headache and to help alleviate your pain.
Types of Headaches After Car Accidents
When you’re involved in a car crash, it’s possible to suffer a headache after hitting your head on the steering wheel or window, receiving a significant blow to your head due to flying objects thrown about during the crash, and/or from whiplash. The severity of your headache will likely depend on the impact of the crash. Types of headaches include:
- Whiplash headache. Whiplash is a common vehicle accident injury caused by a sudden impact. The violent force of a crash shakes the head forward and back, which can strain soft tissues. Headaches that are experienced afterward are focused near the base of the skull, and people often feel neck pain or stiffness, dizziness, and fatigue as well. This type of headache may not be felt for days or even weeks following the crash.
- Post-traumatic headache. This type of headache is usually caused by trauma to the head and neck during the accident. Post-traumatic headaches may originate from the neck, from the brain after a concussion, from muscle contractions or spasms, or from a pinched nerve in the neck area. Often this type of headache doesn’t start until several days or even weeks after the accident.
- Post-concussive headache. Also known as a migraine headache, post-concussive headaches are usually caused by a severe jolt or blow to the head. Victims who suffer this type of headache sometimes experience nausea, vomiting, and sound and light sensitivity.
- Fracture headache. When the skull or neck is fractured, this can result in intense headaches. People will usually feel pain in back of the head and neck. In addition to headaches, brain injury is a concern when there is a fracture.
- Pinched nerve headache. During an accident, the spine can be compressed, pinching the nerve roots of the neck area. When these nerves are compressed, a person may feel pain, tenderness, burning, numbness, and tingling as well as headaches.
- Muscle-contraction headaches. Headaches often occur after the muscles of the neck, head, and upper back are injured in a crash. The sudden jolt of a vehicle accident can tear or injure soft tissue causing the muscles to spasm. Range of motion of the neck can also be impacted.
Seek Medical Attention After an Accident
After getting into a car accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is important not only for your health but to protect your legal rights to obtain compensation. Not all serious injuries that result from a car accident are immediately obvious. Sometimes accident-related injuries don’t show up for days or weeks after the accident, and people can have serious injuries without showing any signs. Finding a doctor who is experienced in determining the source of your injuries can help you alleviate headache pain and reduce the chances of it becoming a chronic condition.
If you suffer a headache because of a car accident, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, any lost income due to time off work, the loss of potential earning capacity if the headache becomes severe or is ongoing, and out-of-pocket expenses such as prescriptions, mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments, and pain and suffering.
If your life has been impacted because of headaches following a car accident, money may not make everything right again. But an experienced car accident attorney can assist with the claim process and help you recover the damages you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.