Is a Headache After Car Accident Serious?

Car Accident‚Äč

More than half of those involved in car accidents sustain an injury. Of those who are injured, many experience headaches after the accident.

Headaches after a car accident should be taken seriously. They’re often the result or symptom of an injury that requires professional medical assistance for treatment.

Reasons you have a headache after a car accident

  • Whiplash — Car accidents often cause drivers’ and passengers’ heads to jerk around. This causes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck to stretch and tear, which is known as whiplash.

    Whiplash is painful and limits your ability to bend or twist your neck. The tension in your neck created by a whiplash puts a strain on the nerves running through your spine, which causes pain to spread into your head.
  • Concussion — Concussions are injuries that occur when your head collides against the inside of your skull. This may occur in an accident when your head jerks roughly in an accident or if it collides against the window or dash.

    Concussions, while not usually life-threatening, are challenging to live with while recovering and can cause a lot of head pain. It’s always important to seek treatment if you have concussion symptoms to be sure your brain is not more seriously injured. The symptoms of a concussion include:
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Limited amnesia
  • Slurred speech
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Herniated disc — The impact from an accident can exert force onto your spine that causes a disc to herniate. When this happens, the fluid from the disc bursts out and puts pressure on the nerves running through the spinal cord. This pressure is painful and can cause headaches and pain in your arms and shoulders as well if the herniated disc is in your neck.

When is a headache after a car accident an emergency?

Sometimes, concussion symptoms can be confused with the symptoms of hemorrhaging and other brain injuries, so it’s always a good idea to seek medical attention immediately if you display concussion symptoms.

Skull fractures can also be the source of a headache after a car accident. Symptoms of a skull fracture may include:

  • Swelling and bruising on the head
  • Intense headaches and pain in the skull
  • Stiff neck
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

Skull fractures may not immediately be life-threatening, but they cause a lot of pain and compromise your skull’s ability to protect your brain from harm. If you have the symptoms of a skull fracture, don’t hesitate to seek emergency medical treatment.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute today for headache treatment after a car accident

Do you have a headache immediately following a car accident? What about a day or two afterward? Your headache may be a sign of something more serious. Contact us today for more information about headache treatment after a car accident or to schedule an initial appointment.