According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), headaches after an auto accident could be a symptom of a much more serious problem than you think.
Many people suffer from headaches after they have been involved in an accident, even if they were wearing a seat belt. Some report them to their medical provider right away, and others allow them to go unreported and untreated all together. Post accident headaches could be a sign of serious underlying injuries, such as a concussion or serious head trauma.
A study from the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association(J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2007 June; 51(2): 83–90) shows just how critical these symptoms could be. In one particular case which was part of the overall study, a woman who was involved in an auto accident went to see her chiropractor six days later. At that time, she was complaining of lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches. She had no loss of consciousness after the accident and didn’t experience any pain until days after.
She merely took an Advil that night. However, the next day she had more pain down her left side.
She was diagnosed with post-motor vehicle accident strain/sprain to her neck and low back, with cervicogenic headache.
A month later, her symptoms worsened. She began to have numbness in her right arm as well as weakness in her right leg. She was having trouble with her balance, and at the request of her chiropractor, went directly to the emergency room.
After a CT scan, she was told she had a subdural hematoma, which is a head injury that causes a collection of blood to gather on the surface of the brain. She immediately underwent surgical decompression.
Subdural hematomas are dangerous, and can be life-threatening. Thinking that a headache after an accident is “no big deal” is the wrong idea.
If you are experiencing headaches after a trauma like an auto accident (even if you don’t have any immediate symptoms), you should see your medical provider right away. Headache symptoms following a trauma could be a sign of something.
Don’t take that risk. A headache is serious business.