If you’ve walked away from a car crash seemingly unscathed, you are probably considering yourself very lucky and ready to move on from the whole event. While this may mean you don’t have any immediately apparent injuries, the time after a car accident is crucial for you to monitor your body’s response and visit a chiropractor in Jonesboro. One of the key symptoms you may be told to look out for is a headache, and particularly any details around the location and type of pain you are feeling. Car accidents can lead to a variety of headache types, and these differences may indicate what type of injury has occurred.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Headaches
One of the most vulnerable areas of the body during an accident is the head, skull, and brain. While the skull is an incredibly strong bone and offers protection to the fragile and complex brain, the body is not designed to sustain forces as strong as those in a car accident. Some movement can cause the head to hit against a hard surface like a dashboard, steering wheel, or window, while in other cases the body’s movement may cause the brain to crash into the skull and sustain damage.
Just like any part of the body, when the brain is injured, you are likely to feel pain, discomfort, or other symptoms in that area. Headaches that signal a traumatic brain injury may fall into one of the below categories.
When an area of the brain becomes hypersensitive, it can trigger a pain signal that spreads to the rest of the brain as a ripple effect. This is common when a blow to the head causes a concussion, bruising one area of the brain. The pain may be a dull, throbbing sensation on one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, or trouble with eyesight and coordination.
Muscle tension and muscle spasms may originate at any point in the spine or the rest of the body, but the interconnected nature of our tissues means that we often feel that pain in unrelated ways. Tension headaches are an example of this, especially when the impact of a car accident causes distress to the muscles. The pain of a tension headache is often described as a tight, squeezing sensation, usually on both sides of the head or stretching across it.
When there is an injury to the muscles and soft tissues in the neck or back of the head, the nerves in these areas may become distressed and send those pain signals to their branches that reach the skull and scalp. This is common in the case of whiplash, which is a very high risk for those in car accidents. The pain of a cervicogenic headache often starts where the injury originated, in the neck, shoulders, or back of the head but may travel up to the top of the head. The pain may be exacerbated by neck movement or positioning and may include nausea.
This type of headache is actually a disorder that is directly attributed to brain injuries, occurring within 7 days of the injury. It is an umbrella term that describes ongoing pain that occurs on a persistent basis, usually lasting at least 3 months. The symptoms are often a combination of those seen in other types of headaches, though some elements may be stronger than others for you.
In addition to traumatic brain injuries, headaches can be a sign of other problems arising from a car accident. Fractures to the skull, for example, may lead to headaches that are a sign of a serious emergency.
Relieving Headache Pain
Whatever is causing your headache, you will likely be seeking relief when you visit a chiropractor in Jonesboro. You may even visit a clinic prior to the onset of symptoms, to screen your brain early for any injuries and begin treatment that acts to prevent headaches in the future or worsening pain. In most cases, a chiropractor in Jonesboro will help to determine the root cause of your headaches and create a long-term plan for recovery. In the case of serious or life-threatening injuries, they will be able to refer you out for the emergency treatment needed.
At AICA Jonesboro, our chiropractors are experts in the way car accidents impact the body, including the brain and head, and in helping you to address these root causes. If you have recently been in a car accident, contact us today to begin an evaluation.