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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Headache Following a Head Injury
A headache is not unusual immediately following a blow to the head.
The headaches may come and go but usually resolve within 4 weeks after the
injury. As long as the headaches are getting better, they are not likely to
represent a serious problem.
Headaches are classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
An ongoing headache that is getting worse after
a head injury may be caused by swelling or bleeding within
or around the brain or between the brain and the covering of the brain (subdural hematoma). The bleeding may be rapid or slow.
Symptoms may develop within minutes, hours, or occasionally weeks after the
Falls occur more frequently in babies, older adults, and people with
dementia or alcohol or drug abuse problems.
Determining if the person has had a head injury may be difficult or delayed
since he or she may not be able to tell you about the fall or injury. A
subdural hematoma may develop immediately and cause obvious problems, but if
the bleeding is slow, symptoms may not develop for days or even weeks.
A head injury may cause a small amount of bleeding within
the skull that does not cause symptoms for days or even weeks after the injury.
After a head injury, a small blood clot may form and draw fluid from the
tissues around it, which makes the clot slowly get bigger. The increasing size
of the clot causes a slow increase in the pressure within the skull and the
surrounding brain tissue. Usually the first symptom of the increased pressure
is a new, persistent, and increasingly severe headache. Confusion and
sleepiness may also be present.
A persistent headache that is accompanied by other symptoms of a
concussion, such as drowsiness and personality
changes, is more serious. As the pressure increases around the brain, other
symptoms may develop quickly, including dilation of a pupil or paralysis on one
side of the body.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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