Headaches After Traumatic Brain Injury Affecting Children, Adolescent

Child experience chronic headache after TBI
Every year, more than half a million U.S. children suffer from traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Adults experience headaches after head injuries, but what symptoms do children experience? Researchers conducted a study to investigate this question. The study look at the headaches of children ages 5 to 17, three and 12 months after mild, moderate or severe TBI.

The results showed that the risk of headache was higher in adolescent ages 13 to 17 years old – and in girls specifically.

The results show that three months after a mild TBI, 43 percent of children report headaches, compared to 37 percent of children who had a moderate to severe TBI. Headache can be a significant issue for some children ages five to 12-years-old after a TBI.

The traumatic brain injury study was led by Heidi Blume, MD, MPH, from Seattle Children’s Research Institute and principal investigator Fred Rivara, MD, MPH, of Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

The research concludes that TBI reactions are different for children, adolescents and adults, with gender being another big difference.

Every year, so many children experience TBI, meaning that there are many struggling with headaches.

Dr. Blume says that since there is very little research done on chronic headache post-TBI in children, it is difficult to know whether there are similarities in the cause of headaches.

"What parents need to know is that some children with TBI may have headaches for several weeks or months after TBI, but that most recover with time," said Dr. Blume. "And significantly, girls and teenagers appear to be at particular risk for headaches after mild TBI. Parents should be aware of what to expect after mild TBI, which may come from a sports-related injury."

If you believe your child has experienced a concussion, consult with your medical care provider before allowing them to continue with physical activity.

There are a few steps recommended for parents to follow in the case of headaches in children and adolescents:

• Get regular and sufficient sleep (Eight to nine hours/night)

• Eat regular and healthy meals, including breakfast and drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated

• Avoid things that make headaches worse (loud noise, bright lights, stress, skipping meals, sleep deprivation)

• Manage stress and find ways to relax

• Get appropriate activity, rest immediately after TBI, but if symptoms persist for several weeks your care provider may recommend supervised regular low impact exercise such as walking that does not exacerbate symptoms

Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney


If your child has experienced TBI due to the fault of someone's negligence, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. Lawyer Chris Davis offers a free no obligation consultation. Call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 to schedule an appointment today.