August 23, 2011

Headaches Common in Women

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Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Women more likely to have headaches in the year after a traumatic brain injury

(dailyRx News) It can take a while to get back to normal even after a mild traumatic brain injury. Regardless of severity, headaches are common in the year after such an injury.

This is especially true for women and patients who had a history of headaches prior to a traumatic brain injury, though 71 percent of patients have headaches in the year following a traumatic brain injury regardless of gender or headache history.

"Ask your doctor about managing headaches."

Jeanne Hoffman, a senior author from the department of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington, said headaches were a frequent consequence of a traumatic brain injury. She said that they occur in a much larger percent of the population than previously reported.

About 23 percent of study participants complained of a chronic headache in the year following a traumatic brain injury compared with about 4 percent in the general population.

Women and those with a prior history of headaches were more likely to report a headache, but there was no association between severity of the brain injury and incidence of headaches.

Researchers followed 452 patients admitted to seven inpatient rehabilitation centers after a traumatic brain injury from February 2008 to June 2009. The patients were assessed through interviews prior to discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and again three months, six months and 12 months after the injury.

About 28 percent of new headaches were not reported until six to 12 months after the injury. At each reassessment, about 41 percent of participants reported having headaches.

Researchers suggested that better understanding the type of headaches, timing of headaches and risk factors for them could aid doctors in preventing or reducing the severity of such headaches.

The research was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
August 22, 2011

Last Updated:
August 23, 2011