One minute you’re driving along, and the next you’ve been struck by a careless driver. You didn’t notice any serious injuries, so you made sure to get the other driver’s contact information, took pictures of the scene, and called a tow truck. Now, after all that, you’re dealing with a persistent headache; and it seems to be getting worse. Is it just the stress of the accident or something more serious?
Experiencing a headache after a car accident is common. It’s also something you should take seriously. While a headache could be a sign of something relatively mild, such as a neck muscle strain, it could also indicate a more serious injury. In some cases, a headache following a motor vehicle crash could be a sign of a concussion or another type of brain injury.
What to Do If You’re Experiencing a Headache After an Accident
If you’re experiencing a headache in the hours, days, or even a week after the accident, don’t put off seeing a doctor. Post-accident headaches can be extremely painful and, in some cases, may even interfere with your day-to-day life. A medical professional can rule out more serious injuries, diagnose your headache, and provide a treatment plan based on the nature and severity of your injury and symptoms.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to a car accident lawyer if you end up needing medical attention after an accident. Medical care can be expensive. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence. In fact, according to Louisiana personal injury law, you don’t have to.
At The Womac Law Firm, our New Orleans car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options. If someone else’s reckless, careless, or wrongful conduct caused the accident, you are entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical bills and all other medical expenses related to the accident, including the cost of medications and treatments. You could also be entitled to compensation for other damages, such as lost income/wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact our firm today to learn more about how our attorneys can help you with your recovery. Your initial consultation is free!
Types of Post-Accident Headaches
Headaches are a common symptom of many types of injuries, ranging from whiplash to head trauma to brain injuries. However, certain types of injuries are more likely to occur than others.
Below are some of the most common types of post-car accident headaches, as well as their symptoms and causes:
- Post-Traumatic Headache: Post-traumatic headaches are one of the most common types of headaches experienced after motor vehicle accidents. In most cases, post-traumatic headaches result from injuries to the head and/or neck during the crash. A cervicogenic post-traumatic headache stems from the neck, whereas a post-concussive headache originates from a concussion. Muscle contractions and spasms, as well as pinched nerves in the upper neck or at the base of the skull, can also lead to post-traumatic headaches. Often, these types of headaches appear days or even weeks after the crash.
- Post-Concussive Headache: A post-concussive headache occurs following a concussion. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden, severe blow to the head or violent jolting movements. Post-concussive headaches/migraines are often categorized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, odors, and movement. These headaches are typically persistent and may worsen over time. A person who has experienced a concussion may experience other symptoms, as well, including confusion, disorientation, ringing in the ears, memory loss, brief loss of consciousness, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, issues with balance, and changes in mood or behavior.
- Whiplash Headache: A post-accident headache can be a sign of whiplash. Whiplash is a very common car accident injury. It occurs when the force of the impact causes a person’s head and neck to move violently forward and backward, often resulting in soft tissue strains in the neck. Signs of whiplash include stiffness in the neck muscles, neck pain, dizziness, fatigue, and headache. Whiplash headaches often originate near the base of the skull/near the top of the neck. They may not become noticeable for a few days or weeks after the crash.
- Muscle Strain Headache: Similar to whiplash, muscle strain is a common car accident injury and one that can lead to a headache in the hours or days after the collision. The force of the crash can lead to a person experiencing tears and other injuries in the soft tissue of the neck and head, leading to muscle spasms. This, in turn, can lead to headaches, tenderness, limited range of motion, swelling, and other symptoms.
- Pinched Nerve Headache: When the spine becomes compressed during an accident, it can lead to “pinching” of the occipital nerve at the base of the skull as well as damage to the nerve roots located in the upper neck. This compression can cause severe pain, tenderness, tingling, and even a “burning” or numb sensation. Pinched nerves can also cause serious headaches, and the area may be tender to the touch. Pinched nerve headaches may also occur with bulging or herniated discs—another common car accident injury.
- Fracture Headache: Sometimes, a car accident victim will suffer a fracture (or break) in the skull or spine. This often leads to intense, highly painful headaches that persist and/or worsen over time. Fracture headaches are often located at or near the injury site as well as near the neck or back of the head. An additional concern with fracture headaches is the risk of brain injury. A fractured skull may lead to or indicate a more serious underlying traumatic brain injury. See a doctor right away if you are experiencing a severe or debilitating headache after an auto accident.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: After a traumatic event, such as a car accident, a persistent or worsening headache can also indicate a traumatic brain injury. While some brain injuries are more apparent, others can be less obvious. For example, you may not realize that you have sustained a concussion or brain contusion, but a painful headache could be a sign that this is the case. More severe brain injuries are likely to be more obvious—but not always. You should always see a medical professional if you are experiencing a headache or other worrisome signs after an accident. If anyone at the accident appears to have suffered a severe head or brain injury, call 911.
Why You Should Always See a Doctor
A headache after a car accident could be a sign of a less-serious injury that may heal on its own. It could also be a sign of something much more serious. In most cases, it’s simply impossible to tell how severe an injury really is without the expertise of a medical professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and it is always better to act quickly. Some injuries can worsen over time without proper treatment, so it is important that you don’t wait to go to the doctor.
It can be tempting to dismiss a headache as not something to worry about, but a post-accident headache could actually indicate a serious, underlying injury. Without a proper diagnosis, you won’t be able to get the critical care you need. Visiting a doctor can also provide you with peace of mind knowing that your injuries—no matter how severe they may be—are being properly treated.
Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Any time you are injured in an accident and you believe someone else was at fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer and learn more about your rights. When another person or party’s negligent or wrongful conduct results in injury, the injured individual has the right to seek financial recovery for their damages.
If you are currently experiencing a headache or other injuries after an accident, call The Womac Law Firm to learn how our New Orleans car accident attorneys can help you fight for the justice and fair compensation you deserve.
Contact us today at 486-9999 for a free, no-obligation consultation.