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For further information, see CMDT Part 24-01: Headache

Key Features

  • A variety of nonspecific symptoms may follow closed head injury, regardless of whether consciousness is lost

Clinical Findings

  • Onset and course of headache

    • Usually appears within a day or so following injury

    • May worsen over the ensuing weeks

    • Gradually subsides

  • Duration of symptoms

    • Relates in part to the severity of the original injury

    • However, even mild injuries may be followed by symptoms that persist for months

  • Usually a constant dull ache, with superimposed throbbing that may be localized, lateralized, or generalized

  • Sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or scintillating scotomas


  • Special investigations are usually not helpful

  • Electroencephalogram may show minor nonspecific changes

  • Electronystagmogram sometimes suggests either peripheral or central vestibulopathy

  • CT scans or MRI of the head usually are normal


  • Headaches often respond to simple analgesics

  • Severe headaches may necessitate preventive treatment as outlined for migraine

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