The most common complaint that people have after a car accident is a throbbing headache. This may be caused due to a variety of reasons. An individual who already had a headache prior to the accident will complain of worsening of the headache.


Some people may experience a headache even days or weeks after the car accident. Since there can be various sources of the headaches, it is advised that the individual gets a complete checkup to identify the source of the headache and get a treatment plan for Headaches after a Car Accident.

Causes & Types of Headaches After a Car Accident?


Common Causes of Headaches After a Car Accident

There are numerous ways with which an individual can get injured in a car accident resulting in persistent throbbing headaches for days to weeks after the accident. The most common cause of such persistent headaches is a blow or injury to the head which is also called as a whiplash injury. It is not as serious as a traumatic head injury but significant enough to cause the individual persistent throbbing headaches. The severity of the pain due to whiplash injuries depends on the extent of the injury and the force with which the head was struck at the time of the accident.

Types of Headaches After A Car Accident

Some of the types of headaches that an individual can experience after a car accident are:


Posttraumatic Headache: This is a type of headache which is caused as a result of trauma or injury to the head and neck at the time of the accident. Posttraumatic headaches may originate from the neck and are called Cervicogenic Headaches.

Post-Concussive Headache: This is also known by the name of migraine headaches and is caused as a result of concussion suffered at the time of the car accident. A concussion occurs when there is a blow to the head or there is a sudden jolt or vigorous movement of the head or neck. These headaches may be associated with nausea, vomiting, photosensitivity, sound sensitivity, and sensitivity to certain smells. A concussion will be accompanied by certain other symptoms like memory loss, confusion, irritability, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and tinnitus.

Muscle Contraction Headaches: This is one of the most common forms of headaches that occur after a car accident. These types of headaches are caused when the muscles of the neck, head, and upper back get injured as a result of the accident in which there is a sudden jerk or jolt to the neck and upper back area. It can tear or strain a soft tissue or muscle and cause headaches. These types of headaches are associated with decreased range of motion of the neck, tenderness around the neck region, and swelling.

Whiplash Headache: These types of headaches are again common after a car accident. A whiplash injury is caused when there is a sudden jerk or jolt on the head and neck forcing the head and neck to move too far forwards or backwards. This sudden jerking motion can cause a strain to the soft tissues and cause a headache. These types of headaches usually start at the base of the skull and may be accompanied by neck stiffness and soreness. These types of headaches may start about a week to 10 days after the initial injury in the car accident.

Fracture Headache: Fracture Headaches are caused when a bone of the head or neck gets fractured during the car accident. Pain with such types of types of headaches is usually at the back of the head and neck. Along with persistent headaches, there may be chances of a brain injury with these types of headaches. The severity of the symptoms depends on the extent of the fracture. These types of headaches may be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, problems with speech and neck stiffness.

Occipital Neuralgia Headache: This type of headache occurs when a nerve in the cervical spine or the occipital nerve gets pinched as a result of the car accident. A compressed nerve will cause pain accompanied by tenderness, burning sensation, numbness and tingling from the base of the neck moving up towards the head region.

Why is it Important To See a Physician Immediately After a Car Accident?

It is quite common for headaches after a car accident to appear a few days after the initial injury. In some cases, headaches may be a symptom of some other serious injury that may have occurred at the time of the accident. Thus it is important for an individual who has met with a car accident to consult with a physician to rule out potentially serious injuries to the head or other areas of the body and get referred to a specialist to treat the underlying condition that may be causing Headaches after a Car Accident.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 3, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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