Research Reports - Headaches in soldiers with mild traumatic brain injury

Headache, 8 MAY 2012

Alan G. Finkel MD, Juanita Yerry PA, Ann Scher PhD, Young S. Choi MD

Objective.— The primary goal of this study was to use headache criteria-based classification for headache types described by service members.

Background.— Headache is common in soldiers returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. To date, few papers have provided detailed descriptions of these headaches.

Methods.— The first 25 patients seen by a certified headache specialist at the Traumatic Brain Injury Center at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC, between August 2008 and December 2009 are reported.

Results.— Service members described a total of 55 headaches. Most, but not all, headaches began within 1 week after injury. Migraine type was most common. Aura occurred in 5 soldiers. Continuous headaches were described in 88%. Uncommon headache types including cluster type were diagnosed. Additional symptoms and service outcomes are described.

Conclusions.— We conclude that headaches occurring after various types of head injury, including explosions, can be assigned primary and secondary headache diagnoses using standard classifications not necessarily available to larger survey-based studies.

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