Post-traumatic Headache and Migraine or Tension Headache – What’s The Difference?

November 3, 2009 by dean · Leave a Comment 

It was shown that headache sufferers had neck disorders after concussion

Research showed post concussion headache sufferers had neck disorders

In a recent study of 348 patients who had experienced concussion it was found that ongoing headache after 3 months was not caused by head or brain injury – but resembled Tension Headache or migraine possibly brought on by stress.1

Other research has shown sufferers of headache following concussion have significant disorders of their upper necks.2

These studies along with surveys which show that post-traumatic headache can be classified as either migraine or tension-type headache3-5 suggest that the underlying mechanism of migraine or tension headache is a neck disorder/injury.

Just more evidence indicating that neck disorders are likely to be the source of not only post-traumatic headache but also migraine and tension-type headache.



(5. De Benedittis G, De Santis A. Chronic post-traumatic headache: clinical, psychopathological features and outcome determinants. J Neurosug Sci 1983;27(3):177-186

3. Haas DC. Chronic post-traumatic headaches classified and compared with natural headaches. Cephalalgia 1996;16:486-93

1. Stovnera L, Schradera L, Mickeviciene D, Surkienec D, Sand T. Headache after concussion. Eur J Neurol. 2009;16:112-120.

2. Treleaven J, Jull G, Atkinson L. Cervical musculoskeletal dysfunction in post-concussional headache. Cephalalgia 1994;14:273-9

4. Weiss HD, Stern BJ, Goldberg J. Post-traumatic migraine: chronic migraine precipitated by minor head or neck trauma. Headache 1991;31(7):451-456)

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About dean
Consultant Headache & Migraine Physiotherapist; International Teacher; Director, The Headache Clinic & Watson Headache Institute; PhD Candidate Murdoch University, Western Australia; Adjunct Lecturer, Masters Program, Physiotherapy School, University of South Australia; MAppSc(Res) GradDipAdvManipTher Experienced health practitioners trained in the Watson Headache Approach perform the examination and treatment techniques developed by Dean Watson. These techniques are based on his extensive experience of 7000 headache patients (21,000 hours) over 21 years and are now taught internationally. For your nearest practitioner who has completed training in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’ please refer to the ‘Practitioner Directory’.

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