Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Headache After a Car Accident

Posted On January 24, 2024 Car Accidents by John Allen Phebus

A car accident can cause a sudden and violent jolt that injures the head, neck, back and other parts of the body. It is common for a crash victim not to initially notice the signs or symptoms of an injury, as adrenaline caused by the crash can work as a pain suppressant. After this wears off, the victim may notice a headache or head pain. It is critical not to ignore a headache after a car accident, as it could signify a serious injury.


Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury. While it is also often the mildest type, concussions can be serious and cause symptoms that may last several weeks or months. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

One of the main symptoms of a concussion is a headache. Patients may also notice sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, or nausea and vomiting. A headache that will not go away could be a sign of a concussion or another type of brain injury. It is important to seek medical care right away.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Car accidents can cause a variety of other traumatic brain injuries in addition to concussions. Examples include bruising (hematoma), swelling, bleeding, contusion, diffuse-axonal injury and coup-contrecoup injury. A headache is a common symptom noted across all types of traumatic brain injuries. If a crash victim notices a headache, it could be a sign of a severe and potentially life-threatening brain injury.

Skull Fracture

Whether or not the brain suffers an injury in a car accident, the skull could still be fractured if the victim hits his or her head. A skull fracture can result in a headache and head pain in the affected area. Some skull fractures are accompanied by brain injuries, such as concussions. Either way, a skull fracture needs emergency medical treatment.


A headache that radiates specifically from the base of the skull after a car accident may point to a neck injury, such as whiplash. Whiplash refers to damage to the soft tissues located in the neck and upper back, including the muscles, tendons or ligaments. Whiplash can cause pain, tenderness, and loss of mobility in the neck or arms. Whiplash injuries need professional medical care.

Muscle Strains and Spasms

A headache after a car accident may also be a sign of muscle strain, sprain or spasm elsewhere in the body. If the force of the accident causes muscle fibers to stretch, tear or become damaged, this can create tension and inflammation in the affected area. An outcome of this may be a persistent dull headache, often combined with muscle pain, tenderness and reduced range of motion.

Psychological Trauma

In some cases, the trauma of a car accident can give the victim a headache that may be noticed in the hours and days following the crash. A headache could be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It may demonstrate the emotional, mental and psychological toll that the traumatic event had on the victim. Addressing these issues with a psychiatrist or psychologist can be essential for the victim’s overall well-being.

Prevent Medical Complications With Immediate Medical Care

If you get involved in a car accident of any type in Glendale, even if it seems minor, go to a doctor right away for a check-up. A doctor may be able to diagnose an injury before symptoms arise. If you notice a chronic or persistent headache after a car crash, have yourself checked out immediately. It could be a sign of serious injury to one or multiple parts of your body. Prompt medical care is essential for treating car accident injuries that can cause a headache.