Headaches associated with whiplash
Headaches are just one symptom that whiplash sufferers may experience but there are many explanations as to why we get headaches, from stress to personal injury.
When it comes to tension-type headaches, medical professionals are uncertain of whether stress is the underlying cause or whether the head pain actually causes stress. There have been many explanations as to why these headaches occur.
While heightened emotions and stress have been associated with tension headaches in the past, some schools of thought state that it is actually most likely that these headaches are caused by muscle contraction in the face, neck and scalp, all of which could by agitated by whiplash injuries.
Chemical changes in the brain, particularly serotonin and endorphins, are another likely cause of tension headaches and specialists have likened this to the biochemical changes which are associated with migraines. Again, there is controversy about whether tautened neck and scalp muscles contribute to headaches suffered by those whose chemical levels have changed or whether these tight muscles indeed result in these chemical changes.
It is also thought that genetics may play a part in whether people develop chronic headaches and that if your parents or siblings experience similar headaches you are also more likely to suffer at some time in the future. However, when it comes to the cause of these headaches there is rarely one definitive cause and many factors may be involved.
The most common triggers of tension headaches include:
- Stress, depression and anxiety
- Sleep deprivation
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor posture
- Hormonal changes
- Personal injury such as whiplash
Tension headaches are either episodic, occurring fewer than 15 days a month, or chronic, occurring far more often. According to one medical health survey, more than 60% of people with episodic tension headaches also experience neck pain.
There are certain circumstances which make the pain caused by tension headaches worse. Those that have experienced head injuries and whiplash injuries, particularly those suffering from neck pain and stiffness are likely to experience more severe headaches.
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If you have been involved in a non-fault accident and have sustained a whiplash injury, then we are here to help.
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