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American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000223235.09931.c0
Invited Review: Brain Injury

Characteristics and Treatment of Headache After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Focused Review

Lew, Henry L. MD, PhD; Lin, Pei-Hsin MD; Fuh, Jong-Ling MD; Wang, Shuu-Jiun MD; Clark, David J. MD, PhD; Walker, William C. MD

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Abstract

Lew HL, Lin P-H, Fuh J-L, Wang S-J, Clark DJ, Walker WC: Characteristics and treatment of headache after traumatic brain injury: A focused review. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2006;85:619–627.

Headache is one of the most common complaints in patients with traumatic brain injury. By definition, headache that develops within 1 wk after head trauma (or within 1 wk after regaining consciousness) is referred to as posttraumatic headache (PTH). Although most PTH resolves within 6–12 mos after injury, approximately 18–33% of PTH persists beyond 1 yr. We performed a systematic literature review on this topic and found that many patients with PTH had clinical presentations very similar to tension-type headache (37% of all PTH) and migraine (29% of all PTH). Although there is no universally accepted protocol for treating PTH, many clinicians treat PTH as if they were managing primary headache. As a result of the heterogeneity in the terminology and paucity in prospective, well-controlled studies in this field, there is a definite need for conducting double-blind, placebo-controlled treatment trials in patients with PTH.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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