Characterization of persistent post-traumatic headache and management strategies in adolescents and young adults following mild traumatic brain injury

Simple Futarmal Kothari, Peter Preben Eggertsen, Oana Veronica Frederiksen, Mille Moeller Thastum, Susanne Wulff Svendsen, Astrid Tuborgh, Erhard Trillingsgaard Næss-Schmidt, Charlotte Ulrikka Rask, Andreas Schröder, Helge Kasch, Jørgen Feldbæk Nielsen


Characteristics of persistent post-traumatic headache (PTH) in young individuals are poorly known leading to diagnostic problems and diverse management. We aimed to describe headache phenotypes and self-reported management strategies in young individuals with PTH following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). A comprehensive structured questionnaire was used to evaluate headache phenotypes/characteristics and management strategies to relieve headache in 107, 15-30-year-old individuals with PTH. Around 4 months post-injury, migraine-like headache in combination with tension-type like headache (40%) was the most commonly encountered headache phenotype followed by migraine-like headache (36%). Around 50% reported aura-like symptoms before/during the headache attack. Medication-overuse headache was diagnosed in 10%. Stress, sleep disturbances, and bright lights were the most common trigger factors. More than 80% reported that their headache was worsened by work-related activity and alleviated by rest/lying down. Simple analgesics were commonly used (88%) whereas prophylactic drugs were rarely used (5%). Bedrest and physiotherapy were also commonly used as management strategies by 56% and 34% of the participants, respectively. In conclusion, most young individuals with PTH after mTBI presented with combined migraine-like and tension-type-like headache followed by migraine-like headache, only. Preventive headache medication was rarely used, while simple analgesics and bedrest were commonly used for short-term headache relief.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2209
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)2209
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics/therapeutic use
  • Brain Concussion/complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders/epidemiology
  • Post-Traumatic Headache/epidemiology
  • Self-Management/methods
  • Tension-Type Headache/epidemiology
  • Young Adult


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