Headache is one of the most common results of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
in children and adolescents, affecting up to 90% of this population. Although
many of the headaches that develop immediately after the injury will resolve
quickly, some children will report chronic headaches. Chronic headaches
tend to result after a mild TBI rather than moderate or severe TBI.
Unfortunately, there are no evidence-based headache management guidelines
for children with TBI. A recent research review suggested that post-traumatic
pediatric headache can be very difficult to treat, and that practices
vary dramatically from one doctor to another. The best management guideline
for now is to take each case individually, considering the child’s
lifestyle—to include school accommodations, psychological support,
and pharmacological options.
Family members can serve as advocates for their children, ensuring that
a thorough evaluation is completed and that treatment plans are individualized
and appropriate. Regular follow-up appointments will ensure that any changes
to the headaches are noted and managed.