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Incidence rates for concussion will continue to grow along with the increasing awareness and improvements in diagnosis. Headache is a hallmark feature of post-concussion syndrome. Post-concussion headache (PCH) is highly prevalent in the military with as high as 97.8% reporting having headaches1. occurring in up to 85% of athletes following 2-4. In the Military and sports, return to duty or play guidelines state that a soldier/player should be asymptomatic before returning to physical activity. However, headache following concussion is commonly dismissed. PCH can be a new headache resulting from head trauma or worsening of pre-existing headache disorder.

In many patients, it resolves in three months; in others, it persists for much longer. Acute PCH is most likely due to acute inflammatory mechanisms. If headache after concussion is indicative of ongoing neuroinflammation, then headache is an important clinical sign that the neurological system is healing and there is a continued susceptibility to damage. The development of chronic PCH may be due to mechanisms other than abnormalities within several areas of the trigeminovascular system are common in migraine and other headache disorders. In our previous study, changes in the trigeminovascular system correlated with mechanical allodynia (cutaneous hypersensitivity in response to normally innocuous stimuli) in a model of focal traumatic brain injury5. The goal of this study was to characterize the acute neurological and histochemical changes indicative of concussion, particularly headache-like symptoms, implementing a rat model of closed head injury (CHI).

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