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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 concussion or mTBI. In the Military and sports, return to duty or play guidelines state that a soldier/player should be asymptomatic before returning to physical activity4. However, headache following concussion is commonly dismissed.

PCH can be a new headache resulting from head trauma or worsening of pre-existing headache disorder. Incidence rates for concussion will continue to grow along with the increasing awareness and improvements in diagnosis. In many patients, PCH resolves in three months; however, in some cases, it persists for much longer5. 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. Understanding the post – concussion symptomology, including headache, is important for concussion management, as well as preventing chronic disorders from developing.

Abnormalities within several areas of the trigeminovascular system are common in migraine and other headache disorders. In our previous studies, changes in the trigeminovascular system correlated with headache – like behavior (mechanical allodynia) in murine6 and rat6-7 models of focal traumatic brain injury, controlled cortical impact (CCI). The goal of this study was to compare changes in the trigeminal pain pathway and related behavior between a mild CCI injury (with focal diffuse features) and a mild closed head injury (CHI) injury (with diffuse injury only).