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How Serious Is a Headache After an Accident?

Did you know that more than half of all people involved in a car accident are injured? Headaches are one of the most common ailments following an accident and should be taken very seriously.

Our team at Impact Med Zephyrhills discusses the seriousness of a headache following a car accident, and when it could be signs of an emergency.

Headaches After a Car Accident

Due to the trauma that can occur to your body during an accident, there are many reasons why you might have a headache immediately or hours after a car accident. These include:


A car accident can cause your head to jerk back and forth causing damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. Whiplash is quite painful and will limit your ability to bend or twist your neck. You might get a headache due to tension in your neck that is putting strain on your cervical nerves.

Learn More> The Dangers of Untreated Whiplash

Post Traumatic Headache

These headaches are caused by trauma to the head and neck during an accident and can include neck pain that radiates to the head as a headache. The headache might appear within a few hours or even days after the accident, but it could be delayed even longer due to adrenaline and shock.

Though post-traumatic headaches are common following an accident and could be a response to simple injuries, they could also be the symptoms of brain damage and should be evaluated as soon as possible.


A concussion occurs when your head collides against the inside of your skull. This can occur during a car accident when your head jerks suddenly or if you hit your head against the window or dashboard.

Concussions are not usually life-threatening but can cause a lot of head pain. If you have the symptoms of a concussion, it is important to seek treatment immediately to be sure that your brain is not severely injured.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Limited amnesia
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Herniated Disc

The impact of an accident can put so much force on your spine that it causes a disc to herniate. When this occurs, the fluid from the disc bursts out and exerts pressure on the nerves that run through your spinal cord. This pressure is painful and can cause headaches as well as pain in your arms and shoulders.

When is a Headache an Emergency?

Sometimes, a headache or concussion symptoms can be confused with brain injuries or hemorrhaging, which is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately following a car accident.

Skull fractures can be a source of a headache after a car accident as well. Symptoms of a skull fracture include:

  • Swelling or bruising on the head
  • Intense headaches
  • Pain in the skull
  • Stiff neck
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

While skull fractures are not always life-threatening, they can cause a lot of pain and in turn, compromise your skull’s ability to protect your brain.

Don’t hesitate to seek medical care if you have any of the symptoms of a skull fracture.

Don’t Tough it Out

Even if your headache is not severe, or responds well to over-the-counter pain medication, you should still seek medical care if you have been in a recent accident. Don’t wait for your symptoms to get better or go away. Your body is telling your something, and it is important to listen.

Learn More> 6 Common Delayed Car Crash Injuries

Address Your Car Accident-Related Headache

Though you may think it is normal to have a headache post-accident, headaches can have a range of causes including something as benign as stress, to something more severe life brain damage.

Don’t wait. If you have been in a car accident, call Impact Med Zephyrhills for a checkup—especially if you have a headache. We can create a treatment plan unique to you with primary care, chiropractic care, manual, pain management, and more!

Call us today to get started; 813-737-7965!