Headaches in soldiers with mild traumatic brain injury: Findings and phenomenologic descriptions

Alan G. Finkel*, Juanita Yerry, Ann Scher, Young S. Choi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective. - The primary goal of this study was to use headache criteria-based classification for headache types described by service members. Background. - Headache is common in soldiers returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.To date, few papers have provided detailed descriptions of these headaches. Methods. - The first 25 patients seen by a certified headache specialist at the Traumatic Brain Injury Center at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC, between August 2008 and December 2009 are reported. Results. - Service members described a total of 55 headaches. Most, but not all, headaches began within 1 week after injury. Migraine type was most common. Aura occurred in 5 soldiers. Continuous headaches were described in 88%. Uncommon headache types including cluster type were diagnosed. Additional symptoms and service outcomes are described. Conclusions. - We conclude that headaches occurring after various types of head injury, including explosions, can be assigned primary and secondary headache diagnoses using standard classifications not necessarily available to larger survey-based studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-965
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Blast
  • Continuous headache
  • Headache diagnosis
  • Migraine
  • Post-traumatic headache
  • Traumatic brain injury


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