Traumatic Brain Injury

Acquired Head Injuries an Increasing Source of Headache?

The Centers for Disease Control have recently released updated information regarding traumatic brain injury in the report, "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Death." This report tracks cases of traumatic brain injury that result in either death or a hospital visit.  From this data, the leading cause of TBI was falls, and the second most common cause was due to motor vehicle-traffic injury. About 10% of the TBI cases were due to assault.Motor vehicle-related injury was the primary cause of death due to head injury. 

The rate of traumatic brain injuries has increased 21% since 2004 according to the CDC data, although the population has grown only 6.3%. Groups at highest risk were children from birth to age four, and adults aged 75 years and older. Adolescents aged 15-19 years were at somewhat increased risk over other groups. In all age ranges, males were more affected by TBI than were females.

The direct medical costs in addition to the indirect costs of TBI, from things such as lost productivity in the workplace, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the US in 2000. With the rate of TBI increasing, these costs will also increase accordingly.

There are surprisingly few well-done long-term studies of headache in mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), but consensus has been reached that headache is common in the initial phases of MTBI. Thus, an increase in the rate of posttraumatic headache can be expected if the rate of TBI is increasing.

References:

1 Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, Coronado VG. Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths 2002–2006. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2010.

2 Carroll LJ, Cassidy JD, Peloso PM, Borg J. von Holst H, Holm L, Paniak C, Pepin M. Prognosis for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Results of the WHO Collaborating Centre Task Force on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. J Rehabil Med 2004; Suppl. 43: 84–105.

3 Finkelstein E, Corso P, Miller T and Associates. The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States. New York (NY): Oxford University Press; 2006.