Concussions and Headaches :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Concussions and Headaches

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a complex brain injury. It is caused by a blow to the head or to the body that puts large forces on the brain. Concussion symptoms improve or resolve by 7 to 10 days in most patients. However, for reasons that are not well understood, children and adolescents may take more time to recover. A concussion can have many different symptoms. These include:

  • Headache, dizziness, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity
  • Cognitive changes (loss of consciousness, amnesia after the injury, confusion, feeling “in a fog,” slowed reaction times, and a change in the ability to focus)
  • Emotional symptoms (mood swings, depression, anxiety)
  • Behavioral changes (irritability, change in appetite, change in personality)
  • Sleep disturbance

If a concussion is suspected, the child should be evaluated by a trained medical provider who is familiar with concussions. The child should stop activity right away and should not resume activity until he or she is evaluated and cleared. There is a step-by-step process to return to daily activities, school and sports. The primary care provider, athletic trainer, sports medicine provider or neurologist will monitor symptoms and make treatment recommendations.

What is a Post-Traumatic or Post-Concussive Headache?

A post-traumatic or post-concussive headache is a headache that begins within 7 days after a head injury. For most people, these stop with other concussion symptoms. If the headaches continue for a longer time, they are often treated like other types of chronic headaches.

Headache Clinic

The Nationwide Children's Headache Clinic accepts referrals from primary care physicians and pediatric specialists. Call (614) 722-6200, (877) 722-6220 or click on the link below. 

Request a Headache Clinic Appointment »

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School stress is a significant cause of fall headaches in children and teenagers.
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