The onset of a headache days after a fall with no direct trauma to the head might be the result of a hyperextension-hyperflexion whiplash-like injury, a concussion, or both. In either case, direct trauma to the head isn’t necessary.
The Hyperextension-Hyperflexion Injury
When you slip and then fall backwards, your neck muscles instinctively tighten in an effort to keep your head from hitting the floor. It requires significant muscle strength in the neck to protect the skull in that single second. The actual hyper-extension-hyperflexion injury occurs immediately before the neck muscles tighten. When they tighten, some muscles might already be strained, but other injured muscles might not present immediate symptoms. Over the time of a few days, those muscles might become symptomatic too. That’s when the problem presents itself on two levels. The victim experiences symptoms directly connected with the hyperflexion-hyperextension injury, and he or she also suffers a chronic state of neck muscle tension from muscles that never returned to their relaxed state before the fall. That can all result in tension headaches.
Most whiplash injury victims recover in six to eight weeks with conservative therapy. That therapy is wide ranging. As per the Mayo Clinic, treatment options include:
- Rest and application of ice or heat six times a day
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain
- Prescription medications for pain and relaxing affected muscles
- Trigger point injections
- Exercise for stretching and increased range of motion
- Physical therapy for increased range of motion
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that result from the brain being thrown against the inside of the skull. The brain might bruise, or brain cells might shear or otherwise become damaged from scraping against the skull or twisting. Shearing can result in permanent brain lesions. Concussions usually only interfere with brain functioning for a short time, but if the concussion is severe enough, the victim must be closely monitored. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a TBI can be debilitating because of long-term effects on a victim’s motor, behavioral, social and vocational functioning. Signs and symptoms of a concussion from a fall without actual head trauma might include:
- Blurred vision
- Nausea, vomiting, and disorientation
- Short-term memory loss
Treatment usually includes rest and an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headaches. The prognosis is generally good for a person who has had only one mild concussion. A second concussion can present a dangerous and possibly fatal scenario.
The Bonneau Law Firm is dedicated to helping victims of injuries that were caused by the carelessness and negligence of others. We have the legal and trial skills along with the resources necessary to obtain full and fair compensation for them. Insurance companies, their lawyers, judges, and juries respect us across the state. Contact The Bonneau Law Firm right away at (972) 325-1100 for a free consultation and case evaluation on any slip-and-fall neck or traumatic brain injury.