Over the last few years, long-needed evaluation of our military for Migraine and other headache disorders exacerbated or caused by event and / or circumstances of being deployed have been conducted and the results published.
Additionally, more attention has been paid to head and neck trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A new study shows nearly half of U.S. soldiers returning home from combat with headaches problematic enough to require specialized care also have a history of mild head trauma.
"To determine the incidence and types of head or neck trauma and headache characteristics among US Army soldiers evaluated for chronic headaches at a military neurology clinic following a combat tour in Iraq."2
- Conducted with 81 (73 male and 8 female) U. S. Army soldiers who had served in the same brigade.
- All were evaluated at the same military neurology clinic for the complaint of recurrent headaches following a combat tour in Iraq of one-year.
Soldiers were eligible to participate in the study if
- they experienced headaches during deployment and
- continued to experience headaches for 3 or more months after returning from Iraq.
- All were evaluated using a standardized interview and evaluation to determine if the had experienced head or neck trauma during their deployment, the type of trauma, and the type and characteristics of their headaches.
- 33 of 81 (41%) of the soldiers in the study reported head or neck trauma while deployed to Iraq.
- 18 (22%) of the study participants had concussion without loss of consciousness; 15 (19%) had concussion with loss of consciousness.
- 10 study participants also had an accompanying traumatic neck injury.
- None of the study participants had moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- 67% of the head and neck injuries were attributable to exposure to blasts; 15% attributed to blunt trauma; 18% attributed to other explosive causes.
- In 12 of 33 (36%) of the participants with head or neck injury, headaches began within one week of the reported trauma.
- 12 (36%) of study participants reported worsening of pre-existing headaches following trauma.
- In 78% of the participants with neck or head trauma, headaches were classified as "Migraine-type."
- The types of headache, severity, duration, and the disability caused by the headaches were similar in participants with and without reported head or neck trauma.