Headaches After Whiplash

headacheNeck pain is the second most common symptom experienced after a whiplash, reported by over 90% of patients.

Like neck pain, headache also can have a variety of different causes from an auto collision. The first step in treating post-traumatic headache is to diagnose the root cause of the pain. The following sections describe the different causes of headache and how to approach treatment.

Headaches Caused by Neck Injury

Cervicogenic headaches—or headaches that originate in the cervical spine—is a very common source of headache after an auto collision. Chiropractic can be especially helpful in treating these types of headaches.

Nerve Injury

Sometimes the nerves of the neck can be injured during the violent motion of an auto collision. These damaged nerves can result in headache.

Muscular Injury or Tension

Muscular tension is another common source of headache after whiplash. Myofascial tension can be caused by referred pain, direct injury to the muscles, or stress.


Migraine-like headaches are reported by some patients after an auto injury. It’s likely that these migraine-like headaches are just a more severe form of cervicogenic or tension-type headache.

Brain Injury

Headaches are a common symptom of brain injury, which can occur during an auto collision—even when there is no direct head impact.