Objective: To investigate the impact of having headaches prior to traumatic brain injury (TBI) on headache features and long-term patient health outcomes. Background and Methods: This was an exploratory analysis of patients with TBI who were enrolled in the American Registry for Migraine Research (ARMR), a multicenter, prospective, longitudinal patient registry composed of patients with International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (ICHD-3)–defined headache diagnoses. The ARMR study enrolled 2,707 patients between February 1, 2016 and May 6, 2020, 565 of whom qualified for this analysis. Those with headaches prior to their TBI were compared to those without headaches prior to their TBI for ICHD-3 diagnoses, headache frequency and intensity, headache-related disability (Migraine Disability Assessment score), symptoms of anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder [GAD-7]), depression (two items from Patient Health Questionnaire-9), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cutaneous allodynia (12-item Allodynia Symptom Checklist [ASC-12]), cognitive dysfunction (Migraine Attacks Subjective Cognitive Impairments Scale [Mig-SCog]), pain interference (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System-Pain Interference), and work productivity (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment). Results: Among 565 participants with TBI, 350 had headaches prior to their TBI. Those with pre-TBI headaches were less likely to receive a diagnosis of post-traumatic headache (PTH; 14/350 [4.0%] vs. 21/215 [9.8%], p = 0.006), even though 25.7% reported new or worsening headaches within 7 days of their TBI. Those with pre-TBI headaches had higher ASC-12 scores (2.4 ± 3.5 vs. 1.8 ± 3.4, p = 0.030), Mig-SCog scores (9.3 ± 4.7 vs. 8 ± 4.9, p = 0.004), and GAD-7 scores (6.9 ± 5.1 vs. 6.2 ± 5.4, p = 0.039), and were more likely to have a migraine diagnosis (335/350 [95.7%] vs. 192/215 [89.3%], p = 0.003). Conclusions: Those with headaches prior to TBI are less likely to receive a diagnosis of PTH. They have more severe symptoms of cutaneous allodynia, cognitive impairment, and generalized anxiety. This analysis suggests that pre-TBI headaches might impact post-TBI headache diagnoses and associated features.
- post-concussion syndrome
- post-traumatic headache (PTH)
- traumatic brain injury (TBI)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology