U.S. veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injuries may struggle with severe headaches years later, a new study finds. The study included 172 vets who served in Afghanistan or Iraq between 2 and 11 years before the study began. Half suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during deployment; half did not.
The researchers assessed the number of vets with the worst headaches, which were described as “disabling” or “severe.” A disabling headache was one so bad the veteran stopped all activity and was bedridden. A severe headache meant the vet could do only the most essential tasks; activity decreased by 50 percent to 90 percent. Disabling or severe headaches were far more common among vets who had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Three out of four had such headaches, compared to one out of four vets without TBI. This difference lasted for up to 11 years.