Strategies for Managing Headaches After a Concussion

Headaches are among the most common symptoms following a concussion and can significantly impact daily life and recovery. At Revivo, our Toronto-based physiotherapy and neurology clinic, we understand the challenges posed by post-concussion headaches and emphasize a comprehensive approach to management. This post outlines effective strategies for managing headaches after a concussion, aimed at reducing discomfort and supporting overall recovery.

Understanding Post-Concussion Headaches

Post-concussion headaches can vary in intensity, frequency, and duration, often resembling migraine or tension-type headaches. They may be triggered or worsened by factors such as physical exertion, screen time, stress, and exposure to loud noises or bright lights.

Initial Steps for Managing Headaches

1. Medical Evaluation: Consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to rule out other causes of headaches and to receive personalized advice. A tailored approach based on the headache type and individual symptoms is often most effective.

2. Rest and Recovery: In the early stages following a concussion, rest is important to reduce the brain’s stress and facilitate healing. Gradually resuming activities based on symptom tolerance is key.

Lifestyle Modifications

1. Hydration: Maintaining adequate hydration is essential. Dehydration can trigger or exacerbate headaches.

2. Nutrition: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support overall health and potentially reduce headache frequency.

3. Sleep: Establishing a regular sleep schedule and ensuring quality sleep can help manage headaches. Avoid screens before bedtime to improve sleep quality.

4. Stress Management: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and gentle yoga can help reduce stress-related headaches.

Pharmacological Approaches

1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Pain Relievers: OTC medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be recommended by healthcare providers for managing headache pain. It’s important to use these medications as directed to avoid overuse, which can lead to medication-overuse headaches.

2. Prescription Medications: In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary to manage severe or persistent headaches. A healthcare provider can advise on the best options based on individual needs.

Non-Pharmacological Therapies

1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy, especially cervical spine therapy, can be effective for headaches stemming from neck tension or injury.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help manage the pain and stress associated with post-concussion headaches, teaching coping strategies to reduce their impact.

3. Acupuncture: Some individuals find relief from headaches through acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice involving the insertion of fine needles into specific body points.

Activity Management

1. Gradual Return to Activities: Slowly increasing activity levels while avoiding activities that exacerbate headaches is crucial. Monitoring symptoms and adjusting activities accordingly can help manage headache severity.

2. Screen Time: Limiting screen time and taking regular breaks during screen use can prevent headaches triggered by visual strain.


Managing headaches after a concussion involves a combination of medical advice, lifestyle modifications, and possibly pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. At Revivo, we are dedicated to supporting our patients through comprehensive care plans tailored to address post-concussion symptoms, including headaches. By adopting a multi-faceted approach to headache management, individuals recovering from concussions can achieve greater comfort and progress in their overall recovery journey.

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