I had a mild head injury almost 14 years ago but didn’t have it medically checked out at the time. However, I have a large dent in the back of my head where the impact occurred, and if I touch the area it gives me a blinding headache. Obviously, the brain injury didn’t end up being life threatening, but why is that area of my head still be hurting so many years after the fact?
Your symptoms are consistent with an injury to a nerve in the back of your scalp. Occipital neuralgia is caused by an injury to the occipital nerve. The occipital nerve comes out of the cervical spine and gives sensation to the back of the scalp. With an injury to the skull that left a dent, injury to this nerve is easy to imagine.
You should consider seeing a physician familiar with traumatic brain injury. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, medication and/or nerve blocking injections can be effective in treating this problem.
Dr. Brian Greenwald is medical director of Center for Head Injuries and the associate medical director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. He is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.