Post-traumatic Headaches in the Military Population: Initial Management and Alternate Approaches

Jan. 16, 2013; 1-2:30 p.m. (ET)


More than 262,000 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000. Of those cases, more than 75 percent were classified as a mild TBI/concussion. Headache is one of the most common symptoms after a concussion and may persist for months to years after injury.

A recent study of 978 U.S. soldiers who screened positive for a deployment-related concussion upon returning from Iraq or Afghanistan found 20 percent met criteria for chronic daily headache and 78 percent had episodic headache. Soldiers with chronic daily headache had significantly higher average scores on the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) checklist compared to soldiers with episodic headaches.

There are no FDA-approved medications for post-traumatic headache and only two — Botox and Topamax — are approved for chronic migraine. The majority of service members who have chronic post-traumatic headache/post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are already on numerous medications for pain, sleep and mood, and are reluctant to add more. Physicians also are concerned about the possibility of drug interactions and/or side effects.

Service members with mTBI/PTSD almost always have numerous co-morbid medical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual issues that must be addressed for treatment to be successful. In this webinar, we will discuss the multi-disciplinary approach we use to address post-traumatic headaches, as well as specific complementary treatments, such as acupuncture, Qi Gong and mind-body skills.


Marc S. Husid, M.D.
Chief, Outpatient Neurology, Headache Specialist, Acupuncture Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Fort Gordon, Ga. Dr. Marc S. Husid is a board-certified neurologist with 30 years of neurological practice experience. He is an active member of The American Headache Society, The National Headache Society, and The Southern Headache Society, and has participated in numerous postgraduate courses and scientific meetings on headache topics. In 2006, he was among the first 105 Physicians to attain subspecialty board certification in headache management. The experience gained from seeing hundreds of service members with post-traumatic headaches, post-traumatic stress, and related co-morbidities, made it apparent that the traditional western approach to these patients had many limitations. To find more effective treatments, Dr. Husid completed the initial and advanced professional training programs in Mind-Body Medicine at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and has studied acupuncture with Dr. Tsun-Nin Lee and Dr. Wei-Chieh Young. Dr. Husid has lectured widely to professional and lay audiences on headache and related disorders.
John L. Rigg, M.D.
TBI Program Director Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Fort Gordon, Ga. Dr. John L. Rigg, FAAPMR, is actively involved in research and his current projects include investigating the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen to improve function after brain injury, developing a method of obtaining objective sleep data, and the use of omega-3 fatty acids to accelerate and improve recovery. He also has published on the use of nutritional supplementation and nutriceuticals to improve brain function. Recent publications include an article on concussion issues specific to military personnel in the journal of the American Academy of PM&R and a book chapter on mTBI and PTSD in War Trauma and Its Wake: Expanding the Circle of Healing recently released by Routledge Publishing.


Sherray L. Holland, PA-C
TBI Clinical Educator Office of Clinical Training and Education Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

Continuing Education

This webinar has been approved for the following:

1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
1.5 Credits by the American Psychological Association
1.5 Nursing contact hours as a co-provider with the American Nurses Credentialing Center
1.75 CE Contact hours for Physical Therapist and Assistant approved by the State of Illinois
1.75 CE Contact hours for Occupational Therapist and Assistant approved by the State of Illinois
1.5 CEHs for Social Work approved by the Missouri Division of Professional Registration Committee for Social Work

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