Demographics and treatment of adolescent posttraumatic headache in a regional concussion clinic

Pediatr Neurol. 2015 May;52(5):493-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2015.01.008. Epub 2015 Jan 22.


Objective: Mild traumatic brain injury affects over one million pediatric patients annually. Minimal data and no guidelines exist regarding treatment of posttraumatic headache (PTH). The current study investigated treatment and outcomes in patients with posttraumatic headache.

Methods: Medical records of all patients (age 13-18 years of age) seen at a regional concussion program from 2006 to 2011 were reviewed. Statistical analysis using SAS 9.2 was conducted to determine the effectiveness of treatment as well as the association of gender, concussion history, and football participation on the duration of posttraumatic headache.

Results: Four hundred subjects met the inclusion criteria. Females were more likely to report posttraumatic headache than males (90% vs. 79%, P = 0.004), more likely to be prescribed amitriptyline (24% vs. 13%, P = 0.004), and had a significantly longer recovery time (median, 80 days versus 34 days, P < 0.001). Seventeen percent of subjects were prescribed amitriptyline for treatment of posttraumatic headache, of which 82% reported a beneficial effect. There was no difference in the percentage of posttraumatic headache or recovery time in football players versus other male athletes from other sport mechanisms.

Conclusion: Females are more likely to report posttraumatic headache than males and also take longer to recover. Amitriptyline appears to be well-tolerated and an effective treatment strategy for patients with posttraumatic headache. Among pediatric patients evaluated in a concussion clinic, there is no difference in the proportion of football players reporting headaches compared with male players of other sports.

Keywords: amitriptyline; concussion; headache; mild traumatic brain injury; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amitriptyline / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Demography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Post-Traumatic Headache* / epidemiology
  • Post-Traumatic Headache* / etiology
  • Post-Traumatic Headache* / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Amitriptyline