Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a prevalent, serious health problem with potentially long-lasting effects. Each year in the United States, 1.7 million people sustain a TBI that requires medical attention. Wars in the Middle East have led to more than 250,000 brain injuries among members of the military since 2000. Worldwide, TBI is the leading cause of chronic disability among young adults and children. Post-traumatic headache (PTH) is the most frequent symptom after a TBI.

One in five soldiers who sustained a concussion in Afghanistan or Iraq developed headaches on a daily or near daily basis, a new study has shown. Concussion is a common injury for those fighting in Afghanistan and was for soldiers in Iraq as well. Headache frequently follows a concussion, and a new study conducted at the Madigan Traumatic Brain Injury Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., has shown just how pervasive post-concussion headache is for wounded U.S. troops.

Combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with longer-term emotional, cognitive and physical symptoms, including headache. Surprisingly, according to the Archives of General Psychiatry, concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, experienced by soldiers does not appear to have the same long-lasting negative effects. Previous studies have shown that soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have nearly double the rates of migraine compared to the general population, as well as higher incidences of PTSD, depression and anxiety.

A notable number of New York City area residents began suffering from headaches after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. A study of patients enrolled at the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Environmental Health Center found that 44% experienced new persistent headaches after 9/11 trauma.

While Veterans’ Day reminds us to honor the brave soldiers who fought so hard for our country, lets not forget that many of them are still fighting in a different way today. A new study from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that veterans who suffered physical injuries or developed post-traumatic stress disorder after combat in Iraq or Afghanistan may suffer recurrent headaches.

Migraineurs are significantly more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population, according to a study reported in the April edition of the journal Headache. While approximately 8% of the population is estimated to have PTSD, 30% of study participants with chronic daily headache and 22% of migraineurs had PTSD. The study also found that PTSD is associated with greater headache-related disability in migraineurs.

Recent data has suggested that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more common in headache sufferers than in people without headache problems. Now it appears that PTSD is particularly prevalent in people with chronic migraine (defined as 15 or more headaches per month).