I have on occasions acted for clients who have developed chronic headaches following an accident. I currently act for two such clients. In both cases the headaches are so persistent and severe that both have been unable to return to work. One recently told me that when his headaches are at their worst, he just wants to “curl up and die” and some years ago a client suffering chronic headaches attempted suicide.
Both of my current clients have excellent employment records and have no prior history of chronic headache or migraine. In fact, before their accidents, both were well below average attendees at their GP surgeries.
Despite these similarities, the accidents in which they were involved were very different. One suffered direct trauma to his head when he was struck by a heavy metal sign. The other, whilst driving, was struck from behind by another car.
Sadly, cases of chronic headache are inevitably met with a considerable level of scepticism by the insurance industry and obtaining funding for treatment is often a battle. Strong neurological evidence on causation is required and there are relatively few consultant neurologists with the necessary level of clinical experience in chronic headache. The treatment can also also be expensive. This is because treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach over many weeks or months. Depending upon the nature of their symptoms, sufferers may be treated with a combination of (but not limited to) medication, occipital nerve injections, acupuncture and psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
With a number of treatment professionals likely to be involved, it is vital that the course of treatment is coordinated by a consultant neurologist with a special interest in headache. As mentioned above, there are relatively few such individuals, but consultants such as Dr Manjit Matharu in London and Dr Nicola Giffin in Bath, have excellent track records in treating chronic headaches.
Both of my clients with the condition are currently undergoing treatment privately, funded by way of interim payments from the other party. In both cases, progress is slow but steady and the outlook for the future in each case is quietly positive.