Post-Traumatic Headaches

Study Goals

The goal of this research study is to compare concussion patients who recover quickly from post-traumatic headaches, patients who do not recover quickly from post-traumatic headaches and healthy controls. Headaches are one of the most common concussion symptoms and yet very little is known about how they manifest and effective treatment models. This study may provide a critical understanding of how post-traumaitic headaches impact neurological circuitry and allow us to identify new preventative treatments for concussion patients in the future.

Our Approach

We use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in brain structure, connectivity and blood flow in patients with post-traumatic headaches. We also administer psychological questionnaires regarding pubertal status, pain levels and emotions and collect autonomic responses, such as the patient’s EKG, CO2 and heart rate levels.

Eligibility to Participate

Seeking 12 – 21 year olds who fit either our acute or persistent patient categories.  We are also enrolling healthy controls ages 12 – 21.

  1. Acute: Have experienced a concussion within the past month, suffered from post-traumatic headaches and recovered from post-traumatic headaches within 1 month post-injury
  2. Persistent: Have experienced a concussion within the past 3-4 months and are still suffering from post-traumatic headaches

Study Visit Overview

The study visit takes place at Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham (9 Hope Avenue). This study includes 4 study visits over a 12-month period (1 study visit every 3 months).  Each study visits lasts around 3 hours and includes the following:

  1. Completing pre-questionnaires before study visit (~30 minutes)
  2. Neurological exam with a physician (10 minutes)
  3. Online ImPACT test (~40 minutes)
  4. Temperature Sensitivity Test (10 minutes)
  5. MRI of your brain (~1 hour)


Participants will receive $100 for the first study visit, $110 for the second, $120 for the third and $130 for the fourth. They will also receive a picture of their brain from the MRI scanner. If all study visits are completed, participants will be entered into a raffle for a prize worth up to $500.


This study is funded by the NIH.


To learn more about this study, please email Diana Sibai at [email protected]