External compression headache is an infrequently cited cranial neuralgia resulting from continued stimulation of the cutaneous nerves caused by the application of pressure over the forehead or scalp. The headache can result from wearing a tight band around the head, a tight hat, or sports goggles. They include a constant nonpulsating head pain felt in the area subjected to pressure that increases over minutes, is not associated with other symptoms, and often disappears within 1 hour after removing the causative stimulus.
If the causative stimulus is prolonged, external compression can lead to a more severe, migrainous headache or to a full-blown migraine attack in predisposed patients. This is a primary-type headache, not associated with organic cranial or intracranial disease, and thus does not require further investigation when the diagnostic criteria are fulfilled and the intermittent presentation is clear. The goal of this study was to evaluate headache in police officers subsequent to wearing helmets during ordinary patrolling assignments. The mechanism causing external compression headache in some patients and not in others remains unknown.