When Can We Stop Worrying After a Hit on the Head?

Ask the Expert: When Can We Stop Worrying After a Hit on the Head?
Question: 

About a month ago, my wife tripped while hiking and hit her head. We went to our Emergency Department and they did a CT scan, which was “clean.” Other than an occasional headache, my wife feels fine. Is there a time when we can stop worrying?

Answer: 

The CT scan that was done in the Emergency Department is helpful because it showed there was no bleed in your wife’s head (hemorrhage) that would require surgery. That being said, most of the time after a concussion — or mild brain injury — a CT scan does not show any evidence of injury and yet some people may continue to have symptoms related to the concussion. The injury to the brain in a concussion is generally to the neurons and axons that are microscopic and therefore not seen on CT scan. Symptoms can be broken down into four categories:

  • Cognitive issues, including memory and concentration
  • Sleep issues, including too much or too little sleep, drowsiness, and difficulty falling asleep
  • Physical issues, including headaches, decreased balance, dizziness, impaired vision, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise
  • Emotional issues, including irritability, sadness, and nervousness

Many symptoms from mild traumatic brain injuries resolve themselves with some time and rest and it seems this is the case with your wife. However, if her headaches do not continue to improve, if they are limiting your her function, or if they worsen, it would be appropriate to take her for a re-evaluation by your physician.

 

Posted on BrainLine January 19, 2010. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

Comments (203)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Just 20 minutes ago I hit my head on a cupboard and I’m scared that I’ll have a concussion, I also easily get get scared and worried at somethings like this so I just wanted to know what to do I’ve even put frozen peas on my head for like14 minutes but I’m getting worried cause my head is still hurting.??!!

In car accident hit my head on window dr said slight concussion its been days but still getting sharp pains intermitting and the area behind my ear is very itchy at times

I hit my head of glass draws really hard and it was months ago yet some swelling appears you can see vain risen on my head at times I can't stay awake I feel drugged up bad head memory bad what should I do

I think it’s very important that you see a doctor asap, this is serious.

Last week hit my head on a bunk bed . That night had pain . It went away but now I can’t sleep on the side where I got hit. And it hurts when I chew. Is it a concussion or something else.

Had the same thing happen to me only the back of my head but I still can’t lay on it without some pain. It’s been two weeks for me.

I was knocked off my bike by an escooter and hit my head hard on the metal post of the scooter. Large egg that appears to be squishy in the middle now (assuming that means it's draining?) It's now 6 hours on and I have migraine type light effects when I look near a light source (think white wiggling lines). Should I be concerned? Otherwise I seem fine apart from headache but that's to be expected

Hi! Friday night, I slipped and fell and hit my head on concrete. Never lost consciousness, and didn’t throw up. Huge knot immediately, but haven’t really had a headache just a lot of anxiety, because I’m terrified I have a brain injury. It’s sore to the touch and the knot has gone down. No nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, no shaking, no seizures, this is 2 days later. Is it the clear zone I am in? Or should I still take it easy the next week: I have done nothing but rest the last 2 days.

I smashed the top of my head on the 21th of April 2021 in a door frame which was not properly signaled at my work place.
I have vision problems like eye strain and dry eyes and dizziness. I visited the optometrist and confirmed the dry eye and a the presence of not a very high prescription. Do you think dry eye and eye strain could be due to the concussion? would the glasses fix the problem? I also have light sensivity and busy environments make me feel worse.
Thanks

I was hit pretty hard on my head on Friday, my husband did not want to take me in to be checked said I should just wait till I have any symptoms. Today, 4 days later I had a pain in my head and it went straight to where I hit my head. My question is, should i be concerned or is this normal for being hit on your head by a table?

i’m surprised how cool people are with head traumas, you’re husband should’ve took you to the hospital right away.l, it’s so serious please go see a doctor.

Go to doctor

I hit my head on new freezer door on corner now every time I touch it its so painful

It happened with me today few minutes ago... swelling and worried about that

Currently recovering from a moderate TBI. Here's the instructions I received on a few occasions on reaching the best recovery possible:

*Rest - very important
*Limit physical and mental activity to as little as possible.
*When symptoms start getting a little worse, stop what I'm doing and rest.
*Avoid stress, bright lighting, loud noises, and socializing as much as possible.
*If symptoms get worse even while resting, go back to the ER.
*If I start having seizures or a severe headache, go back to the ER.
*After some progress has been made in recovery, EASE back into the normal life going by symptoms (as soon as they get worse, return to rest in a quiet environment).

Bottom line: get checked out AT the time of injury AND especially if symptoms get worse or appear later on. It's not something to mess with, complications can arise hours, days, weeks, and rarely months to years after injury (per my specialist). Be careful, stay safe, and best of luck with recovery.

Any head injury that causes altered senses, persistent or worsening headache, nausea or vomiting, foggy feeling, or anything concerning should always be checked by a doctor. Whether symptoms are immediate or later on, get checked out. Even if you were checked out at the time of injury and symptoms appear or worsen after, go back as bleeding in or around the brain can start later on. I'm no doctor, but multiple traumatic brain injuries. Twice this year already I fell and the back of my head hit the concrete hard. The last time was 4/27, only a big goose egg immediately, been steadily getting worse each day. Going to get checked out tomorrow. Seizure last night, confusion, memory issues, speech problems, thought problems, vision problems, nausea severely, shaky, and burning/stinging sensation with persistent headache in my brain. Blood pressure changes along with more frequent arrythmias. Swelling has covered more of an area since. I know I shouldn't wait, but my situation is something I can't control. Takes forever to type, and screens make symptoms worse. Limit screen time and all mental forms of stimulation to a minimum until recovered, it will hinder recovery. I wasn't healed from the last blow to the head, spoke with the ER doctor, since I can't get in yet: rest, avoid stress and any thinking as much as possible, avoid sudden movements, avoid loud noises, and do not take aspirin until getting tests done to check for bleeding. His thought by what happened and gradual worsening symptoms: slow brain bleed/subdural hematoma, and because of multiple blows to the head, recovery will take a long time, possibly years, maybe never a full recovery.

So, get checked out everyone, it's nothing to mess with, and the sooner the better. Time for me to rest. Get well everyone.

I work with children and got hit in the head with a toy about a week ago, I can feel a dent where the toy hit a some pain in the area. What should I do because it doesn't seem to get any better, no matter what I do.

11days ago I fell backwards on to a concrete floor and banged the back of my head really hard I didn’t loose consciousness it was in a store I must have laid on the floor with help from the staff for about half an hour till my daughter came for me the bump has been sore but is easing off now I’ve been very lucky I hope, occasionally I get a sharp pain in the site were the bump is might last a few minutes and comes and goes which does worry me a little

My mother got on a motorcycle accident 3 days ago and hit her head on the concrete road. She felt dizzy after the impact she got on her head just right after it happened but she doesn't fell dizzy anymore until now. There was no bleeding or cut in her head, she has no other issues except from the swelling and redness/ bruised in a small part of her head.
I just want to ask if, is there anything we need to worry about or is it just a simple bruised regardless of the strong impact she got?

Hey I would take her to the emergency Department to have it checked out my mom fell down the stairs once hit her head on the skirting board it was swollen they did the check and said nothing to worry about but to check for symptoms like if she vomits more than three time bring her straight back and keep and eye out on severe headaches blurred vision. I would have it checked out by a medical professional.

She might have a concussion. If you are truly worried bring her to the hospital.

Any symptoms that reappear or new symptoms needs to be evaluated. Head injuries can cause complications at any time. Be safe and have her checked out. Best of luck.

I hit my head multiple times 2 days ago and now I feel a slight numbness to it. My head feels heavy.

I slipped on a watery floor 6 years ago and hit my head on the outside corner of the couch.. I was hurt but no bleeding so I rubbed it out and went to bed.. today my head is itchy at that spot and tender.. I still have a slight lump there where I hit it.. should I continue to feel like it is healing?

I hit my head couple months back. Had a bit of blood, but was fine. Up to now the spot that bled is now tender to the touch. Is that common, did you find out?

Hi, i slammed the corner of my car door onto the left side of the back of my head today. It was with force. I heard it crack and the pain shot right through the point of contact. I was fine immediately after. When i returned home I came over all dizzy and a little nausous, without vomitting. I have had a dull pain all day with off shots of sharp pain now and then. I can feel a slight dent where the car door hit my head and it is painful to touch, a very sharp pain when i touch. Do I wait and see how i feel or is it quite important to be seen

The exact same thing happened to me 2 days ago. I drove straight to my doctor and he said to put ice on it. I caked him today, 2 days later and he said if my headaches do not stop then I should see a neurologist. He said the sore spot on my head will last 2 months.

you heard it crack??
you should definitely get seen immediately because it seems a lot of damage has been done

I dropped my phone which is a bit heavy on my forehead and the area is bulged and painful. I am aware that this issue is negligible compared to all of the other's, but then im having headache on that part of my head for about 2 days. Is this something serious?

I hit my head under a staircase it was not super hard but it was pain it been more a year and a half since that happened and still there is a swollen part in my head I don't know y

I hit my head on concrete wall 3 months ago. And now i'm still suffering with head pressure/tightness especially whenever I touch my hair or press my scalp.

I now have this after hitting my head a month ago. Feels like constant slight pressure

I hit my head on my dresser in the closet bending down it was a tap on my forehead no bump or dizziness just slight headache I am on blood thinners

I hit meh head on wood

my bf hit his head playing basketball then right after dat he hit it again he been complaining he sleep alot now and all he wanna is lay on me and his head always hurt

Hi, my above head got hit really hard on stairs. And it's been four days im still having headache and little nausea

Hi! We have totally the same experience, i hit my above head in a hard wood which is really hard. im in a bit so sleepy until now (after 2 days). What should we do?

I hit my head when I bent over to sweep floor.I took ibuprofen 2 200mg each.i put ice on it,is this all good.

I just wanted to comment on the number of people asking for advice when it specifically says they are NOT able to give medical advice

Hi, im 60 yr old female I fell full force on the sidewalk, I immediately threw up as I lay there I had large blood clots falling from my battered nose and a huge egg on the right side of my forehead, I threw up again when I got in the house and had the WORSE headache ever! The next morning my eye swelled shut and BLk/Blu, I iced all day the 2nd morning I had 2 swelled shut eyes blk /blu, I stayed very nauseated for almost a week and a half, as well as severely light-headed my nose, bled for days! I'm finally feeling better EXCEPT now I am suffering from. Short term memory loss, should I be worried, will my short term memory return? I admit I am very worried something is not right

Go to the ER

Yes. Pls go to your nearest hospital. You should undergo ct scan. Because u have serious or severe head injury based on your symptoms.

I hit my forehead on my room floor on Sunday and 2 days later my eyes are swelling im concern about my head what do this means

Two days ago, a heavy broom fell on my head from a high shelf, there is a small red mark, but I have a horrible headache, don’t really want to go in those big machines. Do I go to the doctor?

I hit the back of my head 2 weeks ago the swelling was really bad but it has gone down a very lot I've just got a small swelling but it still hurts

Friday night I tripped over the shower ledge and hit the back of my head in the toilet. My butt and back caught most of my fall but today’s Monday my head seems really “foggy” and heavy. I am also very tired. I called the doctor she said to come in in about two days if I don’t get better. Should I go sooner?

My mom hit her head really hard against the wall playing. What should I do? When can we stop worrying?

I was going down a hill really fast on a skateboard and I hit a bumb it launched the skateboard from under me and I slammed the back of my head extremely hard I dont really remember much of the past hour

I hit my head pretty hard on a wall about 6 months ago. Up until now, I can still feel mild to moderate pain on that area. The pain feels like something is pushing to my head from the inside. Will it go away after a few more months?

Hi, how are you right now?

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