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 (178)

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.

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?

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?

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

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?

Same as above only been 7 months.
Would botox help I have every test done? 3 ct scans 1 MRI neurologist testing.
Will it ever go away

Hi I just fell off a chair. I hit the sharp corner hard in back of head also my lower back. I ha a huge egg shape knot in back of head. I have ice pack. But I have a headache and burns alittle at lump. I'm 63 what should I do. Ty. marcella

Hi I hit the back of my head left side upper when I was bending down to pick up paper from under the chairs. I tried reaching it and went back and hit my head on the pointy comer part of the counter.

hi there I banged heads with my son on our foreheads but it hurts on top of my head that was sunday it didn't hurt on Monday only started Tuesday and all ive done is sleep and its sore

Hello Doctor I hit my head quite hard yesterday while jumping and now it's sore but not as sore as it was yesterday. The back of my head is sore and the middle is a bit sore.

HI dr my toddler hit her head in the shower.. It was very swolen and now it Come down.. There is a small cut. Because se hit the side of the corner in the shower sould i be warryed... She is stil awake after a hour.

Hit the back left top of my head hard on the corner of the trunk lid of my car, didn't break the skin, no bump, it was 7 days ago and still have sharp shooting pains, should I worry..?

Definitely

On 17th May I hit my right side head in wall and after that I got BPPV with which everything was spinning. The giddiness is comparatively lower as I am doing Vestibular exercise but I am facing different sensation of headache on and off. Is something serious happened to me ?

Hello I hit my left forehead on an iron gate for about 8 months now , I no longer feel pains but the bump is still there , what should I do to get rid of it ?

I got hit in the head with the stripper pole I had pain when it first happen how long should I wait to go sleep and should i go fiber

I bumped my head nearly 3 months ago went a e had a hematoma doctor pierced it said it was fine no headaches felt fine gone down now but now I'm getting floaters and cobweb like threads in one eye s what should I do

Get to a good optometrist and have them dialate your eye. Floaters are a sign of retina problems that can be helped but not if you wait.

I'd suggest a retina specialist

Hey I recently fell off of a dirt. Ike and hit my head without a helmet on I said no to a ct scan bc I feel absolutely fine but now I’m worrying more than ever. (Still in the er as of writing this)

Hello, about a week ago i fainted and hit my head and got a really bad goose egg which went down after 24hours, my head still hurts and there's a lot of bruising kind of pain around the area where the big bump was and a part is slightly raised and another is kind of sunken in, should i be concerned?

Yes definitely

I got a hit on my left forehead and it was bumped . But that whole day I was with headache . This is night 2.44 in india . Still I couldn't able to sleep its paining severely in y head and when I lied on bed it is severe... from Bangalore, india

I tripped and fell and hit my head on my hardwood floors. I have a huge bump and two very large black eyes. I had a cat scan and they said no fractures or bleeding but my face is a mess and I have headaches. Should I go back to the ER? This happened three days ago.

Hi my left side of head near to hair crown got hit hard yesterday by hard stone shelf.. There is a big bump there.. Pains when I lay down on that side or touch there... Would this go away? Is it serious damage internally... Please help

Hi,
I hit the top of my head last night from the corner poll of my bed frame while trying yo move around. My head really hurt and it has bump a bit so I roll Bio Freeze to feel better. The following day the bump was gone but my head still painful where it was hit. thanks.

I hit my head on the wall really hard on the wall and it hurts a lot should I go to the hospital?

I hit my head on concrete 3 times I passed out while walking outside I didn’t know I was pregnant and it’s funny it was the same spot I don’t know if it could mess with my sinuses or if it’s jus pain ion get headaches jus the pain in the spot it feels liquidy in my head idk

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