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


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?


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 (75)

I hit my head on a wall very hard and there is still a large swollen area on the place i hit my head, the only symptom i have is when i stand up after lying for a long period of time i feel dizzy and i also have trouble sleeping.

Hi 2 weeks ago I fell and smashed my front head on a rock needed 8 stitches to my head. But 2 weeks later I still get pain in my top right back and some pain in the side of the right neck.

Ok, Well, its normal to have pain once you have 8 stitches on your head as your head can be very sensitive in many areas causing you to have problems with your eyes and a lot of pain in your head. i advise you if you are still having pain to go to your local GP to talk about it and see what advise they give you.

I fell down the stairs and banged the back of my head on the floor. I was maybe knocked out. I spent twenty minutes crying and holding my head before my cousin found me. She helped me up but I nearly fell over again. Now it's half an hour later and my headache feels worse and I feel really sick and I been sick once about ten minutes ago. I think I have a concussion because I had one from netball in year 11.

I fell and hit my head really hard 21 weeks ago. I didn't seek medical advice. It swelled badly then popped one night. The injury dtill hasnt healed. Should i be concerned?

I recently got into a DV fight with my now ex-boyfriend. He kicked me punched me and head butted me like 5 times in the same spot. It happened this morning on my way to work. I still went into work with a huge note on my head and just feeling sore everywhere! I iced the knot all day at work and the swelling has reduced significantly! There is still some scratching redness and it’s still sore and I have a head ache.
Im 26 y/o i don’t have good insurance I just have the minimum essential coverage.
I would like to know if I need to go to the ER or could I just treat at home?
Thank you!

I hit my Head a few weeks ago An I still have a knot on my forehead will it ever go away?i don’t have any of these synthoms period I have been normal besides the knot still on my head, why?

So today I was at work and I work In a nursey. I was on the slide with my student and I hit my head on the bar on top. And after finishing work I went home and 5 minutes later immediately slept and woke up I’m sneezing uncontrollably, lots of snots but clear, headaches, dizziness and my pupils is small and etc. So someone plz reply x

Goto the hospital
Those are not signs to ignore especially fluid from the nose

I fell off my bike 6 weeks ago and slammed the side of my head on someones car left dent in it. My mum picked me up and took me to the hospital and said I have serious concussion as I'd be knocked out for long time. I still feel sick alot and I've fainted a couple of times. I have post concussion syndrome now. I hit my forehead on the window yesterday and passed out and now it's even worse I don't know if I'll get better before I turn 18.

I recently knocked myself in the head with a pair of channel locks. They were winched down to hold a garage door and with my line of work, its common to have had injuries. My question is, is the spot I hit supposed to hurt like heck and be very sensitive to the touch over 24 hours later?

I was at wrestling practise last week and my friend picked me up and slammed my head into the wall I hit the back of my head but the front of my head hurt and I felt dizzy and sick I carried on wrestling and got kicked in the head really hard and knocked out. I still feel dizzy and I feel like throwing up when I wake up in the morning

I have to bumps in the back of my head and I always have pain there and have headaches everyday, and my memory is bad and I get confused

I am 13. This past Saturday at my soccer game, I was hit in the head multiple times with a soccer ball, another girl accidentally kicked my head with her soccer cleats, and while preventing a goal hit my head on the goal post and blacked out for about 15 minutes. When I woke up, my nose was bleeding and I was lying on the side bench. I didn’t remember all of it, but my coach told me and I sat out the rest of the game. Should I go to the doctor?

Yes! Please see a doctor! Go to the emergency room if you have not done so already.

If you haven’t gone to the doctor yet go as soon as possible. If you feel pain in a certain part of your head be sure to tell the doctor about this. If however the pain has stopped and you’re not experiencing any of the above symptoms you might not need to worry about it.

Yes, did you go to the hospital?

I can’t believe in this day and age that a soccer coach would not insist a player with a head injury go immediately to the ER for evaluation.
Especially with being unconscious and bleeding from nose or ear. My niece had to give up soccer in high school as a goalie after her third concussion. After the last one she had personality changes and learning problems in school. She’s ok now.

I crashed in my bike almost 3 weeks ago and have no recall as to why I left the road and almost an hour after that. I had my helmet on. Although I have no memory I evidently was ready to get back on my bike and answered questions (non sensical replies) during that time. I had a CT done on my head and spine and nothing showed. I vomited several times but I get motion sick easily and the part of my head I hit affects eyesight. I never had a headache and my head never got a bump or felt sore. (On my head - lots of bruises and scrapes elsewhere) It’s hard to know if my cognitive skills or eyesight were compromised because I’m in my late 60’s and who knows what is just aging or due to head injury

Of coarse you should go getting hit with a soccer ball In the head is bad, your brain was shacked a lot of times and being kicked in the head I even worse

Question, so I bent over to pick something up off the ground and when I came up I hit my head on a metal pole and now I've had a headache all day and I can't sleep, is that a concussion

I recently was taking books down from my school library high bookshelf i had bent over to pick up the book i dropped and the RAF book from up the shelf which is massive hardback book fell and smacked me on the back of the head although when it hit me i felt the bang in my forehead for some reason. I was knocked out for 2 minutes and the first aider came in gave me an ice pack and sent me back to class i couldnt concentrate on my work it made my head hurt i felt so dizzy and sick and i couldnt remember what lessons i had next my 21 year old cousin who im staying with took me to ANE where i was diagnosed with grade 3 concussion and 3 weeks later i had another severe concussion when a volleyball hit me in the side of the head now its another month later with post concussion syndrome i want to return to volleyball and football and i should probably sue my school

I was there when this happened and i think you were knocked out like ten minutes we were all really scared and when are you coming back to sixth form?

I recently hit the back of my head after crowd surfing. They took me to medical at the venue to check my eyes and vital signs and such. The medical staff suggested I go to the ER because I had a bump on the back on my head that seemed to be slightly bleeding. At the ER I had a head scan and I was told everything came out fine and there was nothing serious to worry about. But when I go to sleep at night, I have trouble getting comfortable and it feels as if it’s blocking blood flow to my head. I constantly feel sharp pins and needles around my neck and face area, sometimes on my shoulder/chest area and very sore. I have a mild headache but it might be from the bump. I’m not sure if it’s ok to take Aleve for the inflammation or should I be worried it’s something worse

I got hit in the top of the head with a fly ball and feel fine. However I have been experiencing some concussion related symptoms and don't know if my ADHD is to blame.

Two days ago I fell backwards on an icey road and hit my tailbone, and my head actually bounced and hit hard. I heard “plates breaking” and couldn’t get up for a few minutes. Felt sick, can’t touch the sides of my neck, my tailbone is really sore, and my stomach, from the belly button down makes it difficult to stand. I still have a headache and sunlight bothers me.

I had a fall from a moving vehicle about 17 years ago and hit the back of my head really hard. I didn't go unconscious and wasn't taken to the doctor at the time and as far as I can remember I had no concussion but I'm having memory problems lately and pain in the back of my head if I laugh too hard and wondering of they could be linked to the trauma

I fainted and hit my head on the wooden floor.. felt fine but bump on my head hurts (two days after) and I feel slightly dizzy.. should I go see a GP?

If it continues after 24 hours of further rest you should contact your health professional. They will ascertain an injury and make the appropriate recommendations

I got hit in the head with beer bottle multiple times not hard enough to lump or anything but hurt was about couple days less the a month ago an just recently started having head pain can’t realy tell where coming from but think it’s the top of my head an I went to hospital An did a cat scan cus it’s been 2 weeks now that non stop Like dull pain in my head that doesn’t go away just started 2 weeks ago so the hit was like 2 to 3 weeks before the pain I’m talking about an anyways cat scan I did in hospital yesterday came back ok said they didn’t see anything an since I can’t point out where exactly it’s hurting in my head they can’t do anything I stress a lot over many things am I going to be ok I’m still feeling the dull pain that just started like 2 weeks ago could it just be stress an y is itnon stop am I gona be ok since they said cat scan came back ok or should I still worry I’m really worried

the car door hit the back of my head. I haven't had any symptoms except headache and neck pain. I did not get any swelling either.. should I be concerned?

Well the headache and neck pain have been present for the past month, it would be advisable to get your head and neck evaluated by a chiropractic physician. Determination could be made as to whether the Trauma or insult was serious enough for a continuation of care or referral to a specialist.

My 11year old daughter hit her head, she swelled up and I tried to use an ice cube to decrease the swelling but the bump is very soft now and she is having slight headaches

Yes, you can put ice on it. But I suggest putting heat on it. If it still hurts within 48 hours go to the doctors.

I hit the top of my head a week ago at work. I keep getting a mild headache everyday or so. Should I be concerned? No bump

I have always one side headache especially the right side and I worry a lot sometimes I also have neck pain can you tell me what do I do

I hit my head about 6 months ago I was running and tripped hit it on some broken up concrete steps. The E.R did a C.T while I was there said everything was good but sense then I've kind of went mental, I go from really happy,depressed, extremely depressed,completely hopeless, to I just don't care I think it I say it ,to really quiet and stay to myself. I have anxiety attacks now. My headaches have gotten to where they are at least every other day I take my meds it'll go away for about an hour then come back and they get bad I just have to go lay down. It's starting to get some sort of bump where I hit it at. I've been put in the mental home once sense it happened and have been to where I probably should have been sent back . I've been to a couple different Dr's I'll tell them everything they just either brush it off or say you probably just have a concussion and that's it. I need to no do I need to just leave it alone because it's a concussion and I'm just still healing or do I need to go throw a hissy fit til someone takes me seriously? Also before all of this I was quiet and sweet never spoke up about anything just kind of stayed in the back so I'm a completely different person

After a car accident injuring my head, ER did a CT scan it showed my head was fine, but after headaches, mood changes a MRI of the brain was done & found I had a brain bleed from the injury.

Hi I had a catscan to after a head injury
And it’s been 4 months
Many dr appts
Visits to ER
Catscan showed no brain bleed
So I am wondering
When the MRI showed you had a brain bleed
What did they do for you ?

Go raise hell, that's not normal.

I fell and hit my head from a 10ft drop on to concrete in my barn 10 months ago and still do not remember anything about the accident except some time in the hospita l- I am a miracle story. However in regards to headaches and migraines I went to my chiropractor very early on and found that the fall caused my neck, especially the very top axis vertebrae, to be out of whack. Now no headaches or migraines!

Your inability to recall the incident is called retrograde amnesia.

Hi! I'm a 24 year old maIe and think that I may be dealing with post concussion syndrome. I took up boxing as a way to push the limits of my physical capabilities. I got punched in the back right side of my head while wearing protective headgear and gloves back in April of 2018. I have never suffered any memory loss or severe issues regarding the blow, but 4 days after the hit I have had ongoing problems to this day. It began with what felt like a pain in the area I got hit and I gave it some time before I went and saw two physicians. They said that the symptoms were nothing serious as I didn't suffer from cognitive issues or sensitivity to light/noise. Fast forward to the present, 9/8/2018, and my symptoms have changed slightly, but nothing seems to have gotten worse. I've had weeks where I have been occasionally dizzy and the pain in the back right side of my head comes and goes as it used to be constant, but now I find myself suffering from headaches in the front of my head. I would describe it as the type of headache you'd get from staring at a screen too long. I also deal with what feels like worse vision, but that is hard to tell because I already wear glasses and my eyes continuously get worse regardless. I can't seem to do any sort of physical activity without getting a throbbing head and even the slightest activity will give me a pounding heart rate. Alongside these symptoms, I've experienced a serious of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Anytime I'm forgetful about something I instantly relate it to this head injury and the impact it's had on my life. I can't help but feel as though I may be living with some brain tumor and that scares me. My insurance is terrible and I really can't bring myself to spend money on what could potentially be an inconclusive test. I have spent so much time on the internet researching for answers and I've spent the last couple months at the chiropractor hoping that my neck was the cause for all of the issues and I don't feel like I've seen any improvement.
Thank you to anybody who takes the time to read and reply to my post.

I am 17 years old. I play competitive ice hockey. Over three months ago I was blindsided in practice. The girl lost an edge and flew into the back of my ankles, I fell back, hit my tailbone, then wiped and hit my head very hard. I got up sat up, then felt extremely sick, then was sick to my stomach, with extreme neck pain, back pain and head pain.

Since then I have had headaches every day. I have yet to go a day without one (I have been keeping track in a booklet) this is my 4th diagnosed concussion. I had two a few years ago and I had one in January-February 2018. None of them have been this bad. I hit my head twice between Feb-May which I didn’t worry about. However, this one has taken a toll on me. I missed a month of school in May - June, failing classes because I couldn’t attend.

This summer I have done nothing at all. I haven’t hungout with friends because I tried and it’s just not fun for me. I’m tired all the time, the noise, lights bother me which doesn’t help. I started this summer working part time a few days a week, which eventually my parents forced me to quit because my pain was getting intolerable. I babysit a few times however even then I still get bad headaches. Some headaches are sharp pains, some are tingling in my head, some are throbbing, some are stabbing pain, some are swelling feeling. I also get a burning sensation in my head. I get tingling in my right hand and ringing in my ears. I go to physio three times a week where I get acupuncture & current for the past two months. I go to the doctors once a week and social workers and therapists at least once a week.

I’ve been suffering with depression and anxiety lately. I’ve had some major panic attacks which are extremly scary. I'm on tons of medications to try to help - sleep, anxiety, depression, headaches. I have tried everything they have told me. I have taken the medications.  I am sleeping well now, I’m doing physio, I limit tv, phone, I try to be physical (walking). I even cut my hair to relieve pressure, I was just refered to a neurologist to possibly get scans on my head and neck to see if there is something else going on such as a nerve being pinched. I’ve also been refered to a pain clinic and a laser therapy.

My family just wants me to make all these decisions & putting so much pressure on me. I tell them to stop but they find another way to bring it up. Or when I have attacks they just make fun of me and it’s the worst feeling in the world. They don’t understand it. Everyone says "oh I understand" or "it’ll get better" but how do they know? I don’t think they know what it’s like to have constant headaches for months nonstop, or fighting mental health all by myself.

It’s gettig really hard to stay positive and hope for better. I am extremely afraid to hit my head again now. At first, I was afraid even to walk stairs because I got light headed and thought I would fall and hit my head and die. I was also scared to go swimming still kinda am without a floaty or life jacket and I’m scared to jump in as well. I know I could hit my head doing anything but it’s terrifying. Everyone wants me to go back to playing hockey but I keep getting panic attacks just looking at the ice. I can’t breathe and I’m shaking and crying. I’m most scared of hitting my head on the ice again. I think I’m most scared of hitting my head because of the pain it’s caused me.

It’s changed me. I’m not the same bright, positive girl anymore. I’m emotional and exhausted. I don’t want to go any longer being in pain having constant headaches daily. I am just so frustrated and fed up with feeling this way, does it ever get better? How do you deal with the anxiety and depression and panic attacks? Do you have any suggestions.?

You need to see a doctor about the headaches and get some relief so you can heal. I recommend you have a chiropractor check out your neck and back to make sure some of the problems are not coming from misaligned vertebrae. Once you have that under control as best as possible, find a therapeutic masseuse that knows something about the nervous system or a Chinese educated/accredited acupuncturist that can help the nerves reorient to whatever damage has occurred through stimulation. You may never be quite the same but you can find balance. Stop playing hockey.

I really feel so bad for you and I pray you will start getting better. At 17 with 4 concussions please don’t go back on the ice.

I would not play hockey anymore that is a sure way to get another concussion then you will be wishing u stopped playing I would give up hockey for good not worth it not even a little

Hey Kirst,

I can't offer much insight to you as I too am suffering from ongoing issues like yours. In your last paragraph you state how you don't feel like the same person anymore and you seriously sum up the struggle of what it's like to deal with these issues. I just want you to know that my issue has also given me a lot of anxiety,depression, and panic attacks. I haven't told anybody at my work and everybody thinks I'm fine everyday, but the reality is that I'm suffering from what I call an "invisible injury". I've tried explaining it to friends and family and they seem to understand in the moment, but always forget because I'm always trying to tough it out and act "normal". It's been a troublesome journey for me as I've been dealing with my problems for 4 months now, but there's always comfort in knowing that somebody else has something similar going on with them. I've contemplated joining a support group of MTBI sufferers in order to help battle my mental health. I hope you too find the answers that you're looking for. Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

This is a lot to experience and I’m certainly praying that things get better soon. You’re very intelligent & I’m sure your future is still bright. I can relate to the panic attacks and those do get better. I’m just not sure which course you should take regarding returning to hockey. I think you should get your medical issues resolved first. You can’t rush this, it’ll take some time. I’m hoping the neurologist will be instrumental in resolving your symptoms. I pray your support system can understand what you’re going through and be there for you.

I hit my head about three weeks ago, got a CT scan, and there was nothing, the MD there said that my slight nausea and imbalance came from my neck muscles tightening on impact. I just hit my head again about a half hour ago, somewhat bumped it lightly on my car’s metal surface, and I haven’t fainted or puked so far, but should I get checked out again? I feel very scared...

I work for a moving company anyways I was helping unload a truck when a vacuum came off the top and smacked me hard on the top and side of my head. I got knocked out and have been having really bad headaches and pain . I had to keep working cause I’m away from home, we travel a lot. I’ll be home in a couple days and this happened like 2 days ago and my headaches and pressure are just as severe as the first day. Should I see a doctor ?