ZocdocAnswersShould I see a doctor for my head "injury"?

Question

Should I see a doctor for my head "injury"?

I was sleeping on the bus, sitting up, when I hit the right side of my head on its side while it was rocking (because it didn't move very stably). It's been more than 3 hours since I hit my head, I have not felt any symptoms, I did not lose consciousness for even a second, but I'm not sure if I should see a doctor. Also, if it is a case of Traumatic Brain Injury, am I at risk of dying when I fall asleep?

Answer

Thank you for your question. It is very common for patients to ask whether or not they need to see their doctor after any head trauma. In general, the short answer is that yes, patients should speak with their doctor if they are concerned after head trauma. A longer answer is that doctors will often look for certain factors that increase their level of concern following head trauma. For example, those who are on blood thinners such as aspirin or coumadin have a much higher risk of having a bleed inside of their skull, sometimes known as an intracranial bleed. In situations where a person on a blood thinner has a trauma, doctors are much more likely to aggressively look into whether or not the person is bleeding, and may be more likely to order further testing such as a CT scan. Other signs of injury or damage that doctors will consider include whether or not there are external signs of injury, such as a laceration or bleeding. Additionally, a loss of consciousness would be more concerning and may require imaging. Finally, any changes in the function of the nerves of the body, especially the cranial nerves, is an emergency. Please speak with your doctor about this question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.