Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"10 days ago I hit my head hard, but it healed fine. Today I am feeling a throbbing, burning pain. What could it be and what should I do about it?"
I have bumped my head 2 or 3 times since that major bump, but these events were very minor. (I am clumsy, I know). I have never had a sensation similar to this burning throbbing pain; should I see a doctor? Would it be better to wait 48 hours and see if the pain subsides? Are there any warning signs?
Traumatic brain injuries are not common, but can be very severe. It is common for patients to ask questions about them, specifically whether or not they need to see a doctor and whether or not they need to have some imaging of their brain such as a CT scan. Your doctor will use certain factors to determine whether or not he or she needs to be more invasive with regards to imaging and other testing. First, if you are elderly or are on blood thinners, then it is more appropriate to aggressively test you to make sure that there is no bleeding or other problems that could be due to a traumatic brain injury and require more invasive measures to protect you. Also, if you have obvious signs of trauma on the outside of your scalp, such as lacerations, this may make your doctor more prone to look for further damage. In addition, loss of consciousness would be an indication that there could be more damage. Finally, any change to your ability to move the rest of your body in a normal fashion would be an emergency, and your doctor will test your cranial nerves to make sure you are well. Please speak with your doctor.
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