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"I hit my head, should I go to the doctor?"

ZocdocAnswersI hit my head, should I go to the doctor?


I was at an acting class on Saturday and I fell backwards and hit my head on the wooden floor. My head hurt for a few minutes but I ignored it and carried on with the class. On my way to work later that day, the back of my neck was aching. This ache extended down my upper back and left arm, and the fingers on my left hand felt tingly. Again, I ignored it and went to work. That night I had a party and I felt fine the whole time. On Sunday and yesterday, the ache in my neck had shifted so that it was mainly located at the front of my neck. The muscles there were painful to touch and I was unable to tilt my head backwards to lie down in bed. I had to hold my head up with my hands in order to lie down. Yesterday, I experienced a couple of moments of dizziness in the morning and the evening. Today, my neck still aches a little but it feels a lot better. Otherwise, I feel fine (except I think I'm developing a cold). Should I go to the doctor?


Thank you for this question. In general, if you have concerns about needing to speak with your doctor, it is best to either see your doctor or speak with him or her about your concerns. In your case, as some time has passed, some of the risks of head trauma would have shifted. In the immediate period after a trauma, bleeding concerns into the closed cavity of the skull can be life threatening. Some signs of this include changes in mentation, vision changes, or other changes in the ability of your face or body to function right. Other short term risks include concussions and other injuries to the brain itself. Fortunately, there are some good guidelines for doctors that help them to know whether or not some sort of imaging is needed. For example, if you have a change in your mental status, loss of consciousness, or a wound in the head, we know that we need to get some sort of picture of the inside of your head. It is not clear if you have any of these, but you should discuss them with your doctor. There are other injuries, such as neck injuries, that should also be discussed. Please speak with your doctor.

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