Think of all the times you’ve hit the back of your head on something. Most of these are minor bumps and accidents that you probably didn’t worry much about. Not everyone who hits the back of their head, though, will be able to walk it off. Some head injuries require immediate treatment, but it can be challenging to know when the emergency room is where you should be.
Hitting any part of your head poses a risk of serious injury. If an artery or vein bursts, this causes bleeding in the brain. This direct bleeding puts pressure on the brain as the blood has nowhere else to go. This pressure builds and builds, potentially leading to coma and even death in some cases.
Here is what to know about what happens if you hit the back of your head:
Hitting your head could be a traumatic brain injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any blow to the head that’s hard enough to affect the brain. Hitting the back of your head can shake your head inside the skull. In addition to broken blood vessels, you can get bruises on the brain and permanent nerve damage.
A TBI can be something like a concussion, which is considered mild, or it can be severe. You may be eligible for compensation, so consult a personal injury lawyer to help you determine your legal rights.
Possible skull fracture
The thinnest part of your skull is the sides. Like other parts of the human form, our skulls evolved to suit our needs. The front of the head is extremely hard. The sides are the worst place to have a blow. The back of the head is also hard. However, it connects to the spinal column. A serious impact here can impact the neck in the worst of circumstances.
Hitting any part of your skull can crack the bone. As hard as your cranium is, it can still be damaged. If a sharp edge presses into the brain from the skull fracture, the tissue can be damaged and cause bleeding. You may discover clear fluid or blood draining from the nose and ears. This is a sign that the skull has been cracked or damaged somewhere around the brain or the spinal column.
Signs you need to go to the hospital
If you have hit your head and feel any following signs, go to a hospital immediately.
- If you are nauseous.
- If one side of your body feels weak.
- If you are confused, have blurred vision, have difficulty finding words, or are sensitive to light or sound.
- If you experience unconsciousness for more than five minutes.
- If you have a seizure.
A headache is not to be ignored following a jolt or blow to the head. If you’ve hit your head and have a headache, internal bleeding could be. You won’t want to take that chance and not go to the hospital.
What happens at the hospital
At the hospital, advise the medical staff that you’ve hit the back of your head and are experiencing symptoms. A doctor will order a brain scan to help determine where or if there’s an injury. This will be done with a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). You will receive real information on what’s happening in your brain and a treatment plan.
Long-term effects of TBI
Even if the damage is mild and does not present other symptoms, a mild concussion can have lasting effects. Even after your brain appears to have healed, headaches and other symptoms can persist. Although most symptoms disappear within a few weeks or months, traumatic brain injuries can be difficult to predict, even in a mild form.
There can also be mental health effects outside of the long-term physical changes when someone hits their head in a fall or accident and receives a concussion. Some people experience more anxiety than normal, suffer from depression for some time, suffer from sleeplessness, have mood swings, and even have some personality changes. These go away with time but demonstrate the long-lasting effects a brain injury can have.
What happens after hitting the back of your head?
A blow or jolt to the back of the head can come from anything. A fall on a slippery sidewalk or inside a business is common. A fall from a ladder or downstairs at work. A fall in the bathtub. Sometimes, your injury may not be your fault. It could be the fault of an employer, business, or another individual who put your life at risk directly or indirectly. If you believe someone else may be to blame, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if further legal action should be taken.