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Head injury, dizzy, no bleeding. Headache, painful. Should I get a CAT scan?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I am a 24-year-old female, 5'5", 128 lbs. Last night around midnight, I was at a friend's house where I was sitting on the floor and somehow trashed my head back into the futon's pointy, painted wooden armrest (like a two-by-four). The sharp part hit the part of my head just above the neck where there is a round jut-out from the skull. It hurt quite badly and I saw stars. I felt a bit dizzy but I did not pass out and I did drive home. I told my parents, who I live with, what happened. We iced it and they checked my pupils (which were normal) and examined the back (the skin was not broken; no blood) and I became extremely drowsy before falling asleep around 3:30 a.m. I set an alarm for 6:00 a.m., just to be safe, and I was able to wake up just fine. Today, I still have a big reverberating headache in back of my head at the site of the injury and I have been sleepy and napping intermittently all day. I am slightly dizzy and feel a little foggy/"off," but am obviously coherent enough to write this to you. It hurts a bit to hold my head up so I'm thinking it may have slightly affected my neck, as well. I am due to leave on a cross-country train trip on Thursday and am very nervous about the possibility of an unattended "brain bleed"! Should I go to the ER and/or get a CAT scan? I'm nervous but do not want to waste time and get irradiated for nothing. Please, please advise. Thank you!
Posted Tue, 17 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 7 hours later

Thanks for the query.

From the information provided to me it looks like you have hurt one of the nerves which travel from the neck and supply the scalp which can cause pain and dizziness. None of the signs mentioned here suggest the possibility of bleed in you.

So I personally feel CAT scan is not required at this point of time. I want you to take a pain killers for next 24-48 hours. A good sleep will get you out of your dizziness and make you fresh.

I am sorry you are dealing with this frustrating concern. If pain, dizziness and drowsiness persists a CAT scan may be required.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wish you good health.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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