Does dizziness after hitting your head always mean you should head to the emergency room?

“Head injuries can be serious,” says J. Mark Anderson, MD, DABFM, of Executive Medicine of Texas and who is board certified in family medicine.

“If you injure your head and experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea or a change in vision, you should be evaluated immediately,” continues Dr. Anderson, who is board certified in internal medicine.

“In the event that you lose consciousness at any time during a head injury, it should be treated as an emergency.

“Concussions have gained a great deal of attention over the last decade, and for good reason.”

Imaging is Very Important

Dr. Anderson continues, “New imaging techniques, such as fMRI [functional MRI], have allowed researchers to see changes in brain activity after a head injury.

“We also now know that damage to the brain can be on a microvascular level, often not seen on routine scans.

“A healthcare provider can determine the best way to treat a head injury, and all head injuries should be a cause for concern.”

What if Your ONLY Symptom Is Dizziness After Getting Hit in the Head?

“Many people believe that dizziness after hitting the head is caused by ‘giggling of the brain, which is close, but not exactly the case,” explains Dr. Anderson.

“Most dizziness after a hit to the head is actually caused by a disturbance in the inner ear. This dizziness is called vertigo and is a result of tiny crystals in the inner ear being disturbed.

“This often goes away on its own, but may require assistance from a healthcare provider.

“People who experience vertigo after a mild head injury often develop benign paroxysmal positional vertigo,” also known as BPPV. A technique called the Epley maneuver can often instantly reset the disturbed crystals.

“Mild vertigo is often not serious, but if vertigo persists or is followed by fatigue, nausea or the feeling of passing out, a proper evaluation by a healthcare provider is in order.”

Dr. Anderson is coauthor of the award-winning book, “Stay Young: 10 Proven Steps to Ultimate Health,” and host of the nationally syndicated Staying Young Show which goes to podcast as Staying Young Show 2.0.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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