Home Remedies For Swelling On The Head From An Injury
NOTE: Keep in mind that even a minor head bump can cause bleeding in or around the brain, which can be serious and require immediate medical care.
Swelling on the head from a sudden injury, casually known as a goose egg, is a very common problem particularly in children but also in adults.
A goose egg is a soft swelling on the forehead that occurs following an injury, due to the collection of fluids oozing out of damaged blood vessels.
Apart from the swelling, other common symptoms include mild to moderate pain and the site of the injury can be tender. There can also be bruising along with discoloration of the skin tissue.
Typically, these bumps or goose eggs are harmless and usually go away within a few days.
However, it is cause for concern if the swelling is accompanied by symptoms like drowsiness, nausea or sleepiness. Immediately see a doctor to rule out any damage to the brain. A detailed CT scan or an MRI can help your doctor evaluate the condition.
For mild cases, there are many home remedies that can help reduce the swelling as well as pain due to a bump on the head.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for swelling on the head due to an injury.
Taking Care Of Yourself At Home
Be guided by your doctor, but self-care suggestions include:
- Dont drive home from the hospital. Ask someone to give you a lift or catch a taxi.
- Rest quietly for the day.
- Use icepacks over any swollen or painful area.
- Take simple painkillers such as paracetamol for any headache. Check the packet for the right dose.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you for the next 24 hours, in case you need help.
- Dont eat or drink for the first six to 12 hours, unless advised otherwise by the doctor.
- Once you can eat again, have small amounts oflight food and drink in moderation.
- Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours.
- Dont take sedatives or other drugs unless instructed by your doctor.
- Children are allowed to sleep, but should be woken every four hours to check their condition and gauge their reaction to familiar things.
About Minor Head Injuries
Minor head injuries are common in people of all ages and rarely result in any permanent brain damage.
If your child experiences a knock, bump or blow to the head, sit them down, comfort them, and make sure they rest. You can hold a cold compress to their head try a bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
- mild blurred vision
If your child’s symptoms get significantly worse, take them straight to the accident and emergency department of your nearest hospital or call 999 for an ambulance.
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Head Injuries Vs Minor Bumps
A bump to the head is a common injury that does not usually cause serious problems. However, there is no clear point at which a doctor will class damage as a head injury.
It is usually possible to treat head injuries with mild or no symptoms at home. However, it is vital to know about the signs of a concussion and see a doctor if these develop.
What Do I Need To Know About A Head Injury
A head injury can include your scalp, face, skull, or brain and range from mild to severe. Effects can appear immediately after the injury or develop later. The effects may last a short time or be permanent. Healthcare providers may want to check your recovery over time. Treatment may change as you recover or develop new health problems from the head injury.
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Treatment For Mild Tbi
Mild TBI, sometimes called concussion, may not require specific treatment other than rest. However, it is very important to follow a healthcare providers instructions for complete rest and slow return to normal activities after a mild TBI. If a person returns to their normal activities too soon and starts experiencing TBI symptoms, the healing process may take much longer. Certain activities, such as working on a computer and concentrating hard, can tire the brain even though they are not physically demanding. A person with a concussion might need to reduce these kinds of activities or take frequent breaks to let the brain rest.
In addition, alcohol and other drugs can slow recovery and increase the chances of re-injury.1 Re-injury during recovery can slow healing and increase the chances of long-term problems, including permanent brain damage and even death.2
How To Treat A Concussion At Home
Rest is an important aspect of treating a concussion. But its not the only thing you should be doing. A good concussion recovery includes exercise and cognitive stimulation. Why?
When you get a concussion, there is an initial period of inflammation and a temporary breakdown of tiny structures in and around the brain cells at the site of your injury. Because of that, the affected cells experience dysfunctional signaling when they call for oxygen and other micronutrients as they attempt to perform their tasks. Often, these neurons dont successfully complete the cognitive processes like seeing, thinking, or reading they were trying to achieve, or it takes them far more resources than usual. Other neural pathways can pick up that task, but its harder on your brain.
Ideally, your brain will return to the normal, more effective neural pathways when inflammation goes down. Unfortunately, that doesnt always happen. When it doesnt, patients can be left with lingering symptoms for weeks, months, or even years.
Physical exertion and cognitive exercise, in reasonable quantities, can and increase your chances of healing properly. Heres the specific regimen we recommend:
1. Do cardio for ~30 min/day or as tolerated.
If you dont have access to exercise equipment, do your best to get your heart rate up with calisthenic exercises. If you have any dizziness or difficulty balancing, switch to something that doesnt aggravate your symptoms.
3. Calm your autonomic nervous system.
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Head Injury Signs And Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a concussion may show up immediately, or they can take hours or even days to show up. You donât always lose consciousness with a concussion. A concussion causes changes in a person’s mental status and can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain. Multiple concussions can have a long-lasting, life-changing effect.
Signs of a TBI, like a concussion, include:
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Head Injury
- An open scalp or skin wound, swelling, or bruising
- Mild to moderate headache
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears or neck pain
- Confusion, especially right after the injury
- Change in mood, such as feeling restless or irritable
- Trouble thinking, remembering, or concentrating
- Drowsiness or decreased amount of energy
- Trouble sleeping
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Learn First Aid For Someone Who Has A Head Injury
A blow to the head may result in someone having pain or a headache. There may be a bump on their head and they may look pale.
1. Ask them to rest and apply something cold to the injury for example, frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel.
Applying something cold to the injury for up to 20 minutes will reduce external swelling and pain. When a person has a blow to the head, their brain can be shaken inside the skull as well. This may cause a more serious head injury which may make them feel sick or drowsy.
2. Call 999 if they become drowsy, repeatedly vomit or their condition gets worse.
This could be a sign of a serious injury to the head. If you cant call 999, get someone else to do it.
3. Make sure someone responsible is able to look after them
If the injury has happened when playing sports, they must not return to sport until they have been seen by a medical professional.
Some people should always seek medical advice after a head injury because they are at greater risk. See the FAQs for more detail.
When To Get Medical Help
Advice for parents and carers
Go to an emergency department urgently if your child:
- becomes unusually or increasingly sleepy
- complains of headaches which become more severe or, in the case of a young baby, if they cry persistently
- appears unsteady when walking
Go to an emergency department if:
- they have a change in consciousness, or experience confusion
- fluid leaks from their ear or nose
- they are drowsy when they would normally be awake
- they have problems with understanding or speaking, loss of balance or problems walking, or weakness in one or both arms or legs
- they develop new problems with their eyesight
- they have a worsening headache
- there is vomiting or any seizures
If following a head injury, you or your child, have less severe symptoms, which do not resolve completely within a week or two, you should see your GP, for an assessment. Most of these symptoms will resolve within three months, but if they do not, it may be necessary to refer you for tests.
What Are The Symptoms Of Head Injury How Is Head Injury Diagnosed
The head injury symptoms might vary depending on the cause and severity of the head injury. The head tends to have more blood vessels in comparison to the other parts of the body. Therefore, bleeding that occurs on the surface of the brain or inside the brain can be extremely harmful in cases of head injuries. However, not all head injury symptoms lead to bleeding.
Before looking out for the potential remedies or treatments for head injuries, it is important to be aware of the head injury symptoms in the first place. Most of the head injury symptoms in cases of serious brain injury might not even reflect immediately.
Some of the common head injury symptoms include:
- A mild or a severe headache
- The sensation of head spinning
- Moderate confusion
- Temporary sensation of the ears ringing
The symptoms of the head injury might also vary depending on the severity of the injury. In some extreme cases, these might include:
- Loss of the muscle control
- Loss of consciousness
- Major disorientation
Depending on the severity and cause of head injury, the head injuries can be categorized into different types including the following:
- Hematoma: This refers to the clotting or collection of blood outside the blood vessels. It could be a serious condition if hematoma occurs in the brain.
- Concussion: It occurs when the blow on the head is severe enough to lead to brain injury.
- Edema: A brain injury leading to swelling is referred to as edema.
Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or 112 If Someone Has Hit Their Head And Has:
- been knocked out and hasn’t woken up
- difficulty staying awake or keeping their eyes open
- clear fluid coming from their ears or nose
- bleeding from their ears or bruising behind their ears
- numbness or weakness in part of their body
- problems with walking, balance, understanding, speaking or writing
- hit their head in a serious accident, such as a car crash
Also call 999 or 112 if you cannot get someone to ED safely.
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When Should I Call An Ambulance Or Go To The Emergency Department
You should always keep a close eye on anyone who has had a head injury. Even if the person seems okay, they could develop complications later.
- the head injury involved high speeds or a fall from more than one metre
- there is something stuck in the head
- there is bleeding that is difficult to stop
- the person loses consciousness or seems drowsy or does not respond
- the person is dazed or shocked, confused, disorientated
- the person seems unwell and vomits more than once after hitting their head
- there is severe bleeding from the head or face
- blood or fluid is leaking from the nose or ears
- the person has blurred vision or unequally sized pupils
- the person has weakness in an arm or leg
- the person has a seizure
- the person stops breathing
What Are The Symptoms Of A Head Injury
After sustaining a minor head injury, you may experience symptoms including swelling, bruising, a mild headache, dizziness, and nausea. In many cases, these symptoms can be treated by taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying cold compresses. However, because more severe head injuries can cause concussions and other serious complications, its important to keep an eye out for symptoms such as:
- Balance problems
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Recovery After Closed Head Injury / Concussion
The severity of symptoms of a closed head injury or concussion can vary with each patient. Some people have mild symptoms with a headache and others have more significant symptoms. Your symptoms will resolve with time, but exactly how long that will take is different for everyone. It could be days to weeks or it could take months to resolve. Some of the symptoms may never go away entirely.
You will need clearance from your doctor before participating in any contact sports or activities where you risk falling. The timing of this depends on your symptoms and the severity of the injury.
It is very important to prevent head injuries in the future. After you have had a concussion, your brain is more sensitive, and a new head injuries can cause more significant damage. The damage to the brain from head injuries is additive or worse than the one before it.
To prevent future head injuries you should wear a helmet when participating in any sport where a helmet is available. These include football, hockey, skiing and snowboarding, horse-back riding, riding bicycle or motorcycle. Also, always wear a seat-belt when riding in a vehicle.
Resuming Activities After A Head Injury
It is best to wait until you are feeling better before you go back to your normal activities. Dont go to work or school until you have fully recovered. The length of time to wait varies, as it depends on the type of work or study that you do and how severe the head injury was. Ask your doctor for advice.Dont return to sport until all symptoms have gone and you are feeling better. This is because reaction times and thinking will often be slower, so you are at risk of further injury. If you have another head injury before you have fully recovered, this may be even worse than the first head injury.A second concussion that occurs before your brain recovers from the first usually within a short period of time can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling , permanent brain damage and even death.
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Normal And Prolonged Concussion Recovery
Recovery is influenced by several important factors , but age appears to be particularly important. Normal recovery for those younger than 18 is considered 30 days, and for those older than 18 is considered 14 days. A goal of recovery management it to avoid prolonged recovery, but 10-30% of those experiencing concussion can experience prolonged recovery.
The dynamic nature of concussion recovery requires follow-up with tailored management during each phase of concussion. Key milestones in the recovery process are return to learn, school, work, exercise, and sport. Each of these milestones is approached gradually from symptom-limited activity to full participation.
Symptoms Associated With Prolonged Concussion Recovery
Factors associated with prolonged recovery:
- Initial symptom burden
Factors not consistently assocated with prolonged recovery:
- History of migraine
- History of a neurobehavioral or attention disorder, i.e. ADHD or ADD
- Loss of consciousness
Adapted from Iverson GL, Gardner, AJ, Terry DP, et al. Predictors of clinical recovery from concussion: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2017 51:941.
How Is A Head Injury Treated
If you are at home, you can treat minor head injuries by sitting quietly and using an icepack. You need someone with you to watch you closely for 24 hours . You can take paracetamol, but not other painkillers.
There is no need to stay awake following a head injury. The injured person needs to be woken gently every 4 hours to make sure they respond normally. If they dont, they should go to the nearest emergency department.
After a head injury, the most important treatment is complete physical and mental rest. That means not using computer screens, playing video games or working or studying for at least 24 to 48 hours. You should not play sport and you may need to take time off work until you are feeling better.
Do not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after a head injury. Drinking alcohol, taking sleeping pills or using drugs will make you feel much worse.
If you are not sure, talk to your doctor.
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How Is A Head Injury Linked To Bleeding
Sometimes, a blow to the brain can cause internal bleeding between the brain and the skull. This bleeding happens when the blood vessels in or around the brain get torn. They may bleed slowly, so you may not have symptoms right away. You hit your head, and maybe you have a little bump or bruise, but you feel fine, Dr. Crain said. You go about your business, but as that blood builds up, you can start to show symptoms.
Youre at higher risk for bleeding around the brain when your brain is smaller. Thats because a smaller brain leaves more space between your brain and your skull, and the blood vessels that stretch between them get stretched tight. If you have some kind of shaking of the brain, it can pull on them and pop them, Dr. Crain said. The blood can compress the brain, and if it presses on the brains respiratory center, it can be life threatening.
You may be more likely to experience bleeding after a brain injury if you:
- Are 60 or older, since your brain shrinks with age
- Use alcohol or drugs
- Have genetic risk factors that may make your brain smaller
- Take blood thinners, aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen
- Have other medical conditions such as Alzheimers disease