Dear Ask The Doctor: I fainted a week ago Sunday, hitting my head on a scale. I didn't start getting bad headaches for another five days. Last weekend, I went for a CT scan, and it came back negative, but was told I could still have a "mild concussion" I am still having moderate headaches 10 days after the fall, and occasionally feeling short of breath. Is this normal? Should I be concerned?
Dear Jack: I am glad to hear you went to see the doctor in a timely manner and received the appropriate testing.
A concussion is when the soft tissue of your brain hits the hard bone of your skull. The resulting injury can lead to a temporary loss of normal brain function. In severe cases, the resulting injury can lead to internal bleeding. When this happens, it if often a medical emergency. A CT scan, as you received, will detect any significant bleeding.
Once it is established that you do not have an internal bleed, we allow the brain to heal over time. How fast people recover from brain injury varies from person to person. Although most people have a good recovery, how quickly they improve depends on many factors. These factors include how severe their concussion was, what part of the brain was injured, their age, and how healthy they were before the concussion.
Rest is very important after a concussion. You will need to be patient because healing takes time. Return to your daily activities, such as work or school, at your own pace. As the days go by, you can expect to gradually feel better.
If the symptom's start to worsen from one week to the next, see your doctor for a re-assessment. The healing time from concussions is measured in weeks (1-3 months) and not days.
I hope this helps.