A simple head bump will not cause any problems to your brain and won’t make you any dumber. However, if you hit your head hard, then it may cause injuries such as concussions, which makes it harder to think clearly.
Even after a severe head bump, the brain of a person will most likely return to its normal condition.
The recovery may take time, sometimes even more than a year. Some serious incidents leave a long term mark if the hit to the head is especially hard.
If you hit your head repeatedly, it may leave both short and long-term consequences. You may have continuous headaches or develop specific syndromes.
In this post, I will introduce more precisely the possible side effects of hitting your head.
Does Hitting Your Head Lower IQ?
Repeated and hard head bumps can cause injuries that may harm your intelligence. In most cases, the difference may not be very obvious. However, occasionally, you may feel like your brains functions more slowly.
Our brain is protected by a membrane called meninges. But, sometimes, protection may not help. For example, in a car crash, bumpers protect the driver.
However, there are severe cases when the bumpers can’t save the situation. The same works with our brain.
Meninges is the protection of our brain, but they can’t protect us from severe shock.
But it is important to remember that you don’t need to break your skull to damage your brain.
The bump may cause the cultivation of fluid in your brain. It will result in dysfunction of your brain, hence lower your intelligence.
Does Hitting Your Head Kill a Few Brain Cells?
No. A simple bump won’t do anything to the brain cells. Our brain has a very complex structure, and it protects itself from small bumps.
In addition to this, it is impossible to count how many brain cells we have. So, it would be best if you did not worry about losing brain cells every time you slightly hit your head.
In the case of hard bumps, there are more severe side effects than just killed brain cells.
Which are the Major Types of Head Injuries?
A hard bump can cause bruises, swelling, nerve damage, broken blood vessels, etc. All of this can cause thinking and moving problems.
Below you can find the main types of severe head injuries.
When the blood collects outside of the blood vessel, it is called a hematoma.
If a hematoma occurs in the brain, then it is a severe problem. It can press your skull, hence cause more brain damage in the future.
In many cases, you may need surgery.
The common symptoms are:
- Loss of consciousness
As the hematoma becomes more significant, there will be less space in your skull. So, hematoma should be cured immediately not to cause any further complications.
Swelling can happen in any part of our body. It occurs when tissues grow, or body fluid collects.
Brain swelling is the most serious one, and it will not cure itself. The reason is that our skull is not elastic, and it can’t stretch.
Because of the swelling, our brain pressures and presses in our skull. There is less space, and blood will not move freely in your brain.
Brain bleeding (hemorrhage) is the abnormal bleeding in the skull between brain tissues.
There are two types of bleeding:
- Bleeding in the skull, around the brain
- Bleeding inside the brain
Because of the bleeding, the brain can lack oxygen. Brain cells start to die, which will affect the nervous system and result in a stroke.
Bleeding causes the most strokes and is life-threatening.
In many cases, the patient may not die but will not move, think, or function as normal for the rest of their lives.
What Happens to the Brain During and After Concussion?
A concussion happens when your brain shakes and bumps in the skull. It can occur while boxing, or when you hit your head on a wall, or during a car accident. As a result, you will have headaches and even loss of consciousness.
A concussion is not considered a severe injury. However, it needs some treatment.
You may need to take some rest and see a doctor. Overall after some time, you will recover, and it will not leave a mark on you.
But if the concussions happen repeatedly, then your headaches and other problems may become more permanent.
Is Every Hit a Concussion?
No. A concussion has clear symptoms, and if after a bump you don’t have these, then you should not worry.
However, even if you have one or two symptoms, for example, headache, it is not a guarantee that you have a concussion.
But if you are worried after the bump, then you can visit a doctor to be sure.
Does Hitting Your Head Cause Memory Loss?
It is possible. Serious head bumps can result in long term and short term memory loss.
Even after a concussion, you may have memory loss. However, severe memory loss happens during traumatic brain injuries.
There are different types of memory loss. For example, after an injury, you may remember your past but have difficulties remembering new moments of your life.
The common memory problems can be:
- You forget where you left your items.
- You forget part of a conversation.
- Asking too many questions, because you can’t remember what you did yesterday.
- Losing orientation, even if it is the way to your home.
- Being unable to track time and forget essential events.
- Forgetting your daily activities, which is part of your everyday life (taking medicines or visiting someone)
Does Hitting Your Head Make You Smarter?
There is no medical proof to this statement. There are many stories where people tell about the improvement of functions of their brain e.g. how they became a math genius after a brain injury or started to predict the future.
However, these are most likely stories with little truth to them. Or the felt improvements are related to other factors than the head injury.
There may be some rare cases when after an injury, people become geniuses. It is however more likely to hurt and damage you that to improve your intellect or memory.
So don’t injure your head with the hope of becoming smarter.
Which Sports May Cause Brain Damage?
Sports such as football, basketball, boxing, cycling, skating, skiing, skateboarding, horseback riding has had events that caused brain injuries.
In many countries, mentioned sports cause the highest number of brain injuries for adults.
All sports include the risk of getting hurt, but the ones that involve direct contact, speed or heights are most likely to cause injuries to your head.
In contact sports, you wear protective gear to decrease the likelihood of injury. But still, even with protection, you are risking injury if you get involved with contact sports.
Although, risk is part of life and shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying your sport, no matter what kind it is.
I’ve played basketball for many years, and I never hurt my head in any serious way (you need to check that fact with my girlfriend, though).
How to treat head injuries: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Sports-related-Head-Injury
What happens during a concussion: https://www.brainfacts.org/ask-an-expert/what-happens-in-the-brain-during-and-after-a-concussion
Types of head injury: https://www.healthline.com/health/head-injury#types
Getting smarter from head bumps: https://www.quora.com/Can-a-hit-in-the-head-make-you-less-smart
How concussions happen: https://www.webmd.com/brain/ss/slideshow-concussions-brain-injuries
Memory related injuries: https://msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Memory-And-Traumatic-Brain-Injury