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Injury Prevention and Safety

Head injury

03/08/2008

Question:

Head Injury? was thrown out of car, back of head had 6 staples across the top back in July 06, sometimes now whenever it is cold out my head hurts( kinda like a brain freeze )so even when I am inside the house or sleeping I put on a hat because for some reason that warms it up and it feels a little better, it was like this last winter also, my doctors never heard anything like this so they don`t know what to tell me, I am hoping someone knows why this happens, Thank You, ( I feel most of it in left front and where my head was cut open

Answer:

I really don't know why you have the cold sensation for sure. If you don't have any color changes of your skin in that area to blue or purple, which would suggest damage to the nerves and blood vessels, then it may well be a part of the healing process as nerves reconnect and blood vessels form in the new tissue.

It is not surprising that a hat works wonders. Most of us don't realize that we lose about 25% of our body heat through our scalps. So wearing a hat is a great way to warm up and stay warm.

If you also suffered a concussion at the time of your accident, the cold sensations may be part of what is called post-concussive syndrome where people continue to have memory problems, headaches, fatigue, and a variety of symptoms for which a cause cannot be found.

Finally, it may be Raynaud's Syndrome. This is sudden and prolonged vasoconstriction of blood vessels squeezing closed in  parts of the body most distant from the heart such as the toes, fingers, nose tip and ear lobes. Usually the skin turns white or even blue or purple. This can last for 30 minutes or more. This is followed by the skin flushing bright red as the blood vessels relax and blood once again flows into the area. It can be provoked by anxiety, cold exposure, or other triggers specific to each person. Keeping the parts that tend to blanch and feel cold warm prevents these uncomfortable events. This is frequently a condition that runs in families.

So I can't tell you why you have this problem specifically, but I can suggest some plausible reasons. Keep that hat handy and good luck!

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University