Lump on the Head

A lump on the head can be caused by several things including head trauma, bone tumors and calcified bone. Getting bumped on the head is common and if you have symptoms other than some localized pain, the lump will go away in a day or two. However, a lump on the head can also have a more serious cause such as a hematoma or concussion. These serious conditions require immediate medical attention.

Causes of Lump on the Head

Head Injury

Always treat a head injury with caution. Urgent medical attention may be necessary since a brain injury may have occurred even without visible signs of head/facial trauma. Look for these signs of brain injury: dizziness, nausea, bruising or confusion.

For mild head injuries, using these steps for feeling better and preventing severe symptoms:

  1. Lay the person down with the head elevated. Low lighting creates a relaxing environment.
  2. Apply pressure to stop any bleeding - keep the pressure on the wound until bleeding stops.
  3. Headaches lasting more than an hour, dizziness, difficulty balancing, vomiting or unconsciousness can signal a dangerous intracranial hematoma which requires urgent medical attention.
  4. If the lump is simply swelling with no other symptoms, apply an ice pack to the lump for 15 minutes once every hour.

Get medical help immediately if the person has the following symptoms: becomes sleepy; unable to move an arm or a leg; has a severe headache; has a stiff neck; has different sized pupils (dark center of eye); loses consciousness, even for a moment; vomits more than once; exhibits abnormal behavior.

Bone Tumors

Bone tumors can cause of lumps on the head. These tissue masses are the result of uncontrolled bone cell division. Most bone tumors are benign (non-cancerous) and don’t spread. However, they can weaken the skull or cause other problems such as fractures. The most common form of bone tumor is called an osteochondroma and occurs most often in people ages 10-20.

Bone cancer is a serious condition that destroys normal bone tissue and can spread to other parts of the body. Typical bone tumor symptoms may include bone fractures from slight injury and bone pain that is worse at night. A mass and swelling may be felt at the tumor site. There may also be no symptoms.The cause of bone tumors is not known, although they seem to occur most in areas of rapid bone growth. Possible causes may include injuries or genetic defects but in most cases, there is no clear cause. A doctor should monitor bone tumors. Some benign bone tumors dissipate on their own without treatment although surgery may be required. Cancerous bone tumors may be treated aggressively with radiation therapy.

Calcified Bone

Calcification is a gradual accumulation of calcium in body tissue that can be felt as a hard lump. Bones and teeth absorb the most calcium in the body and any excess dissolves in the bloodstream and is excreted in urine. Some calcium can collect in body tissues resulting in hardening of the tissue.

Calcification can be discovered on mammograms and other x-rays. Some calcification is normal. Calcification that is disease-related may not cause detectable symptoms although the individual may experience these symptoms:

  • Impaired growth
  • Bone pain
  • Bone spurs
  • Breast mass or lump
  • Increased frequency of fractures
  • Muscle cramping or weakness
  • Progressive weakness
  • Deformities including spinal curvature or leg bowing
  • Tooth tartar

Calcification can be caused by inflammation or high blood calcium levels or hypercalcemia and it is often a normal part of healing of musculoskeletal injuries. Calcification is common in people suffering from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), at sites of bone or cartilage injury, cancer and in benign and malignant breast processes. Calcification is not treatable and cannot be reversed. However, preventive action can be taken to treat disorders associated with calcification.

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