This question has been asked time and time again.

Many Black women express issues with their scalp itching before, during and after getting their hair done. Many, use the “patting their head” treatment so as to get rid of the itching, while not messing up their hairstyle or scalp. Many women can be seen doing it frequently throughout the day, but the question remains: is it damaging your brain?

The short answer is that it is very unlikely. If you don’t have any loss of consciousness, seizures, arm/leg weakness, altered vision, persistent severe post traumatic headaches, you more than likely will have no ill effects.

It actually takes fairly hard trauma to the head to hurt someone who is an adult.

But (you knew that a “but” was coming), with that being said, there is medical evidence that over a number of years, repeated mini-concussions can in fact cause brain damage. Rapidly shaking your head around back and forth can cause axons to tear, which causes brain cell death. Just think of the “shaking baby syndrome.” But as an adult, more force is needed to tear those axons apart than just a little shaking here and there.

And what can be classified as brain damage?

The brain is vulnerable to traumatic damage in two ways. The cerebral cortex can become bruised – contused – when the head strikes a hard object (or a hard objects strikes the head). Or, the deep white matter can suffer diffuse axonal injury when the head is whiplashed without hitting a hard object (or being hit by one). In serious whiplash injuries, the axons are stretched so much that they are damaged.

The brain has it’s own system of dealing with foreign materials, viruses, or trauma. The rest of the body depends largely on white blood cells or T-cells attacking invaders and making repairs. However, in the brain, this function has taken over by structures in the brain called “glial cells or astrocyctes.” When these cells become activated by trauma,…

Does Patting Your Head Too Much Cause Brain Damage?  was originally published on

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