Recovering from subdural haematoma 

In some cases, a subdural haematoma can cause damage to the brain that requires further care and recovery time.

If this is the case, you may need further treatment from a neuro-rehabilitation team. This team may include physiotherapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists, who will help you to regain your ability to move, speak and live independently.

It can take a year or more to recover from a severe subdural haematoma. It is also important to remember that there may be some permanent damage, such as changes to your moods and concentration, or memory problems and weakness in your limbs.

Getting back to normal

Recovery after having a subdural haematoma will vary depending on how severe it is. One person may make a good recovery while another may be left with a disability or even end up in a vegetative state (function unconsciously).

After being discharged from hospital, it may take some time before you begin to feel normal again.

The length of time it takes to completely recover from a subdural haematoma will vary from person to person.

You may feel ready to return to work a few weeks after leaving hospital. But before you do, you may have to meet with your medical team at your outpatient's appointment. This may be some time after you are discharged.

While you are recovering, it is important to take things easy and not to do too much too soon. Make time every day to completely rest your brain from any kind of distraction, such as the radio or television.

Speak to your specialist for advice before flying. Depending on the severity of your subdural haematoma they may advise you not to fly for a period of time after treatment to avoid aggravating symptoms.

Getting support

As everyone’s recovery will be different, it is a good idea to seek further information about the possible effects and rehabilitation techniques. A number of charities and organisations may be able to help including:

Headway is a charity that provides help and support to people affected by head injuries.

For more information about all aspects of head injuries, call the Headway helpline on 0808 800 2244 between 9am and 5pm, Monday-Friday. The helpline staff can:

  • advise you about other sources of support
  • help you find local rehabilitation services
  • give you support and advice if you experience problems

You can use the Headway website to search for local Headway services. They offer a wide range of services, including rehabilitation programmes, carer support, social re-integration, community outreach and respite care (when short-term support is provided for someone who needs care, for example to give the usual carers a break).

Headway cannot give medical advice or a diagnosis. For this, see your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.


People who have a serious brain injury, such as a subdural haematoma, are not allowed to drive. They have a legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and their insurance company about the injury.

It is likely that the DVLA will withdraw your licence for six months or a year. After that time you can reapply for your licence, depending on your recovery.

If you have a seizure during your recovery from surgery, you will have to spend a year without having any further seizures before you will be allowed to drive a car or a motorcycle. It will take longer before you are allowed to drive a heavy goods vehicle.

More information about the medical rules for driving is available on the GOV.UK website.

Page last reviewed: 31/08/2013

Next review due: 31/08/2015