A head injury could mean a wide range of things, from a small bump on your head to a more serious, potentially fatal trauma. A head injury is any trauma to your scalp, brain or skull. A mild brain injury may affect the brain cells temporarily; however, a serious traumatic brain injury may result in physical damage to the brain, such as bleeding, bruising or torn tissue. These types of injuries may result in long-term complications or even death.
Common Types of Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury is referred to as either closed or penetrating. A closed traumatic brain injury is an injury that has been caused by the brain moving inside the skull, which is the most common type of brain injury. Car accidents, falls and being struck by an object are the most common causes of a closed brain injury. A penetrating traumatic brain injury is a result from a foreign object entering your skull, such as being struck by a sharp object or a gunshot. One of the most common types of injuries to the brain is a concussion, which is often categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury, because they are not generally life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Injury
In some situations, the symptoms of a brain injury will appear immediately, while in other cases the symptoms may appear slowly over several hours. Someone with a mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, may remain conscious or briefly pass out after they suffer the trauma. Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury may include:
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
In the case of a moderate to severe injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a severe brain injury may include:
- Unequal pupil size
- Skull fracture
- Loss of consciousness or confusion
- Personality changes
- Lack of coordination
- Slow breathing
- Severe headache
- Symptoms that seem to improve and then suddenly worsen
In many cases, the treatment for a mild traumatic brain injury is rest and over-the-counter pain relievers for headaches; however, the individual with a mild traumatic brain injury needs to be closely monitored in case there are new or worsening symptoms. A visit to the doctor is also necessary following an injury of this caliber. A moderate or severe brain injury requires emergency treatment. The type of medical treatment provided depends on the extent, type and severity of the injury, which may include medications to prevent secondary damages to the brain after the injury, such as anti-seizure drugs, pain relievers and/or coma inducers.