Identifying Head Injury Symptoms by Charles Watson
Posted on January 26, 2022
Head injuries range from a bump on the head to a skull fracture. Some head injuries are severe enough to cause brain damage or even death.
It is possible to treat a bump or mild injury at home, however, it is important to know the signs and symptoms and when to see a doctor.
Knowing the symptoms of a concussion and some simple first aid can help people respond to a head injury quickly, reducing the chances of complications.
Types: A head injury may present different symptoms.
There are a variety of head injury types, and the injury can be more or less severe within each category.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when the brain is injured, usually because of an accident. A person may have a TBI if an object hits their head, or if an object penetrates the brain through the skull.
Some examples include falling from a great height onto the head, a ball hitting the head at high speed, or having a gunshot wound. Violent shaking of the head can also cause a TBI, as the brain can bounce or twist in the skull. These cases are often related to whiplash.
A TBI damages the brain, usually causing a blood clot or bruising. A blood clot in the brain is known as an intracranial hematoma (ICH). An ICH can be more or less severe depending on its size and location in the brain.
Symptoms: A head injury may present different symptoms depending on its severity.
Symptoms of a mild head injury include:
- some bleeding and bruising
- a mild headache
- mild dizziness
- amnesia (memory loss) of events before the injury and immediately after it
- feeling sick or nauseated
- slow reflexes
A concussion is a form of TBI that temporarily stops the brain from functioning normally. Symptoms of a concussion are not always serious or long-lasting but may cause complications.
Key symptoms of a concussion include:
- feeling groggy
- a headache
- blurred vision
- dislike of noise or light
- balance problems
- difficulty concentrating
Symptoms of a moderate head injury include: The damage to the brain tissue creates pressure and swelling on the skull. This pressure is known as ICP (intracranial pressure).
- dilated pupil
- high blood pressure
- abnormal breathing
- a lasting headache
- loss of balance
- memory problems
- passing out for a short time
- confusion or distraction
- temporary changes in behavior
Symptoms of a severe head injury include:
The skull is made of very hard, thick bone designed to protect the brain from injuries. However, it is possible to break or fracture the skull with a hard impact. If the skull breaks and the bone or another object punctures the brain, a doctor will refer to the injury like an open head injury or penetrating head injury.
- significant bleeding
- having a seizure
- difficulty staying alert or awake difficulty speaking
- slurred speech, lasting headache
- bruises behind the ears
- weakness or numbness
- problems with vision, taste, or smell
- passing out and not waking up
- clear fluid or blood coming out of the ears or nose
Moderate and severe head injuries require immediate treatment. If the symptoms of a mild head injury last for more than 2 weeks, a person should also seek medical advice.
The symptoms of a concussion do not always appear immediately. Sometimes, a person may develop initial symptoms days or weeks after the injury.
People should always take head injuries seriously. If someone is concerned about their symptoms, even after a mild injury, they should speak to a doctor.