Traumatic brain damage can happen when the head is struck violently from the outside or when severe whiplash causes the brain to be internally affected (TBI). A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a specific sort of acquired brain damage (one that isn’t degenerative, congenital, or genetic in origin) that happens when the head is violently struck externally, either by impact (such in a vehicle accident) or penetration (such as shrapnel or a bullet). TBIs sometimes lead to a loss of consciousness at the scene of the accident, which is risky and demands extra medical attention.
Identifying head injuries
Unfortunately, a lot of people think that when someone is returned home, they are safe. This can be a highly risky assumption because any substantial brain trauma can result in subtle, incapacitating delayed symptoms that might persist for months or even years after the initial incident.
Those who have severe signs of traumatic brain damage should seek emergency medical attention.
- Balance issues
- Occasional nauseous
- Extreme drowsiness
- Irregular speech
- Chronic headaches
Brain injury versus concussion
In the United States, people are becoming more aware of how devastating brain injuries are. For instance, football fans may have noted how professional leagues and institutions have developed new concussion policies and procedures. However, it’s essential to understand the distinction between a concussion and brain damage.
Any brain damage brought on by a blow to the head or body is categorized as traumatic. It could only cause an impact or it might penetrate the brain’s tissue. TBIs can range in severity from mild to severe. Following a head injury, symptoms can range from headaches, tingling in the hands, or a pins-and-needles sensation to irreversible brain damage, loss of eyesight, and even death. Years after a traumatic brain injury, people may still have symptoms.
A jarring blow or body-to-head contact that impairs brain function results in a concussion, a kind of traumatic brain injury. In the skull, the brain is jostled back and forth, which can harm brain cells and change brain chemistry. Even while a concussion frequently has delayed symptoms, some people still refer to it as a mild TBI.
The majority of motor accidents include physical forces that increase the likelihood of considerably more serious brain damage than merely a concussion.
What are the more subtle signs of a traumatic brain injury?
Most individuals should be able to recognize the early symptoms of traumatic brain damage, and if they do, the injured person should seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, there are other, later signs and symptoms of a brain injury that might be just as significant but are frequently disregarded. These signs may point to lingering issues, such as tingling in the hands after striking the head, or numbness on the scalp, which may get worse with time.
- Vision problems
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Faintness or balance issues
- Memory problems
- Altered taste and smell
- Persistent headaches
- Personality changes
- Excessive lethargy
Following signs of long-term issues after a severe brain injury should be monitored by family members and loved ones:
This is a significant issue and could be among the more serious long-term effects of a brain injury. The type of head injury and the precise site of impact can have a big influence on how the brain is impacted because it is such a fragile organ. For instance, a hit to the frontal lobe may make a person more reckless than normal or make it difficult for them to manage certain behaviors that they were able to control before the injury.
Emotional changes may also occur. The individual could be less sentimental and more rational than previously. They could display hobbies and actions that were unfamiliar to them before the injury. There are many different long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury. The bottom line is that a follow-up visit with a medical practitioner is necessary if the person is different after the accident in terms of behavior, emotional state, or overall attitude.
It’s normal for someone to feel worn out right away following a TBI. However, if this overarching lethargicness and tiredness (mental and/or physical) persists after the body starts to heal, it’s a sign that TBI issues are still present. Changes in sleeping habits are particularly crucial in identifying these kinds of consequences. Potential long-term issues might also be indicated by overall sluggishness and indifference.
This brain damage symptom might be severe or mild. After a vehicle accident or other head trauma, severely blurred vision is a clear indication that something is wrong and is typically noticed shortly after the incident. Even though patients frequently dismiss subtle visual changes, head injuries can cause immediate, long-term issues. It can be a direct outcome of brain injury if the person struggles with close-up reading or has less long-range vision. Due to potential side effects including increased accident risk, the field of vision issues should be treated at once.
Following a head injury, numbness or tingling
Following a head injury, there may be persistent scalp numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling in other parts of the body. This can be a sign of a nerve condition or it might be a result of genuine brain damage in some regions. Because of how the brain divides control of the neurological system between the hemispheres, these pins and needles after striking your head frequently appear mostly on one side of the body.
Issues with balance or fainting
After striking your head, it sometimes becomes clear that you have a lasting tendency to faint. Usually, an interruption in the blood supply to the brain causes fainting. This ailment frequently manifests as increased sleep duration and lethargy. A lack of blood supply to the brain may be the root cause of any of these symptoms.
It’s normal to experience some memory issues following a head injury. But if they persist past the typical healing time, it can be a sign of a more serious injury than was initially thought. Traumatic brain injury symptoms include forgetfulness, an inability to recall names or locations, a decline in short-term memory, etc. All of these symptoms may indicate possible long-term harm to the brain’s capacity for information processing and memory storage.
Altered flavors and odors
Due to their high sensitivity, the olfactory organs are easily harmed by even little head trauma. The signs might not be immediately visible. But the individual could become aware of changes in tastes or odors over time. The underlying issue and whether it is treated require a comprehensive medical assessment because there are several potential explanations for these issues.
Chronic headaches or lightheadedness
Immediately following a hit to the head, you would naturally be on the alert for any head pain or other related symptoms, but headaches and dizziness may be prevalent enough and caused by so many different causes that it would be simple to brush off as something less serious. Following an injury, head numbness, vertigo, and/or migraines may signify a change in the brain, nerve damage, or damage to the brainstem.
FAQs about brain injury
Medical research has advanced greatly, particularly in the last several years, although we still have much to learn about how the brain functions. Knowing the symptoms of traumatic brain injury after an accident and what to do if you see them might make a huge difference in how quickly you or a loved one recovers.
Can brain damage occur and go unnoticed?
Yes. Some brain injury delayed symptoms may not become obvious for days or even weeks after the event, although some may be seen right away.
When should a head injury require medical attention?
Immediately seek medical attention if you’ve suffered a head injury. It’s still conceivable that you will experience post-concussion symptoms if you were examined by a doctor but then released. If you see any hints of traumatic brain damage, even if you’re merely worried about how severe the head injury was, it’s better to see a doctor as soon as you can. Traumatic head injuries can be treated with anything from painkillers and rest to brain surgery and prolonged rehabilitation.
How long does a traumatic brain injury take to heal?
A traumatic brain injury’s severity determines how long it takes to recover. Two to three weeks may pass after a concussion before symptoms disappear. To restore lost brain function, more severe traumatic brain injuries may need months or years of rehabilitation. But sometimes a full recovery is not feasible.
Around 30% of people require some support from another person in their everyday lives two years after a moderate or severe TBI, according to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Facility (MSKTC), a national research center that specializes in traumatic brain injury. About 25% of victims continue to struggle with depression and frequently still have difficulties thinking.
Roughly half may resume driving, but perhaps not as frequently or in the same manner as previously. Only 30% of people are employed, albeit they may not be in the same position as before their TBI. Again, those figures are for victims who have been in recovery for two years, so more recovery is still possible, but it illustrates how much time and effort are required.
Can the brain recover from damage on its own?
The amount of the traumatic brain injury will determine whether the brain can recover itself. Rest may be sufficient for TBIs with less severe symptoms. More severe TBIs, however, could need protracted therapy and rehabilitation to help the process, albeit complete recovery is not always assured. The ability of the brain to repair is also influenced by healthy choices, such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Another crucial factor is how fast a TBI is identified and subsequently treated.
Speak with a brain injury attorney
Injuries to the head require medical care in an accident. Years later, you may still have traumatic brain injury symptoms, which may be quite crippling. The best resource for rehabilitation is a close friend or relative who can keep an eye out for any residual symptoms of traumatic brain injury that the victim might not be able to recognize on their own.
If you know someone who has had a head injury because of an accident, make sure to contact a reputable brain injury attorney as soon as possible. Recovery from a TBI can take months or even years of costly medical procedures and rehabilitation. A knowledgeable traumatic brain injury attorney can assist you in obtaining the money you need to pay for your past and future medical care. Don’t allow financial concerns to add another challenge to the long road to recovery after a TBI.