Signs and symptoms to look out for after a head injury

If someone has just been in an accident and you suspect that they have a head, neck, or spinal injury, it is important that they always call emergency services immediately. Until the victim is in immediate danger of further injury, do not move the person as this could greatly aggravate the injury.

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The signs and symptoms of a head injury depend on the severity of the injury and the structures of the face and head affected. You see some of the signs and you don't see others.

When emergency personnel arrive, they will assess the situation and immobilize the victim many times.

What are healthcare professionals looking for?

Once the patient has stabilized, the entire head is examined for cuts, tears, bleeding, and other soft tissue damage. Eyes that bulge out or sink back into the skull? What prevents you from breathing through your nose and mouth? Are there any broken bones in the face and skull?

Signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury resulting from a traumatic brain injury can appear immediately or over time. These signs also depend on which part of the brain has been damaged and whether there is bleeding under the skull and into the brain .

Symptoms immediately after a head injury

Loss of consciousness and / or disorientation is common after a head injury.

After a mild traumatic brain injury, the loss of consciousness may be absent or last only a few minutes. There may also be slight confusion or disorientation.

Loss of consciousness that lasts from one to 24 hours is often classified as moderate brain injury. Amnesia is possible , in which it is impossible to remember what happened immediately before or after the head injury.

Any time someone is unconscious for more than 24 hours after a head injury is considered a serious head injury. Amnesia often lasts longer and they may never remember the events associated with the traumatic event.

Difference between focal and diffuse symptoms

Focal brain damage occurs in a limited and focused area of the brain. It is easier to predict what types of signs and symptoms will develop because modern medicine knows what controls each area of the brain.

For example, damage to the area that controls vision can cause predictable changes in the way someone sees. Damage to the lingual region of the brain can cause difficulty speaking.

When a head injury causes diffuse brain damage, it is more difficult to predict which symptoms will develop. Diffuse damage spreads throughout brain tissue, with microscopic damage to nerve cells (neurons) in the brain that interferes with the normal flow of signals .

There are specialists who understand these types of injuries and perform careful follow-up examinations to prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Most common signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a head injury affect everything from control of bodily functions to emotions, physical movement, and perception of the environment.

Changes in cognition

  • Ability to concentrate
  • Memory
  • Control impulses
  • Paying attention
  • Making the right decisions
  • Think critically and understand things.

Sensory symptoms

  • Visual impairment , difficulty focusing the eyes.
  • Listening to problems
  • Changes or loss of smell
  • Taste disturbances
  • Altered touch sensations
  • Changes in the perception of pain, heat, cold.
  • Difficulty feeling the position of the body in space.

Physical symptoms

  • Inability to control fine motor skills.
  • Trouble walking and balance
  • Problems with bowel or bladder control.
  • Spasticity
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Sexual dysfunction

Psychosocial symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability and anger
  • Difficulty controlling emotions, emotional outbursts.
  • Depression
  • Loss of feelings of restraint

Other changes

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Development of signs and symptoms.

Head and brain injuries cause very complex symptoms that require special medical intervention, rehabilitation , and follow-up. The good news is that the brain has an amazing ability to heal, repair, and find new ways to learn. This is called brain plasticity.

Getting medical attention as soon as possible after a head injury improves long-term results. Remember, whenever you suspect a head, neck, or spinal injury, you should call 911. It is always best to be careful.

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