Closed Head Injury

It is not unusual, in fact almost a ritual, to open a carton of eggs to see if they are cracked before purchasing them at your local grocery store.  You may automatically assume that because the shell is not cracked the yolk inside must be undamaged.  With a closed head injury we can not assume the same.  Often times a closed head injury is much more serious than an open head injury.  In a closed head injury, your head is impacted but the skull is not broken. A closed head injury could result from a car crash, a slip and fall, or an attack or blow to the head. Or if your head experiences a sudden, jerking motion, your brain could be thrown against the skull. This could occur in a sports-related or occupational-related accident. In some, but not all cases, a closed head injury could lead to traumatic brain injury. When the brain collides with the skull, the nerves of the brain are harmed, thus interfering with the signals they normally produce. This results in the abilities associated with those nerve cells becoming impaired.  Ever bump your head and then feel dizzy? 

Because of the trauma in a closed head injury, the brain will swell and create extreme pressure on brain cells as it has no place to expand beyond the skull. The brain tissues are forced to compress causing injury to the sensitive brain cells. On occasion, the brain tissue may force its way through the eye sockets and thus affect normal eye functions.

An open head injury has an object penetrate the brain, while in a closed head injury the skull is not broken. Closed head injuries range from mild to severe and may affect one or many areas throughout the brain.

Closed Head Injury Symptoms

Because the closed head injury doesn’t seem as serious as an open head injury (remember the egg example), symptoms are not as apparent and may not even appear right away. Some closed head injury symptoms to look for are:

  • Headache 
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Short term memory loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Visual impairment
  • Convulsions 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Speech and language problems 
  • Emotional and behavioral changes 

If the damage to the brain in a closed head injury is severe, you may develop more serious symptoms and various complications from pressure and swelling of the brain. Some of these are:

  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Communication difficulties
  • Changes in sensory abilities
  • Coma
  • Death

The treatments for a closed head injury are determined by the seriousness of the damage. They range from bed rest and non-prescription painkillers to anti-seizure drugs to ease brain pressure or even surgery to drain blood clot deposits.

The potential for recovery from a closed head injury will depend on the severity of the impact and the amount of time the person was unconscious or comatose, among other factors. Therapy may be required to regain loss of motor skills, speech, or memory.