Brain injury can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what age, race, gender or profession as it can happen to just about anybody.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the severity of a head injury can be classified as mild moderate or severe. It can also be traumatic or non-traumatic to describe the cause of injury.
The most common type of mild head injury is concussion. It happens when the brain receives trauma from an impact or a sudden movement change.
Symptoms of Mild Brain Injury
Because it is a common type of injury, mild head injury is often overlooked. The symptoms can be immediate or can take up to one year depending on the individual who suffers the trauma. The injured person experiences both physical and cognitive symptoms after the head trauma.
Headache is the most common symptom of brain injury. The patient may complain of headache. This may include light sensitivity, blurred vision, double vision and dizziness. Some also experience vomiting, nausea and difficulty in balancing. Their movements and sensations are also affected.
Loss of consciousness may or may not occur after the injury. Brain functions are sometimes disrupted resulting to confusion and disorientation of the person.
Short-term Memory Loss
For the cognitive and emotional aspect, the injured person may experience difficulty in focusing or thinking clearly. Sometimes they are unable to remember new information as well or what we call post traumatic amnesia as memory loss kicks in. they may also be unable to follow conversations or recall their injury.
The person may also be irritable and more emotional and there may be instances of sleep cycle disturbance. He or she may have trouble falling asleep or might sleep more than usual.
The symptoms of head injury vary as each individual may experience differently that the other.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people recover easily at the time of injury. But recovery for older adults and young children may be slower. Some symptoms may appear immediately while others manifest days or months after the brain injury. The injured person may look fine even though he is acting or feeling differently than his normal self.
After experiencing a head trauma, headache may get worse and will not go away. Once such symptoms is identified, the person or family members must contact the health care provider. They should also seek help if the patient experiences numbness, decreased coordination, slurred speech or difficulty in speaking.
Family members must also watch out for signs of brain injury and seek help immediately when the following symptoms are observed:
- inability to recognize people or places
- difficulty to wake up or coma
- seizures and unusual behavior
- repeated vomiting and nausea
Once at the emergency room, the health provider will diagnose the severity of the head trauma and if there is head injury after thorough examination and laboratory tests and imaging .
Brain CT scan and MRI may be ordered along with other tests.
The Glasgow coma scale is a neurological scale used to assess a person’s level of consciousness. A person with mild brain injury has a total GCS score of 13 to 15.
The injured person may be required to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Attending doctors may also prescribe over the counter medications. Intake of alcohol and some medicines will be prohibited which may affect the person’s consciousness and well – being.
Many people recover quickly from a mild brain injury. Others may take 2-3 weeks for their symptoms to disappear but if the symptoms worsen, seeing a specialist trained in concussion management is necessary.