Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external force impacts the head, causing damage to the brain. TBIs range in severity from mild to severe, but even mild cases can result in lifelong complications. Understanding the common signs and symptoms following a TBI is crucial for diagnosis and treatment. If you or a loved one suffers a head injury and experiences any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek medical care promptly.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a sudden trauma damages the brain. There are internal and external causes that can lead to this damage.
Car accidents remain a leading origin of TBI, whether from the initial collision, ejection from the vehicle, or hitting interior surfaces. These crashes cause extreme deceleration forces that slam the brain against the inside of the skull. Acts of violence also commonly involve blows to the head from physical assault, abuse, or gunshots at close range. Contact sports, too, result in TBIs from forcible collisions with equipment, the ground, or other players. Finally, powerful explosive devices used in military combat produce shockwaves that can damage soldiers’ brains without even striking their heads.
Internal causes typically involve health events precipitating falls. Strokes, seizures, low blood sugar, and drug reactions can all result in losing consciousness. The subsequent fall then slams the head forcefully into the ground. Additionally, the suddenly disrupted oxygen and glucose supply to the brain during medical events directly harms delicate tissues.
Whether from external collisions or internal health events, understanding key TBI causes assists with prevention and treatment.
Physical Signs and Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Some of the most identifiable signs of TBI relate to physical capabilities and functioning. Since the brain controls motor functions, injuries often impair mobility and coordination. Common physical symptoms include:
Loss of consciousness
If a person loses consciousness for any length of time, it signals the brain has undergone trauma. This critical indicator prompts urgent medical care to assess and monitor the situation. Even a brief loss of consciousness requires emergency evaluation, as it represents acute injury and risk. Doctors will check for ongoing bleeding, swelling, and escalating pressure inside the skull.
Headaches emanating from the site of the injury are a common sensation. These may indicate bleeding, bruising or swelling inside the brain itself. Headaches arising immediately or a few days later suggest TBI. If the headache persists or worsens, it could show an evolving brain hemorrhage requiring intervention. Medications may ease headaches, but ongoing severe head pain always warrants medical attention.
Many people with TBI experience dizziness and vertigo. This symptom indicates potential damage to the brain’s coordination and balance centers. The vestibular system and cerebellum are vulnerable to trauma and may be bruised or swollen after injury. Lingering dizziness hampers daily activities and raises the risk of falls which could inflict further injury.
Nausea and vomiting
Trauma to the brain frequently causes nausea and vomiting. If these symptoms linger for more than a day, it may show swelling or bleeding inside the skull. These symptoms also cause dehydration and chemical shifts which further stress the healing brain. Anti-nausea medication may provide relief but ongoing nausea or vomiting requires medical assessment.
Feeling extremely tired and lacking energy to perform daily activities is very common with TBI. It signals that the brain’s stamina is impaired. This fatigue can be physically and emotionally draining for patients. Energy conservation techniques combined with physical, occupational and speech therapy help counteract persistent exhaustion.
Difficulty sleeping and changes in sleep patterns often arise after brain trauma. This shows disruption to the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Lack of restorative sleep hampers all aspects of TBI recovery. Doctors may prescribe medications to help stabilize sleep rhythms and consult with neurologists for sleep studies.
Injuries may lead to altered senses of taste, smell, hearing and vision. Loss or heightened sensitivity in these areas reflects injury to brain regions that process sensory information. These sensory shifts add frustration and can interfere with daily functioning. Neuro-optometrists and occupational therapists help patients adjust through rehabilitation exercises.
Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms
In addition to physical symptoms, many cognitive and emotional symptoms emerge after TBI. Since the brain controls our abilities to think, feel and communicate, trauma can profoundly impact these realms. Common cognitive and emotional symptoms include:
One of the hallmark symptoms of TBI is memory deficits. These range from forgetfulness of details to larger gaps indicating amnesia. Memory loss shows potential hippocampal damage.
Concentration and focus problems
Sustaining concentration and focus on tasks requires significant mental energy, which is often lacking after brain trauma.
Processing speed reduction
When the speed and efficiency of understanding information decline, it reveals diffuse damage to the brain’s pathways.
Speaking, comprehending, reading and writing deficits arise frequently with TBI. Since the brain coordinates communication, injuries to certain areas lead to varied linguistic impairments.
Judgment and reasoning issues
Decision-making involves complex cognition, which relies on multiple undamaged regions. Impaired judgment after an injury highlights damaged areas.
Fluctuations in mood and easier emotional upset or irritation reflect potential limbic system damage regulating emotions.
Many patients suffer reactive depression following the trauma, frustration of symptoms, or reduced quality of life.
No two traumatic brain injuries look exactly the same, given the cognitive complexity and variability of the brain itself. But understanding the diverse range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms empowers patients, families and physicians to identify TBI and seek appropriate treatment. If you notice any cluster of these symptoms after an accident, err on the side of caution and consult a doctor for an assessment. While all brain trauma differs in cause and details, the journey toward healing starts with recognizing common signs.
Working with a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
Suffering any degree of traumatic brain injury often brings devastating disruption and costs for survivors and families. Expenses quickly escalate to include medical bills, rehabilitation services, accessibility modifications, lost current and future income, and more.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney gives you the best chance of securing the compensation you need and rightfully deserve after this life-changing harm. An accomplished brain injury lawyer Los Angeles thoroughly investigates your injury claim, retains expert witnesses, quantifies both economic and non-economic damages, skillfully negotiates settlement offers, or takes your case to trial if necessary.
With compassion and dedication, a Los Angeles traumatic brain injury lawyer from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys will fight for justice on your behalf.