Brain Injuries: More than meets the eye
Brain injuries can be revealed in a variety of ways. And since some symptoms might take a while to manifest themselves, it's important to see a doctor
as soon as possible after a blow to the head
A traumatic brain injury
, common in accident victims, soldiers
and even athletes
wearing protective headgear, happens when the head meets a force that exceeds its ability to resist injury. Whilst symptoms sometimes appear straight away, many develop over the course of a few days.Symptoms of brain injury
are many and varied. Thought
can be affected, as can perception
. There might be physical head pain
, whilst symptoms can appear in areas of the body physically unaffected by the original injury.
Most symptoms, of which a headache is the most common, take the form of physical pain. If the injury isn't severe this might be comparatively mild, but can steadily grow more intense until it becomes crippling, with fluids seeping from the nose or ears in particularly bad cases. Victims of brain trauma
can lose consciousness and experience difficulty in focusing or concentrating
. Memory and mood
might be affected, and senses can give false information, such as a persistent buzzing. Seizures or co-ordination problems are also not uncommon.
In the long term, a serious brain injury
might cause difficulties in concentrating and personality changes. Unusually deep sleep and general cognitive difficulty
can also be symptoms of this condition.
Further symptoms can arise as a result of the brain's inability
properly to regulate other bodily systems
, such as the bowel or the bladder, whilst serious bouts of nausea
are common. Numbness or tingling
might strike the arms, legs, fingers and toes, and patients might find it hard to walk or to retain balance
.Phillip Gower of Simpson Millar LLP's Serious Injury Team
stresses the need for anyone receiving a blow to the head to exercise extreme caution, regardless of circumstances and even if there seems to be no damage. "Since a brain injury isn't always immediately clear, anyone suffering head trauma should see a physician as soon as possible. This is especially important if an accident occurs at work
, where there may be great pressures on employees to ignore apparently minor symptoms and simply get on with the job."