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What are the Different Head Injury Symptoms?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

Head injuries can result from bodily impacts of varying intensities, from a major car accident to a seemingly benign bump on the head. Those suffering from head injury often present a wide range of physical and behavioral symptoms which can give those around them clues about the nature and severity of the injury. Learning to recognize the different head injury symptoms can be invaluable in distinguishing between minor injuries and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Some head injury symptoms signal a minor traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion. This type of injury is often caused by incidents like collisions during sports games or minor falls. Common concussion symptoms include partial memory loss, confusion, moodiness, and fatigue. Sufferers may also experience dizziness, headache, mild nausea, sensitivity to light, and an altered sense of taste.

An MRI scan of the head may be used to help determine the severity of a head injury.
An MRI scan of the head may be used to help determine the severity of a head injury.

Witnessing these kinds of head injury symptoms in a loved one can be frightening. In most cases, however, concussion is not a serious injury. Often, the injury will resolve itself in a matter of days or even hours, and the accompanying symptoms will disappear. Should symptoms persist for several days or show signs of worsening, however, it is advisable to contact a physician, as the injured party may in fact be suffering from a more serious condition.

Doctors use X-ray and MRI images to detect internal head injuries.
Doctors use X-ray and MRI images to detect internal head injuries.

In the case of more severe head injuries — those arising from a bullet wound, for instance, or an extremely harsh blow to the skull — seeking immediate treatment is imperative. Injuries like these can cause cracks in the skull as well as bleeding and swelling of the brain. If left untreated, such conditions can lead to sustained brain damage, paralysis, or even death. Thus being able to recognize severe head injury symptoms can prove critical to the sufferer’s life.

Head injury symptoms may include confusion and fatigue.
Head injury symptoms may include confusion and fatigue.

These severe head injury symptoms can include vomiting, bleeding from the ears, mouth, or nose, and visible swelling or fissure at the site of the trauma. Sufferers also sometimes experience intense headache, disorientation, slurred speech, and pupil dilation. Other potential symptoms include convulsions, loss of consciousness, and a decreased respiration rate. In some cases the injured party may be unable to move his limbs.

First responders often treat every patient like they have a traumatic brain injury until their true condition can be further assessed.
First responders often treat every patient like they have a traumatic brain injury until their true condition can be further assessed.

The prognosis for severe head injuries can be greatly affected by the amount of time that passes before the sufferer receives treatment. Thus, if a head trauma sufferer displays any of the symptoms of severe injury, he should be given immediate medical attention. If possible, he should be transported to a medical center by emergency medical professionals, as moving him improperly can further aggravate his injury.

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    • An MRI scan of the head may be used to help determine the severity of a head injury.
      By: Marcin Sadlowski
      An MRI scan of the head may be used to help determine the severity of a head injury.
    • Doctors use X-ray and MRI images to detect internal head injuries.
      By: EldinChaos
      Doctors use X-ray and MRI images to detect internal head injuries.
    • Head injury symptoms may include confusion and fatigue.
      By: seraphic06
      Head injury symptoms may include confusion and fatigue.
    • First responders often treat every patient like they have a traumatic brain injury until their true condition can be further assessed.
      By: william87
      First responders often treat every patient like they have a traumatic brain injury until their true condition can be further assessed.
    • Football players are at a high risk for concussions.
      By: beto_chagas
      Football players are at a high risk for concussions.
    • Patients with head injuries may experience dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, an altered sense of taste and nausea.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Patients with head injuries may experience dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, an altered sense of taste and nausea.
    • Disorientation is a common symptom following a head injury.
      By: Marijus
      Disorientation is a common symptom following a head injury.