What is a Mild Brain Injury?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mild brain injuries may cause blurred vision, nausea, and slurred speech.
Mild brain injuries may cause blurred vision, nausea, and slurred speech.

A mild brain injury is an injury to the brain associated with mild symptoms that resolve quickly. These types of injuries can lead to long term neurological problems like post-concussion syndrome, but permanent damage is rare when compared with moderate and severe brain injuries. Most commonly, a mild brain injury is caused by trauma to the head like a blow or fall where the skull receives the brunt of the impact. Treatment options generally consist of monitoring the patient and making sure the patient rests.

Some head injuries can look much worse than they are, because they tend to bleed heavily.
Some head injuries can look much worse than they are, because they tend to bleed heavily.

A person with a mild brain injury may lose consciousness, but not for more than 30 minutes. Temporary memory loss can also be observed and lasts less than 24 hours. While the patient may initially have an altered mental state and appear confused or distressed, a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 13-15 should be observed after 30 minutes, with the patient being alert and active. A persistence of unconsciousness or memory loss is an indicator that a patient has a moderate or possibly severe brain injury, and the approach to treatment may change.

Repeated blows to the head can lead to long-lasting problems.
Repeated blows to the head can lead to long-lasting problems.

In addition to headaches and disorientation, mild brain injuries can cause temporarily blurred vision, nausea, slurred speech, and problems with executive function, among other symptoms. These problems should resolve quickly. Assessment of the patient usually does not require medical imaging studies, unless a doctor is concerned that injuries are still occurring inside the brain or is worried about the nature of the symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids should be enough to help the patient recover from a mild brain injury.

Patients with head injuries may experience dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, an altered sense of taste and nausea.
Patients with head injuries may experience dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, an altered sense of taste and nausea.

In a complication of some mild brain injury cases known as post-concussion syndrome, the patient experiences headaches, behavioral changes, and difficulty focusing for days, weeks, months, or even longer after a brain injury. The causes of this complication are not well understood. Patients can sometimes benefit from psychotherapy to address the emotional symptoms and some may be offered medications to treat issues like depression associated with post-concussion syndrome.

Disorientation is a symptom of a mild brain injury.
Disorientation is a symptom of a mild brain injury.

People who experience recurrent mild brain injuries, such as athletes, can be at increased risk for developing neurological problems later. Studies on older athletes have shown that even with helmets for skull protection, athletes with a history of head injuries were more likely to experience memory loss and other problems with age. Wearing proper skull protection during sports is very important, as is resting completely after an injury; even if a patient feels fine, staying off the field to give the body and brain a chance to recover is recommended.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Mild brain injuries may cause blurred vision, nausea, and slurred speech.
      By: seraphic06
      Mild brain injuries may cause blurred vision, nausea, and slurred speech.
    • Some head injuries can look much worse than they are, because they tend to bleed heavily.
      By: william87
      Some head injuries can look much worse than they are, because they tend to bleed heavily.
    • Repeated blows to the head can lead to long-lasting problems.
      By: beto_chagas
      Repeated blows to the head can lead to long-lasting problems.
    • 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 symptom of a mild brain injury.
      By: Marijus
      Disorientation is a symptom of a mild brain injury.
    • An individual with a mild brain injury may lose consciousness for 30 minutes or less.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      An individual with a mild brain injury may lose consciousness for 30 minutes or less.
    • A person with a mild brain injury may lose consciousness for 30 minutes or less.
      By: Photographee.eu
      A person with a mild brain injury may lose consciousness for 30 minutes or less.
    • A mild brain injury typically does not require medical imaging studies unless the doctor is concerned that injuries are still occurring inside the brain.
      By: StockPhotosArt
      A mild brain injury typically does not require medical imaging studies unless the doctor is concerned that injuries are still occurring inside the brain.