What Is Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
An MRI scan of the brain may be used to help diagnose a traumatic brain injury.
An MRI scan of the brain may be used to help diagnose a traumatic brain injury.

A mild traumatic brain injury is the most common type of injury involving the brain and can cause temporary or permanent damage, although the outward symptoms might not be as noticeable as with a severe injury to the brain. A person who has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury might appear to be dazed, or in some cases, a brief period of unconsciousness might occur. Brain scans are often normal when a mild injury occurs, although the patient might experience symptoms such as headaches, memory problems, physical deficits or mood swings. Most people who suffer this type of injury will have a complete recovery, although permanent damage is possible. Any specific or individualized questions or concerns about mild traumatic brain injury should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Someone who has suffered mild traumatic brain injury may appear dazed.
Someone who has suffered mild traumatic brain injury may appear dazed.

Some events that can potentially cause a mild traumatic brain injury include a direct blow to the head, an accident that causes the head to strike an object with some degree of force or a sudden jerking of the head as might occur with whiplash. Neurological and diagnostic tests might appear to be normal, and the full effects of the injury might not become apparent until more than 24 hours have passed following the injury. The effects might be so subtle that the patient does not notice any changes, although other people might see that the patient is acting differently from before the injury occurred.

Whiplash is is one of the most common causes of brain injury without direct trauma.
Whiplash is is one of the most common causes of brain injury without direct trauma.

In many instances, a person who suffers a mild traumatic brain injury will appear to be dazed and confused but will retain consciousness. To be classified as a minor injury, if a loss of consciousness does occur, it cannot last longer than 30 minutes. Post-traumatic amnesia is a type of memory loss that might occur after a head injury. This amnesia lasts less than 24 hours when a mild traumatic brain injury is involved.

Mild traumatic brain injury can involve a small open wound on the head, or can be a closed-head injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury can involve a small open wound on the head, or can be a closed-head injury.

Nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and dizziness are common physical symptoms that might follow a mild traumatic brain injury. Behavioral changes might include irritability, mood swings or a lack of response to emotional stimuli. Cognitive effects might involve difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, difficulty with speech or perception disorders. Most of these symptoms disappear within a few days after the injury, although some of the damage to the brain might cause varying degrees of permanent disability. Any head injury should be evaluated by a doctor to make sure that there are no severe complications.

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    • An MRI scan of the brain may be used to help diagnose a traumatic brain injury.
      An MRI scan of the brain may be used to help diagnose a traumatic brain injury.
    • Someone who has suffered mild traumatic brain injury may appear dazed.
      Someone who has suffered mild traumatic brain injury may appear dazed.
    • Whiplash is is one of the most common causes of brain injury without direct trauma.
      Whiplash is is one of the most common causes of brain injury without direct trauma.
    • Mild traumatic brain injury can involve a small open wound on the head, or can be a closed-head injury.
      Mild traumatic brain injury can involve a small open wound on the head, or can be a closed-head injury.
    • Mild traumatic brain injuries can cause temporary or permanent damage.
      Mild traumatic brain injuries can cause temporary or permanent damage.
    • A person with mild brain trauma may lose consciousness for up to 30 minutes.
      A person with mild brain trauma may lose consciousness for up to 30 minutes.