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Traumatic Brain Injury Examples, Symptoms, and Treatment

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

About 69 million traumatic brain injuries are reported worldwide each year due to various accidents.

A traumatic brain injury, also known as a TBI, can occur when, for example, the head is suddenly and violently struck against an object or when the skull is pierced with a thing. 

In the aftermath of a blow, the bones of the skull, the soft tissues of the face and head, and the facial skeleton may be affected. Intracranial injuries such as damage to the brain substance and its membranes may also occur.

While any head injury can be severe, TBI is particularly serious because it can cause permanent brain damage. 

Lone Star Neurology decided to write an article in which we take a closer look at head injuries, symptoms and signs of brain damage, and treatment options. 

Read on to understand what to do in case of such a problem.

 

Leading Causes of a Head Injury

Leading causes of a head injury

There are many reasons a person may suffer head injuries of varying severity, including closed and open injuries. Here are some of the most common reasons people get TBIs:

  • Car accidents: In the United States and many other developing countries, car accidents are the leading cause of TBIs. They account for about 21% of all traumatic signs of brain damage.
  • Falls: Falls are the second leading cause of TBI. They account for only 1% fewer cases than car accidents. This injury usually affects people over age 70 and children under 10, but no one rules out accidental falls between the ages of 11 and 70.
  • Violence: Violence is the third leading cause of TBI and includes intentional (such as assault and subsequent bang on the head and other body parts) and unintentional (such as child abuse) acts of violence.
  • Sports injuries: traumatic brain injuries can also occur during sports. Soccer, hockey, boxing, and unsafe horseback riding are some of the most dangerous sports regarding closed head injuries.
  • Explosive injuries: traumatic brain injuries caused by explosions are most commonly seen in military personnel. However, careless handling of pyrotechnics can also be included here.

 

How Long After a Head Injury Can Symptoms Occur?

Symptoms may appear at different intervals depending on the type of head injury. They may occur immediately after the traumatic accident or may not be noticeable until several days or weeks later. 

It is because, after an injury, the brain swells and puts pressure on the skull, which can lead to further damage. 

It is important to note that some people may not experience any initial symptoms after a bang on the head but may have long-term effects of the injury.

 

Traumatic Brain Injury Examples

Now let’s look at what types of injuries can occur:

  • Concussion

Concussions are one of the most common brain injuries. They occur when there is a change in the function of the brain as a result of a blow to the inner walls of the skull.

It develops more often with closed head injuries. Functional disorders characterize it without morphological changes: loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, headache, and retrograde amnesia. These disorders are temporary and reversible.

  • Edema

Edema refers to swelling of the brain, which can result from any cranial trauma, such as a back of the head bump from a fall. Because the skull cannot expand to accommodate the swelling, the swelling can cause pressure on the brain. 

  • Diffuse Axonal Damage

Diffuse axonal damage causes damage to the axons of brain cells, making them unable to function. No bleeding is associated with diffuse axonal damage, but there may be swelling. This closed head injury can eventually lead to loss of some function. 

It is characterized by a prolonged (up to 2-3 weeks) comatose state and pronounced trunk symptoms. Respiratory rate and rhythm disorders are observed. Vegetative conditions are expressed.

  • Hematoma

Intracranial hematoma is characterized by an accumulation of blood in the brain or empty spaces around the brain caused by a ruptured blood vessel. There are different types of hematomas depending on their location in the brain. 

  • Skull Fracture

Skull fractures are rare, mainly after a bump to the back of the head. However, they can cause changes in brain function and possible infection. 

 

There are four types of fractures: linear, depressed, diastatic, and skull base fracture.

  • The most common type of fracture is a linear fracture, considered a closed head injury. With this type of fracture, a common fracture occurs but without displacement. This type of fracture does not require treatment. Usually, if a person has this type, the doctor observes the patient in the hospital for a short amount of time, and then the patient returns to everyday life with few restrictions.
  • The next type is a depressed fracture. This type is so called because it pushes the skull inward due to trauma. This fracture may result in bruising of the head, wounds, and abrasions. Depending on the severity, surgery may be necessary.
  • Diastatic fractures occur at the suture lines of the skull. Fractures of this type occur primarily in children and adolescents because the skull suture lines fuse in childhood and may not be as strong as in adulthood.
  • The last and most severe type of fracture is a skull base fracture. In this case, people may experience bruising all over the head, especially around the eyes and behind the ears. This type of fracture requires close observation in the hospital.

 

Main Head Injuries Symptoms

Main head injuries symptoms

The main symptoms of traumatic brain injury can be classified as follows:

  • Cognitive Impairment

After a closed head injury, concentration, attention, memory, and thinking problems are common. The severity of these impairments depends on the extent of the injury. 

  • Psychological Problems

People with traumatic brain injury may have trouble controlling their emotions. These include irritability, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Anger and aggression are also common. 

  • Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders like insomnia are also common. People with traumatic brain injury may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. 

  • Sensory Problems

These include vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch changes. People with traumatic brain injury may also experience other symptoms, for example, severe pain. 

  • Motor Dysfunction

It may include weakness, paralysis, loss of coordination, and problems with fine motor skills

  • Fatigue

People with traumatic brain injury often feel tired and may need more sleep than usual. 

What Are Some Immediate Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury?

One of the most common immediate signs of traumatic brain injury is loss of consciousness. However, not everyone who loses consciousness has TBI.

 

Other signs and symptoms of head injuries that may occur immediately after a traumatic accident include:

  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • slurred speech or other communication problems
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache or neck pain
  • changes in vision
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • sensitivity to light or noise
  • mood changes or irritability
  • fatigue or drowsiness

 

What Are Some Late Signs of Brain Damage?

Some late signs of traumatic brain injury include:

  • chronic headache
  • mood changes and irritability
  • memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • seizures

Sensory problems include ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, and vision changes.

 

How Is a Brain Injury Diagnosed?

Diagnosing the exact degree of difficulty after a person has been injured is impossible. To do this, it is necessary first to take the injured person to the hospital and perform various examinations.

A physical examination and determination of symptoms will help diagnose a head injury. The doctor will be sure to clarify how the person was injured and, if necessary, may refer them to a subspecialist, as a head injury can cause neurological problems and require further medical monitoring.

How is a brain injury diagnosed

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests.
  • X-rays. This test uses electromagnetic energy beams to create images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on roentgen film.
  • Computed tomography. This procedure uses a combination of X-rays and a computer to produce detailed images of any part of the body, including bones, muscles, fat, and organs. A CT scan is more detailed than a regular X-ray.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG). This procedure records the brain’s continuous electrical activity using electrodes attached to the scalp.
  • MRI. This test uses large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and body structures. It does not use X-rays.

It does not mean that after you bang on the head, you need to have every one of these tests; the doctor will tell you what is best to choose.

 

What Are the Ways to Treat a Head Injury?

Which way will treat your head injury will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health

After diagnosing your injury, your doctor will decide, which can range from applying an ice pack to surgery.

If the bang on the head was too severe, you might have your intracranial pressure checked. It is done because a head injury can lead to brain swelling. Because the skull covers the brain, there is only a tiny amount of space left for it to swell. It causes an increase in pressure inside the head, which can lead to brain damage.

Intracranial pressure is measured in one of two ways: 

  • The first involves inserting a tiny hollow tube (catheter) into the brain’s fluid-filled region (ventricle).
  • The second method involves inserting a tiny hollow device (bolt) into the gap between your skull and brain through your skull.

The physician will insert one or both devices in the intensive care unit (ICU) or operating room. They will then connect the device to a monitor that continuously shows the pressure inside your skull. If the pressure rises, it can be treated immediately. While the device is in place, you will be given medication to make you feel comfortable. Your doctor will remove the device when the swelling has gone down, and it is unlikely that it will increase.

 

Lone Star Neurology Can Help You

If you have suffered a head injury and don’t know if it is severe or not yet, don’t hesitate to come to our Lone Star Neurology clinic. Our top specialists know all about the nature and types of head injuries, so they’ll give you the right treatments and recommendations.

Lone Star Neurology has several clinics, so see which clinic is closest to you and make an appointment as soon as possible to find out if you have cortical abnormalities or not.

 

FAQs

  • How do I know if my head injury is serious?

You need to go to the hospital because only after a diagnosis will the doctor be able to tell if the injury is severe or not. It is best to go to the hospital as soon as you are injured.

  • How do you know if your brain is bleeding after hitting your head?

If bleeding is inside your skull, you may lose consciousness, but this is not always the case. It is best to see a doctor measure your intracranial pressure and find out if there is bleeding.

  • What qualifies as traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury is considered if contact damage occurs after your head hits something.

  • What is the most common traumatic brain injury?

The most common traumatic brain injury is a concussion. It can be both mild and more complex.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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