Signs and Symptoms of Head Injury

Diagnosing and treating a brain injury early – no matter the severity – is essential to recovery, and can reduce complications. If you were in an auto-accident, please read below to check your symptoms. If you find you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a brain injury, please contact your primary care doctor as soon as possible.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) inflicts an estimated 800,000 Americans each year. Since symptoms can take over a month to appear, MTBI is often overlooked after an auto accident injury. MTBI can be present even if the head was not directly hit during the accident.

Symptoms and signs of brain injury include:

  • Dizziness
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headaches
  • Balance problems
  • Visual disturbances
  • Hearing problems
  • Tiredness
  • Coma
  • Breathing problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Decreased attention and concentration
  • Reading problems
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance

Young Children
Although children can have the same symptoms of brain injury as adults, it is harder for young children to let others know how they are feeling. Call your child’s doctor if your child seems to be getting worse or you notice any of the following:

  • Listlessness, tiring easily
  • Irritability, crankiness
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Change in the way they perform or act at school
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance, unsteady walking

Older Adults
Older adults with a brain injury may have a higher risk of serious complications such as a blood clot on the brain, headaches that get worse or an increase in confusion. If these signs occur, see a doctor right away.


Types of Brain Injury

  • Anoxia or Hypona
    Brain cell death from lack of oxygen.
  • Concussion
    Blow to head that can result in shearing of brain cells that may not be able to be detected by CT scans or MRI’s
  • Contusion
    Bruising of the brain due to trauma or blood loss into brain.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injuries
    When head is jarred abruptly, the brain can injure itself by being bounced back and forth off of skull cavity. This can produce two sites of injury on the brain.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury
    The tearing of connections of nerve fibers in brain during trauma. Results in many symptoms of head injury.
  • Hematoma
    Leaking blood collected in a confined area of brain or skull. The description of the placement of the hematoma are subdural, epidural, or intracerebral
  • Penetrating Brain Injury
    A skull fracture can cause a tearing of the brain, resulting in rupture of blood vessels and bleeding into the brain. Blood is toxic to the brain surface, so damage can occur that is unnoticeable for a few months.