Head injuries can cause a broad range of effects. While some people only experience temporary issues, serious head injuries can result in lifelong problems that require continuous therapy and rehabilitation.
Understanding the effects of a head injury is important if you or a loved one experiences a damaging fall or car accident. Here are a few key facts to keep in mind.
Types of head injuries
Concussions are often minor injuries that result in a temporary loss of awareness. However, they can cause serious effects in people with repeated concussions. Hematomas are blood clots that develop around the brain, such as under the skull. The brain itself can become bruised, which is an intracerebral hematoma. Skull fractures can also result in extensive damage.
Mild injuries include headache, ringing in the ears, nausea, and swelling. More serious injuries can cause loss of consciousness, slurred speech, persistent vomiting, and seizures. In severe cases, a person can enter into a vegetative or comatose state. These conditions may result in a complete lack of awareness of a person’s surroundings and a failure to respond to external stimuli.
Treatment of head injury typically depends on the severity of the damage. Minor injuries usually involve bed rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication. More serious injuries may require surgery, particularly with skull fractures. While some fractures are able to heal on their own, others require suturing or other methods of closure.
When damage is particularly profound, a person may experience lifelong effects. In this case, ongoing medical treatment is necessary for a person to regain function. Severe injuries can also require occupational and speech therapy to help a person maneuver through life despite their limitations.