Brain Injury: Are You Having Symptoms Following a Car Accident?
The term traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to damage or destruction of brain tissue due to trauma. Damage may occur when the head whips forward and back or from side to side, which can cause the brain to hit the inside of the head. This jarring trauma bruises brain tissue and can damage blood vessels, mainly because the inside surface of the head is rough and uneven.
Many people injured in car accidents do not consider that a headache or dizziness may be related to a severe head injury. Instead, they and even their doctors relate the symptoms to a neck injury. This article discusses traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”) and the actions to take when symptoms arise after a car collision.
WHAT IS A TBI?
A brain injury is any damage to the brain. It can be mild and not seen by diagnostic studies, such as a CT scan. It can be severe, as shown by studies that show bruising on the brain or that the brain is bleeding.
The brain is surrounded by fluid so that it floats inside the skull. If it did not have fluid to float in, it would sit on the bottom of the skull. The fluid provides some protection to the brain. However, trauma to the head can cause the brain to move and be injured.
The most common brain injury after a car accident is a concussion. A concussion occurs in two ways. First, it occurs when the head strikes something, such as the headrest or steering wheel. Second, it occurs when the head suddenly moves back and forth, and the brain hits the inside of the head.
COMMON BRAIN INJURY SYMPTOMS
An injury to the brain does not always result in loss of consciousness, although that is undoubtedly the result of severe head trauma.
Common symptoms after a motor vehicle collision are blurred vision, nausea, slurred speech, headaches, and dizziness.
Dizziness and nausea are often associated with vomiting.
Symptoms of blurred vision include a lack of sharpness or the inability to see fine detail. Sometimes the blurred image is associated with sensitivity to lights.
One of the most common causes of blurred vision or dizziness is head trauma that causes a concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury. Blurry vision can occur as a result of hitting your head against something inside the vehicle, such as the steering wheel. A blow to the head can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull.
Vision problems and dizziness can also happen during a forceful movement or shaking of the head, which often happens during a whiplash injury. The violent movement or shaking causes the brain to move and impact the inside of the skull.
Brain trauma can occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull. Sometimes a person will lose consciousness or blackout if the injury to the brain is severe enough. In extreme cases, the person will go into a Coma.
A person who has a history of concussions or multiple concussions is more susceptible to suffering another concussion, even from a mild head injury.
HOW IS A TBI DETERMINED?
In severe trauma cases, diagnostic studies, such as a CT Scan, will show a TBI, as evidenced by a bruise or brain bleed.
In mild cases, a CT Scan usually will not show the microscopic changes to the brain due to trauma. The diagnosis is made based on symptoms and physical examination.
Unfortunately, no treatment can prevent nerve damage or promote repair of the nerves. Recovery is different in every case. People with mild head injury usually do well over time. They may have headaches, dizziness, or memory problems, but these gradually improve most of the time. People with moderate to severe brain trauma don’t do as well. A significant percentage of those people will have some form of disability.
It is essential that victims of head injuries seek appropriate treatment. Typical forms of treatment include evaluations by a Neurologist, who can assess any deficits and create a treatment plan. Many victims benefit from a rehabilitation program. The program will help the person return to his or her pre-accident status. For those with permanent deficits, a rehabilitation program can provide strategies to help the person manage symptoms to function as close to normal as possible.
If you suffer blurred vision or dizziness from a car accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment. The symptoms are severe and should be evaluated immediately in the emergency room or urgent care. At MCIS, we have the experience and expertise to help those who have suffered a head injury following a car collision. Call now for a free consultation so we can help you plan a course of action for recovery.