A head injury is any sort of injury to your brain, skull, or scalp. This can range from a mild bump or bruise to a traumatic brain injury. Common head injuries include concussions, skull fractures, and scalp wounds. The consequences and treatments vary greatly, depending on what caused your head injury and how severe it is.
It can be hard to assess how serious a head injury is just by looking. Some minor head injuries bleed a lot, while some major injuries don’t bleed at all. It’s important to treat all head injuries seriously and get them assessed by a neurosurgeon.
What are the major types of head injuries?
- Skull fracture
- Diffuse axonal injury
What are the symptoms of a head injury?
Your head has more blood vessels than any other part of your body, so bleeding on the surface of your brain or within your brain is a serious concern in head injuries. However, not all head injuries cause bleeding.
It's important to be aware of other symptoms to watch out for. Many symptoms of serious brain injury won’t appear right away. You should always continue to monitor your symptoms for several days after you injure your head.
Common symptoms of a minor head injury include:
- A headache
- A spinning sensation
- Mild confusion
- Temporary ringing in the ears
The symptoms of a severe head injury include many of the symptoms of minor head injuries. They can also include:
- A loss of consciousness
- Balance or coordination problems
- Serious disorientation
- An inability to focus the eyes
- Abnormal eye movements
- A loss of muscle control
- A persistent or worsening headache
- Memory loss
- Changes in mood
- Leaking of clear fluid from the ear or the nose
How is a head injury treated?
The treatment for head injuries depends on both the type and the severity of the injury.
The treatment for severe head injuries can include:
If you’ve had a severe brain injury, you may be given anti-seizure medication. You’re at risk for seizures in the week following your injury. You may be given diuretics if your injury has caused pressure buildup in your brain. Diuretics cause you to excrete more fluids. This can help relieve some of the pressure.
It may be necessary to do emergency surgery to prevent further damage to your brain. For example, neurosurgeon may need to operate to:
- Remove a hematoma
- Repair your skull
- Release some of the pressure in your skull