A head injury can be very serious. It is usually the result of a blow to the brain, skull, or scalp and can range from something as simple as a mild bump or bruise to a severe blow to the head. Common injuries from a head trauma can include concussions, skull fractures, and even scalp wounds. What you need to know about head injury is that treatment can vary depending on the original cause of the injury. It helps to know the different types of head injuries and how they affect you.

What Causes a Head Injury?

There are two different types of head injuries depending on their cause. The first type of head injury develops as a result of a blow to the head. Generally, this type of injury usually occurs as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, or while playing sports.

In most cases, when you receive a sharp blow to the head, your brain is protected by the thickness of the skull so there is a lower risk of serious harm.

The second type of head injury occurs as a result of shaking. The most common case of this type of injury is the shaken baby syndrome whereby a baby or infant is shaken violently in such a way that brain damage occurs. Because babies have soft brains and their neck muscles are not fully developed yet, the violent shaking can cause the brain to rattle around inside the skull and smash into its sides.

Symptoms of a Head Injury:

Symptoms of a head injury can also vary depending on its severity. Common symptoms for a minor injury include a headache, lightheadedness, a spinning sensation, confusion, nausea, and a temporary ringing of the ear.

In more severe cases, a patient may experience a loss of consciousness, seizures, vomiting, balance problems, disorientation, inability to focus, abnormal eye movements, loss of muscle control, memory loss, and possible changes in mood.

When to Call the Doctor?

What you need to know about head injury is not all head injuries require a doctor's attention. While mild symptoms will usually go away by themselves, a doctor should always be called when any of the serious symptoms appear. Anytime a loss of consciousness occurs, confusion, or disorientation, you should be carefully monitored for at least a day or two after the accident, even if you don't take the trip to the ER.

Because motion can often make an injury worse, it is best to call 911 and let the emergency services personnel transport you to a hospital rather than go by yourself. They have been trained to transport head injury patients without causing additional damage.

Treatment for head injuries can also vary widely. In milder cases, you might be given a couple of pain killers for the pain whereas if the injury is more severe professional help should be administered. In either case, avoid taking NSAIDs, which can cause additional bleeding among a host of other problems.

What you need to know about head injury is that most of them leave no permanent damage or lasting consequences. However, there is always a possibility of permanent damage and changes in personality due to a cognitive disorder, so make sure that your injury is treated with the help of a healthcare professional.