After a car or motorcycle accident, an open wound or bleeding from the head generally alerts health care professionals to look for the effects of severe traumatic brain injury. Most people do not think about the possibility of certain types of brain injuries resulting from a “closed head injury” where the head is not cut open or visibly wounded. Mild traumatic brain injuries are commonly missed by doctors who are looking for more serious brain injuries, or when other life-threatening injuries take priority in the ER.
A minor traumatic brain injury can also be missed because people tend to forget, or minimize, the significance of minor car accidents, sports accidents, or falls that did not cause physical damage, loss of consciousness, or hospitalization. Mild traumatic brain injury can result from whiplash or a mild concussion, and the symptoms may not show up immediately. When symptoms surface weeks or months afterwards, the doctor, patient, and the insurance company may not consider the earlier, closed head injury. Part of the problem in missing a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury is that the symptoms related to the injury appear in many other disorders.
Sometimes people recover from a mild traumatic brain injury in a few months, but in other cases the injury may be permanent. Symptoms from these types of brain injuries can be very noticeable, such as seizures, increased frequency of headaches, dizziness, and hyper-sensitivity to light and sound. Effects that are harder to diagnose include short-term memory loss, difficulty learning new things, problems with concentration and being easily distracted, and increased irritability, rudeness, or feelings of depression.
If you have been involved in even a minor car accident recently, try to determine if there has been an increase in symptoms like the ones listed above. These mild traumatic brain injury symptoms may have been caused from whiplash, concussion, or a minor head injury.
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