How To Tell If A Closed Head Injury Is Mild Or Severe

Doctors watching head x-ray of patient

Head injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death for adults. This is according to not only experts like Columbia University’s Neurology department, who often see the initial effects of serious head injuries, but also other specialists like McLachlan Law, personal injury attorneys who have seen the dire aftermath a head wound can have.

Not all head injuries are alike, though, and with certain ones, like closed head injuries, it’s important to be able to distinguish between minor and serious cases. Here’s what you need to know about these injuries and their symptoms.

What Is A Closed Head Injury?

In a closed head injury, you’ll take damage to the head but it doesn’t penetrate the skill. There may be some broken bones, though, and there may even be some bruising of the brain or intracranial hemorrhaging. Typical causes of closed head injuries include falls from significant heights, injuries sustained during contact sports (especially boxing and wrestling), and car, motorcycle, or bike accidents, among a few others. 

Is It Mild Or Severe?

You can usually discern the severity of a closed head injury based on the intensity of the symptoms. In mild cases, the injured party may exhibit no symptoms at all. In more severe cases, individuals may suffer from a range of symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vision Impairment
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Swelling, Bruising, and Bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or Memory Issues
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Sudden Tiredness
  • Mood or Behavioral Changes
  • Loss of Balance
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Loss of Consciousness

These symptoms might not always present themselves immediately following an injury. It’s important to keep an eye on anyone who has taken a significant blow to the head, because symptoms can sometimes appear hours or even days later, and last for weeks or months depending on how severe the injury is.

Treatment For Closed Head Injuries

If they suspect you or someone you know has sustained a significant head injury, doctors may perform some examinations or administer some sort of cognitive test to see if there are any issues. 

Depending on the injury and its severity, they may recommend one of (or a combination of) several kinds of treatment, which include rest and medication at the hospital, rest and recuperation at home, and therapies to help with the recovery of speech, higher-level thinking skills, memory, and other cognitive brain functions.