Brain Injury: Returning Headaches A Serious Signal

12308412_mTraumatic brain injury is a serious public health problem but knowing a few facts can help protect yourself and your family. Possibly the most important thing that you need to know is that symptoms of a life-threatening brain injury can be delayed. The symptoms may not show up for hours or days after injury, then they can come on suddenly or gradually. Either way, delayed brain injury symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency.

The reason that symptoms may be delayed is that the damage to the brain can continue to progress for hours or days after injury. Anyone who has suffered a blow to the head or an accident that could have resulted in brain injury should seek immediate medical attention, even if they are not experiencing symptoms and feel fine. By the time symptoms are noticeable, it could be too late. Additionally, those who have been evaluated and cleared should still be monitored by a responsible adult over the next few days, because brain injury often goes undetected in emergency rooms.

If you were wearing a helmet, you may still have a brain injury, even if the helmet does not appear to be damaged. Helmets can save lives and minimize brain injuries, but they do not prevent all brain injuries. While the outside of your skull may have been completely protected, your brain may have struck the inside of your skull with enough force to cause bruising. A blow to the head is not necessary for traumatic brain injury to occur.

If you have been diagnosed with a mild brain injury or a concussion, your symptoms should subside or improve dramatically within two to three weeks. If they do not, you should be reevaluated.

For more information on head injuries, please see our Head Injury Guide.


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