The human brain manages much more than just thoughts. It coordinates our physical movements and subconscious responses, from the push of leg muscles to simple breathing. It’s busy regulating our blood pressure, directing our digestive system, shifting our hormonal balance, and even maintaining our body temperature. The brain oversees our actions and reactions. When a brain injury occurs, it can disrupt any of our regular functions and create a tremendous amount of confusion and difficulty. And in cases of serious traumatic brain injury, the physical symptoms can persist.
What are some of the immediate physical symptoms of brain injury?
If you've witnessed someone experience a blow to the head, it's important to keep an eye out for several key physical indicators of brain injury:
- A loss or change in consciousness, even if briefly
- Complaints of headache or any other head pain
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- A seizure or other unusual movements
- Swelling of the scalp
- Inconsolable crying (esp. in infants and children)
- Dizziness or movements exhibiting poor balance
- Blurry or altered vision
- Slurred speech
- Any reports of numbness or tingling in limbs
- Poor coordination
- Interrupted breathing
- Slow movements, or inability to move
After a significant brain injury, physical symptoms can change and persist over time. They can affect almost any area of the body. After a moderate or severe injury, symptoms can include:
- Problems swallowing
- Vestibular or balance issues
- Changes in vision or visual field
- Problems with sleep or sleep patterns
- Severe fatigue
- Hearing problems
In addition to a number of other physical symptoms of brain injury, there are also many thinking and cognitive symptoms of TBI .
Responding to a brain injury
Signs and symptoms of brain injury are not always obvious, so the safest bet is to get professional medical help any time a brain injury is suspected.