5 Most Overlooked Head Injury Symptoms

5 Most Overlooked Head Injury Symptoms
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Article Updated: Original Publish Date – November 20, 2014

Few other types of injuries have as much far-reaching and devastating consequences as head injuries. Even mild head injuries can be life altering, while a catastrophic injury to the brain can render someone in a vegetative state for the remainder of their days.

Some symptoms show obvious signs of moderate to severe injuries like experiencing a loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, seizures or an inability to awaken from sleep.  The fact is, many people suffering from brain injuries in the aftermath of accidents, injuries, and altercations may not even realize they are victims of TBI (traumatic brain injury) because they simply don’t understand the symptoms for what they are.

Unlike spinal cord injuries which have symptoms that are fairly easy to recognize, there are many head injury symptoms that are dismissed, ignored, or simply never even discussed with medical personnel who might see the symptoms for what they are.

These five symptoms of head injuries are often completely overlooked.

1) Whiplash or Neck Pain

While this is fairly common in automobile accidents, many people associate it with the soft tissue damage and not as a symptom of a potential head injury. For most people, the pain of whiplash will not occur until six to twelve hours after the injury occurs though it may be one of the most immediate of the overlooked symptoms associated with brain injury.

2) Sleep or Fatigue Issues

Trouble sleeping, tiredness, and excess fatigue can all be related to brain trauma, especially if these conditions are chronic in nature. As a symptom of traumatic brain injury, this one may take several weeks or months before it’s really noticeable. Whether as a side effect of the lack of sleep or another indication of the traumatic brain injury itself, other similar symptoms include the following.

  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Impatience
  • Dizziness

3) Forgetfulness

This is another symptom that gets noticed later. It may be that it’s present from the start and just not really paid attention to until weeks or months after the incident occurred. It may start out simple with phone numbers or things you’ve just read, but can progress to forgetting things you’ve done or even things you’re discussing with others in the midst of conversations.

4) Disorganization

Some people are fortunate in that they’ve been organized all their lives. Other people, though, may have a sudden mental shift that takes them from being an incredibly organized person to someone who has difficulty with the most basic organizational tasks and activities.

As if a lack of organizational ability isn’t enough, many people suffering from TBI also find multitasking to be quite difficult. Focusing attention on one task can be problematic in its own right and people with brain injuries are often easily distracted from that. Factor in multiple instructions and it becomes even more difficult and frustrating for them.

5) Difficulties with Balance

Balance is something most people take for granted. Many people who have head injuries often struggle to maintain balance – especially when navigating stairs or uneven terrain and when getting into and out of a bathtub.

These symptoms, while not the ones that come to mind immediately when considering a brain injury, are excellent indicators of one. If you suspect a brain injury in yourself or someone you love in the aftermath of an accident or injury, the first thing you need to do is get a definitive diagnosis. A good head injury attorney can help people with this devastating type of injury plead their cases in court.

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About the author

Thomas Richardson

Tommy Richardson, owner and president of the AV-Rated law firm of Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers in Phoenix, focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Since 2009, Tommy has sat on the Board of Governors for Arizona Trial Lawyers and in 2011 was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer and confirmed by the Arizona Senate to the Maricopa Judicial Selection Committee. Tommy represents plaintiffs in trial work in Maricopa, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Mohave, Yuma, Apache, Gila, Cochise, La Paz, Coconino and Navajo counties. Tommy is the co-chair of the seminar committee for the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers and is involved in the American Association for Justice and American Trial Lawyers.