You had an accident at work when unbalanced equipment fell, hitting you in the head. You believe the injury you sustained is nothing serious, and you decide to refuse medical treatment.

Later you have a headache, which during the course of the evening, gets worse. Over-the-counter pain medication does nothing to ease the pain, so you go to the emergency room hoping for relief. After telling them about the incident at work, the doctor orders a CT scan of your brain to look for the possibility of a brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury

 A traumatic brain injury or TBI can occur when an object strikes, jerks or penetrates your head. The effects of TBI can last a long time or even become permanent, depending on the severity. Although you made the right decision to go to the ER, you may have had other symptoms that you were not aware of.

Common symptoms of TBI

 The most common symptoms may include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, vertigo
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to lights or noise
  • Mood swings

These symptoms may dissipate over time, causing you to miss the signs of a life-threatening injury.

Serious cases of TBI

 With more severe symptoms of TBI, you should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms can include:

  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fluid draining from the nose or ears

 The aftereffects of TBI

Moderate to severe TBI can lead to life-long disabilities such as loss of physical or mental function. You may have problems with walking, suffer paralysis or have difficulty remembering things. Other effects could include sleep disorders, chronic pain or appetite changes.

If you need rehabilitation, your health care team may involve your family members to help you with treatment. You may learn new coping strategies using tools like visual aids for remembering things or using ambulatory devices such as a walker or wheelchair.