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Brain Injuries Due to Car Accidents

While there a several different types of head injuries that may occur during a car accident, potential damage to the brain is often the most concerning.

Brain injuries occur most often when there is a sudden jolt or strike to the head. Brain injuries can range from mild in which rest is sufficient treatment, to severe in which everyday life functions can be affected and surgical intervention may be required.

Below are a few of the most common brain injuries caused by car accidents.

Concussions are a type of brain injury that can affect the brain’s ability to function properly. A concussion occurs when a sudden movement causes the brain to bounce or move around in the skull. While signs of a concussion often show up soon after the injury, the severity may not be known for several days.

Common symptoms of a concussion include:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Headaches
  • Light and noise sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

While there is no specific treatment for a concussion, rest to restrict brain activity is often important in the healing process.

A brain contusion, also known as a “brain bruise”, is a serious type of brain injury that can cause bleeding and swelling. Much like concussions, brain contusions occur when a sudden movement causes the brain to bounce around the skull. Brain contusions range from mild to serious in which immediate medical treatment is required.

Common symptoms of a brain contusion include:
  • Loss of consciousness for an extended period of time
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Pupil dilation
  • Loss of memory
  • Neurological deficits

Treatment for brain contusions can range from close observation to surgical intervention depending on the severity of the injury.

Diffuse axonal is a type of brain injury in which the long fibers of the brain called axons are sheared. This typically occurs with rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain.

Common symptoms of a diffuse axonal injury include:
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Sleep interruption
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss
  • Neurological deficits

Treatments for a diffuse axonal injury are broad and can include numerous types of therapy including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

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