Every year, at least two million people experience brain injuries. But not all brain injuries are the same. Some are relatively minor, producing only moderate symptoms. Others appear minor, only to produce significant symptoms later. And still others permanently change your life.
A closed brain injury, sometimes called a closed head injury, is a brain injury that does not open up the brain or skull. Instead, the injury comes in the form of a sharp blow that rattles or otherwise traumatizes the brain.
A concussion is a classic example of a closed brain injury. Knowing that your head injury is a closed injury won't tell you much about your prognosis, since even closed injuries can be quite severe. But understanding what exactly a closed injury is can help you ask intelligent questions while planning for the future.
Closed head injuries are the most common type of brain injury, accounting for about 75% of the estimated two million brain injuries that occur annually. When a head injury is closed, nothing directly touches the brain. Instead, the injury comes from the brain rattling in the skull. If the head is hit with sufficient force, the brain may even be bruised by the skull itself.
Closed head injuries are typically less severe than open head injuries, since nothing directly touches or punctures the brain. However, a sufficiently serious closed head injury can be fatal, and symptoms are not always immediate. The most common types of closed head injuries include:
The most significant and obvious symptom of a closed head injury is a sudden blow to the head or neck. Because some closed head injury survivors do not show any immediate symptoms, any blow to the head—particularly one that results in loss of consciousness or resulting from a car accident—warrants prompt medical attention.
Even if a head injury seems minor or you cannot confirm that one occurred, the following symptoms are common after a closed head injury, and demand prompt medical care:
The long-term symptoms of a closed head injury vary greatly from person to person, and are dependent upon a number of factors, including:
Because the brain is your body's command center, virtually every bodily function can be affected by a closed head injury. Emotional, psychological, and behavioral changes are common, as are alterations in cognition and intelligence. Some people suffer anger issues or impulse control problems after experiencing a cosed head injury. Others struggle with fine motor skills, memory, personal relationships, and basic functions such as reading and writing.
Many closed head injury survivors who receive prompt medical treatment will suffer no lasting damage. If, however, you have recently suffered a closed head injury and experience new or worsening symptoms, contact your physician immediately.
Treatment for a closed head injury begins with addressing the immediate aftermath of the injury. Your doctor may need to stabilize you, particularly if other injuries accompany the closed head injury. Thereafter, your doctor will likely perform brain imaging scans to determine the location and scope of the injury. From there, he or she will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may include:
Spinal cord injuries are traumatic for patients and their families. They cause disruptive changes to every aspect of your life and there is a lot of new information to navigate and understand. Our experts have collected everything in one place to help you learn more about your injury, locate doctors and treatment centers, find financial support, and get assistance navigating your next move.