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Recognizing the Subtle Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Many people in Boulder and along the Front Range may mistakenly believe that the signs of a traumatic brain injury are readily apparent. The reality is that most signs of traumatic brain injury are subtle. They are easy to miss during a medical exam. Understanding these less apparent indications that the brain has suffered damage in a car accident, bicycle accident, or work accident is critical for receiving prompt and potentially beneficial treatment. This is vital because the earlier treatment commences, the better the long-term prognosis.

Persistent headaches can indicate a brain injury. These can occur in the hours, days, and weeks following the accident. Accident related headaches may or may not respond to over-the-counter pain medications. Accident related headaches are usually accompanied by significant sensitivity to sound and light. In many cases, it is the exposure to slightly elevated noises or bright lights that triggers the headache.

Moodiness and emotional spontaneity are also common symptoms. When minor annoyances result in a sharp change in mood or emotion, it is important to consider these as potential signs of traumatic brain injury. Similarly, anxiety is a common sign that the brain is injured and is often triggered by actions/sounds/smells that remind the individual of the injury-causing accident.

Many people who suffer a traumatic brain injury experience mental fogginess, as well as slowed reaction times. Mental fogginess is not the same as memory loss. Fogginess is more appropriately defined as difficulty paying attention and not being fully aware of the time or present surroundings. For instance, trouble staying engaged in a conversation, or inability to recognize familiar surroundings such as a favorite park, restaurant, friend’s house, etc.

Often, these hidden signs of traumatic brain injury are so subtle that individuals don’t pursue treatment. Many individuals who survive accidents, paramedics, and other first responders brush these symptoms aside. While it may “just be a headache,” it is always advisable to receive a thorough medical exam following an accident. If it isn’t just a headache, some effective treatments and therapies can help preserve brain function and potentially restore this vital organ to pre-accident health.

Contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more about the signs of traumatic brain injury. It is our pleasure to help you identify these so that you can pursue the appropriate treatments and therapies in Boulder, Colorado.

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