Whether you fall and hit your head on the floor of the restaurant or smash it into the side window of your car in an accident on an Illinois highway, the results can be life-changing. Any blow to the head may potentially cause a traumatic brain injury, and according to the Mayo Clinic, falls and car accidents are the leading causes of TBI.

Perhaps you do not want to make a big deal out of it, though. You did not suffer immediate, severe signs of brain damage, such as unconsciousness, seizures, repeated vomiting or clear fluid leaking from your ears or nose. You just have a tender place on your scalp and a headache. Does that really warrant a trip to the doctor? Yes. It absolutely does. The problem with TBIs is that they may not have symptoms at first. Inside your skull, your brain tissue may be bruised.

As with any bruise, the blood seeping into the tissue and the inflammation lead to swelling over the next few days. What makes that so dangerous to the brain is the limited space it has inside your skull. Pressure in one area can cause damage somewhere else. Torn blood vessels can also cause problems if clotted blood breaks free and blocks the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in a stroke.

A doctor will perform a thorough examination, test your reflexes and possibly order an MRI or CT scan to look for damage. Typically, physicians also want you to schedule a follow-up appointment in case you suffer delayed symptoms. Watch carefully for these signs of a TBI:

  • Persistent headache that gets worse with time
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Depression, anxiety or significant mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Dizziness or lack of coordination
  • Sensitivity to noise or light

This information is provided to give you an overview of TBI, but it should not be interpreted as medical or legal advice.