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'Minor Injuries' Can Cause Long-Term Brain Problems

Headway Trustee Points Out Danger Of Innocuous Brain Injuries


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Seemingly minor head injuries can cause long-term brain problems, according to Colin Shieff, consultant neurosurgeon and Headway trustee, who told the Daily Mail that some individuals may not suffer any issues, but others could be left facing "major consequences".

He added that even if all people do is bang their head, they can still expect to feel the after effects for a couple of days. However, the real issue is if they start suffering problems with speech, communication, vision and cognition.

"If you feel at all unwell after banging your head, seek help or supervision. And if those symptoms persist for more than a few minutes, go to a hospital or doctor to be checked," Mr Shieff observed.

With one million Britons going to hospital every year as a result of bangs on the head, it is clear the issue of post-concussion syndrome - where symptoms are usually resolved in a few weeks, but can last much longer - is important.

Mr Shieff remarked that the real danger lies in the potential for secondary injuries, as people may be clumsier after suffering the initial head bump. He added: "And if there's some structural damage in the brain, a second bang on the head may increase the problem."

Headway is calling on GPs to recognise the 'subtle' signs of brain trauma. For example, if a patient is having headaches and trouble concentrating, doctors should be looking to find out if they have suffered a bang to the head in the last week.

Dr Richard Warburg, a clinical neuropsychologist who has worked in brain trauma rehabilitation for over 30 years, added to the debate by describing the 'mild' head injury label as problematic.

He stated "common sense thinking" is that people should recover from a mild injury quickly, but this can lead to a "vicious cycle of worrying about the symptoms, being unable to get an explanation and consequently getting more worried".

Expert Opinion
An impact to the head can result in unseen injuries to the brain that people may not be immediately aware of. This could potentially lead to longer term problems developing.

“It is very important that anyone suffering from an impact to their head gets medically checked out quickly, especially if they start to suffer from symptoms such as headaches or problems with vision.

“The speed at which people receive treatment for brain injuries can have such a significant impact on their recovery, and in extreme cases can be the difference between life or death.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner