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Subdural Hematomas: The Threat Of A Light Tap

Brain injuries are hard to catch at the best of times, but at least there’s usually a specific instance you can point to that created the problem: a hard fall, a car accident, a nearby explosion. However, under the right circumstances, there’s one class of brain injury that can occur after nothing more serious than bumping a rafter or jerking your head back and forth suddenly.

What’s Happening?

When you get older, into your 60s or 70s, your brain may start to shrink. This doesn’t mean you’re going senile, it just means that your brain is occupying less space.

At the same time, however, the inside of your skull is padded with a membrane called the dura. But while your brain may decrease in size, your dura layer will remain just as thick, creating an open space between the two. While this space makes it a little easier to sustain a brain injury on its own, the real trouble comes from the fact that the dura is still connected to the brain thanks to a thick web of capillaries and veins, veins which can snap under even a little bit of pressure (like from smacking your head against a wall) and which will then start to very slowly ooze blood.

In most cases, the subdural hematoma will solve itself before it can become a problem. You may experience headaches for a few days thanks to the pressure the blood is placing on your brain, but once your veins stop bleeding your body’s natural systems will kick in to clear out the excess blood, just like how your body can clean up the internal bleeding that causes a bruise.

Serious Consequences

In a minority of cases, however, the bleeding doesn’t stop, or at least it doesn’t stop fast enough. Unlike a bruise on any other part of your body, the skull prevents a subdural hematoma from pushing the skin out to make room for the pooling blood. As such, it instead places pressure on your brain, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, unexplained pains, and a lack of balance

Within a few weeks you’ll start to exhibit slow thinking, strange thinking, and symptoms more often associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, if you seem to be falling into dementia in a matter of months instead of a matter of years, you probably have a brain injury.

Fortunately (and unlike a lot of other head injuries), subdural hematomas are easy to treat: all a physician needs to do is drill into your skull and drain out the blood. Following a few post-op checkups to make sure blood is no longer pooling in your brain, you should be back to normal in no time.

Of course, not every brain injury is a self-inflicted accident, and not every subdural hematoma shows up within the elderly population. If you’ve sustained a serious brain injury and you have reason to believe that someone else caused it, whether by causing a car crash or because of malicious intent, and if you live or work in or around the Florida counties of Sarasota or Charlotte, then you should contact the All Injuries Law Firm. Depending on the incident, you may be entitled to civil damages and compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.