Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) post motor vehicle accidents without the head hitting or striking part of the inside of the car is common. Brain trauma or bruising with contact in called either a coup or contrecoup injury and the difference is that in the former the brain bruising is local and under the site of impact with an object or inner part of the car. More involved types of brain trauma or bruising [usually moderate to severe] during a car accident eventuate when there is contact or any type of blow to the head.
Taking the mild category of post MVA traumatic brain injury there is loss of consciousness from zero to 30 minutes. To me a loss of consciousness of up to 30 minutes is not mild but that is how the experts who came up Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) define mild. In general, based on verbal, motor, and eye-opening reactions to stimuli, it is agreed among experts that a TBI with a GCS of 13 or above is mild. Post traumatic amnesia greater than 24 hours suggests a degree of TBI greater than mild.
The threshold of induced force upon the brain associated with a car accident is 1800/rad/sec squared, and this degree of momentum equates to the head being thrown forward or backward during any collision greater than 13-15 miles per hour. The degree of property damage to a car during an accident is shown to have zero correlation to the degree of brain trauma incurred during that collision.
Initially acute headaches post car accident occurs due to the relatively sharp bony edges of the intra-cranial fossa, as well as the inner vaulted surfaces of the cranium impinging or impacting on the dura and underlying brain tissue. In addition to unrelenting headaches, other post MVA symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury during a car accident are: dizziness, sleep disturbance, nausea, anxiety and depression.
If your motor vehicle has occurred in the last 3 months and these symptoms are what you wake up and live with every day, call us for an appointment to determine of mild brain trauma is a causal factor in the generation of your persistent headache syndrome/symptom picture. Cutting edge MRI studies can now demonstrate micro-hemorrhages and associated iron deposits associated with TBI induced brain bleeding. Bleeds up to the width of 70 strands of hair can thusly be detected.