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Information from Your Family Doctor

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


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Am Fam Physician. 2012 Dec 1;86(11):online.

  See related article on mild traumatic brain injury.

What is mild traumatic brain injury?

It is an injury to the brain caused by some typeof outside force. It is similar to a concussion.It may result from a fall or car crash, from anobject hitting your head, or it may occur duringsome sports. With this type of injury, a lossof consciousness, amnesia, or changes in yourmental state usually occur.

What are the symptoms?

Headaches are the most common symptom. Youmay also have nausea, blurry vision, dizziness,fatigue, sensitivity to light, or trouble sleeping.Most of these symptoms usually improve within24 hours. You may have problems thinking orfocusing, or notice changes in your behaviorand physical health. Repeat injury may lead tomore long-term or worse symptoms.

How is it treated?

Your doctor will monitor your activities andmake sure you get enough rest while you slowlyreturn to your daily routine. Your doctor mayalso prescribe medicines or other treatments toease your symptoms. If your symptoms persist,you may need to see a specialist.

What should I do if I have a possiblebrain injury?

Go to your doctor for a complete physical exam.The doctor will assess your reflexes, posture,vision, muscles, and bones. You may also needtests to measure your mental skills and wellbeing.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

Brain Injury Association of America

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

Defense Centers of Excellence

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


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