Swindon and Wiltshire Neurological Alliance

Helping improve the lives of those affected by neurological conditions in Swindon & Wiltshire



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        Head and Brain Injury


What is Head and Brain Injury?


Head injury causes damage to the scalp, skull or brain. It can be a minor condition or severe and even life-threatening.

Symptoms of Head and Brain Injury

Minor head injuries may cause headache, bruising, swelling and cuts, which may bleed profusely, even if small.

But what is usually more worrying than any obvious trauma to the outside of the head (although this can in some instances cause very serious problems) is the possibility of damage to the delicate structures inside the head – to the brain and related tissues. With any head injury there is a risk of permanent damage to the brain, especially if the injury is not treated quickly.

The following symptoms may occur soon after the head injury, or appear more slowly hours or days later, and are a sign that there may be an injury to the brain which needs urgent investigation :

* headache with nausea and vomiting
* blurred or double vision
* slurred speech
* confusion or drowsiness
* loss of consciousness
* blood or clear fluid from the ears or nose

These sort of symptoms must always be taken seriously and given proper medical attention.

Head injuries can also cause skull fractures, which may not be apparent unless an x-ray is taken which is why it is usually important to x-ray the skull after anything more than a mild injury (and especially when there are any of the above symptoms).



Road traffic accidents are the single largest cause of head injuries. Other common causes include falls, assaults and sports injuries.

Being aware of potential dangers and wearing protective headgear when on bicycles or motorbikes and when playing contact sports can reduce the risk of head injury.


Although most head injuries are minor, around 1 million people each year in the UK need emergency medical care as a result of head injury. Around one in four of these needs to be admitted to hospital.

Treatment of a head injury depends on its type and severity. It may involve:

* observation at home or in hospital

* first aid treatment, for example stitching of wounds



Headway UK

Short Description

National Organisation with a network of groups (including Swindon and South Wiltshire)
providing support for people with a brain injury, their families and carers

Web Address


Contact Details

01884 266635


Brain and Spine Foundation

Web Address



Contact Details

0808 808 1000


UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum

Web Address



Contact Details

01752 601318


Child Brain Injury Trust

Web Address


Contact Details

0845 601 4939

* medication such as painkillers, corticosteroids and antibiotics

* urgent hospital treatment including surgery, for example

  to decompress the brain, remove blood clots, repair damaged

 tissues or stop bleeding.

If brain damage has occurred, there may be long term disruption of a person’s ability to look after themselves and physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and emotional and other types of support may be needed, for months and sometimes years.

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