the body’s natural healing ability is often up to the task of repair and replacement of damaged cells and tissues.
When the head is struck, it often moves until it is abruptly brought to a stop against a solid object. At this moment, the brain continues moving for a brief instant until it hits the bony prominences inside the now stationary skull. The skull does not give with this impact. The brain does. This is often accompanied by a stretch of the nerve endings. Sometimes this “stretch” goes beyond the nerve’s limit, and microscopic nerve (axonal) tears occur. These are not detected by regular x-rays. Sometimes, the injury to the moving brain takes place at a site opposite the point at which the skull was initially struck. This type of injury is called “contra-coup,” as opposed to a “coup” injury occurring on the same side as the initial impact (coup = blow, French; contra-coup = opposite the blow). Traumatic lesions, whether they are the product of closed or penetrating injuries, and whether they are coup or contra-coup, may be said to have direct effects, and secondary effects. Direct Effects and Secondary Effects will be addressed in the next post.