Left vs. Right Brain – How Injury Symptoms Can Vary Dramatically

Brain Injury

By Nathan Williams, Staff Writer

In my first article on brain injury, we discussed the brain’s four main “lobes,” their general function in everyday life, and what to expect if a lobe is injured in an accident. Toward the end, I also briefly mentioned how the brain can be divided into two main regions, or hemispheres (i.e. the left brain and right brain).

It’s likely you’ve heard of left vs. right brain before – someone who is very creative, like an artist, musician or fiction writer, can be described as right brain dominant. Right brain dominant people are typically very intuitive and have a strong imagination.

On the other hand, individuals who excel at math or have strong analytical skills are said to be left-brain dominant. These individuals can easily recall facts and process information in a logical, sequential way.

Another way to think about left vs. right brain – left brain is verbal and analytical while right brain is non-verbal and intuitive.

To illustrate this in real life, let’s say you’re providing driving directions to a friend. If you say “Go north for ½ mile, turn left on White Road and go west for 3 miles,” you’re more of a left brain person. Conversely, if you say “Turn left on the first road past Wendy’s and keep going until you see a Chevron station” you’re more of a right brain person. Rather than using direction and distances, you use visual landmarks.

But just because you may be left or right brain dominant doesn’t mean the other side is dormant. Each hemisphere works with the other to help you perform everything from brushing your teeth in the morning to talking with your boss to helping your kids with their homework.

Besides the differences between the two hemispheres, each one controls different sides of the body.

For example, your left brain will control movements on the right side of your body while your right brain will control movements on the left. If you raise your right hand for example, your left brain is responsible for making that happen.

Symptoms of a brain injury can vary depending on which hemisphere is damaged.

Now that we’ve explained the functional differences between the left and right brain, we can dive more into how the effects of a brain injury differ based on which hemisphere is damaged.

The obvious first sign is if you’re having trouble moving a certain side of your body. For example, if you’re having trouble raising your left arm, you’ve likely sustained an injury to the right side of your brain and vice versa.

Other symptoms of a “right” brain injury include:

  • Visual/spatial challenges
  • Changes in creativity and music tastes
  • Difficulty recalling visual memories
  • Decreased awareness of visual related problems
  • Inability to think “big picture”

Left brain injury symptoms on the other hand are more verbal in nature. Symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty speaking and understanding language
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty recalling verbal memories
  • Inability to think logically

Brain injuries don’t necessarily occur in one hemisphere or the other. Diffuse brain injuries are scattered on both sides of the brain. Effects can include:

  • Slower thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty holding your attention and concentration
  • Impaired skills in all areas (logical, creative, etc.)

This of course is just a high level overview of the impacts of a brain injury. Every situation is different. Some injuries are rather minor and easily addressed through therapy and at-home treatments, while others can leave someone completely reliant on others for their daily care.

I invite you to learn more about common brain injuries caused by negligence in my next post.

In the meantime, if you’ve been in an accident and notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should first seek medical attention to ensure the symptoms are not life threatening. You should next search our directory to locate an experienced brain injury attorney in your state who can evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim.



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