traumatic brain injury patient sitting with lady doctor

Everything you need to know about Traumatic Brain Injury

The most complex organ in the body is the brain. Protecting the brain is extremely important for survival as it is an essential organ of the body. However, even after taking safety measures, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can occur.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

While not all injuries on the head affect the brain, a traumatic brain injury does. The severity of these injuries ranges from mild to severe. 

Most TBI’s experienced are mild and generally get referred to as concussions. Regardless of their severity, a traumatic brain can lead to permanent damage to the brain, behavioral changes, and disabilities.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

A TBI is a type of acquired brain damage. TBI occurs when external harm, such as bludgeoning, happens to the brain. It is essential to know that brain damage cannot get caused by internal factors such as illness. 

Traumatic brain injury only occurs when something violently hits the head or when an object penetrates the brain tissues.

It’s good to seek medical attention after experiencing a head injury without making any delays. Imaging tests confirm the prognosis and diagnosis of the TBI. 

Healthcare professionals may conduct a neurological exam, CT scan, or skull and neck X-rays to determine the extent and severity of any damage.

Symptoms of A traumatic brain Injury

The person will likely show the following immediately after a mild traumatic brain injury.

  • Neck pain and/or headache
  • Sensory issues like ringing in the ears or blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness for a few minutes
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

The symptoms that can develop in hours or days after traumatic brain injury are:

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Badmouth taste
  • Fatigue
  • Behavioral changes such as impulsivity
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Trouble in remembering things

After suffering a TBI, most people recover from symptoms of concussion after a couple of days or few weeks; however, 1 in 5 people develops post-concussion syndrome. 

The post-concussion syndrome is the one that persists after six weeks of experiencing a TBI. The more concussions experienced by a person, the more likely they experience long-term symptoms.

Symptoms of a moderate or severe Traumatic brain injury

A person with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will typically experience mild brain injury symptoms. Additionally, the person will also experience the following:

  • Seizures
  • Persistent headache that gets worse with time
  • Mental health issues such as depression
  • Loss of physical coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Long-lasting cognitive impairments

The TBI prognosis relies on many factors, mainly age, location of the damage, and overall health. The symptoms mentioned above may develop after hours, days, or even months of the injury. Such injuries can cause severe impairment, especially in cases where multiple symptoms overlap.

Why would one need rehab after suffering traumatic brain injury?

Rehab may help the person in the following ways:

  • It improves the ability to function at home and in the community
  • It provides emotional and social support
  • Helps in treating the physical and mental problems caused by TBI
  • Helps in adapting the changes as they occur during recovery

Rehab also has the potential to prevent complications of traumatic brain injury such as:

  • Reproductive and sexual function problems
  • Pain
  • Bowel and bladder problems
  • Blood clots
  • Muscle spasm and muscle weakness
  • Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores
  • A drop in blood pressure when making a movement
  • Pneumonia and breathing problems

Risks of rehab after suffering a TBI

Rehab after suffering a TBI is not likely to cause any problems. However, there is a risk involved that parts of treatment such as occupational or physical therapy might worsen existing symptoms or lead to new injuries if the therapy is not done properly.

There is still a scope of the issues arising. Hence, it is imperative to work with the rehab specialist very closely to help prevent problems. It is in your good interest to discuss any concerns with the healthcare provider before rehab.

To conclude –

It is prevalent for an individual with a traumatic brain injury to develop mental health issues. People experiencing cognitive and emotional issues can recover from their symptoms. While it is not completely possible to reverse brain damage, a person can cope with the situation by learning new skills and behavior.

An experienced and qualified therapist can significantly help an individual to improve the quality of their life.

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