Traumatic Brain Injury: What You Need To Know

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when there is a blow, bump, jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. It is a major cause of disability and death in the U.S. Common causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, assaults, gunshot wounds. Trauma to the brain can also occur due to stroke, chemical/toxic, hypoxia, infections, and tumors. For this discussion, we will focus on the mechanical/physical causes.

TBI can vary from mild to severe

An example of a mild TBI would be a concussion. Though initially disconcerting, a mild concussion can resolve without residual disability but can be persistent. A severe TBI like a fall from a significant height or catastrophic motor vehicle accident can result in unconsciousness, amnesia, permanent disability, coma, or death. Anyone who sustains a head injury, even a mild one, should seek medical attention.

Mild TBI symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Mental Confusion
  • Difficulty Concentration
  • Irritability
  • Sleep Disturbances.

Severe TBI symptoms include:

  • The effects of mild TBI
  • Motor Function Loss (extremity weakness, impaired coordination and balance), Sensation (impaired perception and touch, hearing, vision)
  • Emotion (aggressiveness, impulse control/inappropriate behavior, depression, anxiety, personality changes)
  • Pain
  • Memory loss
  • In very severe cases, surgery may be required to take the pressure off the brain, remove skull fracture fragments and damaged tissue, and ICU admission.

Treatment will vary with the severity of the injury, but in general terms, will include rest, rehabilitation/physical therapy for orthopedic problems, neuropsychologist for mental and behavioral issues, and, as mentioned surgery.

If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of TBI (mild or severe), contact your health provider immediately. For long-term recovery, contact an integrated medical center like Oahu Spine and Rehab where we have specialized Oahu Physical Therapists to help you recover. Doctors and specialists work together to aid in the overall recovery of the patient in the most holistic way possible.

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