How to Deal With Traumatic Brain Injury: What Steps You Should Take Now

traumatic brain injury

There are almost 3 million traumatic brain injury (TBI) emergency room visits every year. Have you experienced head trauma? You may have a traumatic brain injury.

How can you know if you have TBI? How to deal with TBI? And what steps should you take if you do? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury occurs after sudden brain damage. If something hits your head but doesn’t penetrate the skull, it’s a closed head injury. If an object breaks through, it’s a penetrating head injury.

Symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • disorientation
  • memory problems
  • slurred speech
  • and emotion or sleep problems.

With increasing severity, the symptoms are longer and more serious. So if you experience head trauma and then develop these symptoms, it’s time to see a medical professional.

Steps to Take After You Have Traumatic Brain Injury

So, what are the steps to take if you think you have TBI?

Diagnosis

First, you’ll need to see a doctor. They’ll begin the diagnosis process with a simple physical examination and ask you some basic questions about the injury.

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a quick and easy way for doctors to assess the initial severity of brain injury. This test scores you on a scale from 3-15 to assess injury severity. A higher score means that your injury is less severe.

Finally, they’ll follow up with some imaging tests. A CT scan can show any fractures, brain bleeding, bruised brain tissue, swelling, or clotting. An MRI produces a more detailed view of the brain. (click here to learn the differences between CT and MRI)

Treatment

Mild TBI only needs rest and over-the-counter pain medicine for headaches. But anyone with mild TBI should be closely monitored for any worsening or new symptoms.

More severe TBI requires immediate emergency care to prevent further injury. The doctor will also make sure they have enough oxygen and blood and will work to reduce inflammation.

Medication may be provided to limit damage, such as diuretics to reduce pressure in the brain by reducing the amount of fluid. A coma-inducing drug may be used to induce a brain state requiring less oxygen and nutrients. Anti-seizure drugs may be provided for the first-week post-injury to avoid the additional damage that would occur if a seizure happens.

Finally, in the situation of a crisis, emergency surgery may need to be provided immediately. Any skull fractures, blood clots, or bleeding may need to be corrected by surgery. A window in the skull may need to be opened to relieve pressure, drain cerebral spinal fluid, and make room for swollen brain tissue.

Rehabilitation

After brain injury, the best course of action is to undergo rehabilitation. Depending on the severity, treatment may be required to improve daily activities and even relearn basic skills.

Rehabilitation can include:

  • Physical Therapy is for improving balance, walking, and general mobility.
  • Occupational Therapy is for learning and improving skills needed for basic daily activities.
  • Neuropsychology is for diagnosing cognitive impairment. They can also provide help managing behavior and psychotherapy to improve emotional well-being.
  • Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the diseases of the nervous system; some neurologists specialize in the treatment of headaches, concussion, and TBI.
  • Speech Pathology helps improve communication or use communication devices.
  • Vocational Counseling can offer job opportunities and assess your ability to return to work.

Depending on your needs, you can choose one or more of these rehabilitation specialties to start to get your life back on track.

Traumatic Brain Injury and You: See a Medical Professional Today!

Now you know about traumatic brain injury signs and symptoms, as well as the steps to take if you experience TBI. Have you been in an accident that caused a head injury? Call 1-800-897-8440 today to request an appointment with the top injury doctors to assess your best course of treatment today.