Traumatic Brain Injury: What to Expect With the Unexpected

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head suffers from a sharp jolt, hit, or penetrating injury to the head. Not just any blow to the head causes a TBI, however. Head injuries may lead to a TBI diagnosis only if the injury caused a disruption in the brain’s normal function. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were two and a half million TBIs reported, both on their own and in conjunction with additional injuries. Based on how commonly TBIs occur, it is important to understand some common ways they occur and what to expect.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

In the United States, the most common causes of TBIs include vehicle accidents, construction or another job-related mishaps, violent altercations, and sports injuries. A TBI is the result of a direct impact to the head, the shifting of the brain in the skull due to sudden accelerating or decelerating force of the head, or a combination of both. The brain also suffers a secondary injury following the initial damage. This secondary injury can include increasing pressure inside the skull and a disruption in the flow of cerebral blood.

Immediately Following Injury

For many people who suffer from a severe TBI, some degree of confusion occurs. It may or may not be accompanied by loss of consciousness, lapses of memory, and some dizziness. Less severe TBIs may cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness but these symptoms may not occur immediately. It is not uncommon for sufferers may go for days before symptoms to surface.

Changes in Physical Aspects

In addition to the headaches and dizziness, there are some physical changes that can occur. A TBI can cause difficulty with muscle coordination and partial or complete paralysis. Sensory changes may also occur, such as blurry or double vision and muffled hearing.

Cognitive Symptoms

According to a Kitchen Simeson LLP law firm in Oshawa, depending on the severity of the TBI, sufferers may experience difficulty with cognitive and thinking processes. Trouble with communication and learning may occur. A sufferer may also experience poor judgment and difficulty processing and reacting to emotions properly.

Diagnosis and Testing

Image scans are often used to determine if there are lesions or other damage to the brain. Neurological testing, such as an EEG, is commonly used to measure electrical activity in the brain. In some cases, such as TBIs with a penetrating injury to the head, an angiography may be used to check cerebral blood flow.

Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death in both children and adults. They cause such a problem because symptoms are unpredictable. A person who experiences a TBI can go days, weeks, or sometimes longer without showing any signs of damage. Additionally, the severity of a TBI can result in temporary symptoms or permanent damage. This is why it is so important to be treated immediately and be watched closely.