Traumatic brain injury may happen due to accidents involving an impact to the head, such as a car crash, a fall or a blow from a falling object. If a car accident happens while you are traveling at a high speed, the impact of the abrupt stop can also cause TBI, even if you do not suffer an obvious head wound.
After a crash, first responders arrive on the scene and transport injured persons to the emergency room, if necessary. Many instances of TBI fly under the radar during this initial period, so it is important to watch for symptoms and get a full check-up later.
What is TBI?
As its name implies, TBI is an injury affecting the brain. As is the case with any body part that sustains a harsh impact, the brain can swell, bleed or bruise in response to the trauma. Because the brain controls the full range of bodily functions, the effects of the trauma can depend on the specific area of the brain that suffers. This also means symptoms and effects can change if the traumatized area begins to heal or to expand due to further bleeding or fluid buildup.
How do doctors treat brain injury?
Depending on the specific nature and extent of the trauma, various treatments may be available. Surgery can help in some situations, but they may be too risky or useless in others. Most treatment aims to mitigate the symptoms. People with TBI may undergo physical, cognitive or speech therapy, and they may need pain medication. Some need long-term care or full-time health aides to support daily living.
How does TBI affect you?
TBI can have potentially severe effects on a person's life and work. Even on a moderate level, impairment in the areas of cognition, memory, attention span, speech or physical activity can make finding and keeping a job quite difficult. For some, even basic living activities become a tough challenge.
TBI symptoms can arise days, weeks or even months after the accident. During this time, pay close attention to any changes in your mental, physical or emotional health. When speaking with a doctor about your symptoms, be sure to mention your car accident and potential head trauma so your health care provider has all the information necessary for a correct diagnosis and effective treatment plan.