Did I Suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Many people injured in car accidents don’t consider that a headache or dizziness may be related to a severe head injury. Instead, they and even their doctors relate the symptoms to a neck injury. This article discusses traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”) and the actions to take when symptoms arise after a car collision.
PEOPLE AFFECTED WITH BRAIN INJURIES
The statistics are staggering. National statistics estimate that between 50-70% of TBI injuries are the result of motor vehicle collisions. Every year there are about 235,000 hospitalizations for TBI.
WHAT IS A TBI?
A brain injury is any damage to the brain. It can be mild and not seen by diagnostic studies, such as a CT scan. It can be severe, as shown by studies that show bruising on the brain or that the brain is bleeding.
The brain is surrounded by fluid so that it floats inside the skull. If it did not have fluid to float in, it would sit on the bottom of the skull. The fluid provides some protection to the brain. However, trauma to the head can cause the brain to move and be injured.
The most common brain injury after a car accident is a concussion. A concussion occurs in two ways. First, it occurs when the head strikes something, such as the headrest or steering wheel. Second, it occurs when the head suddenly moves back and forth, and the brain hits the inside of the head.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF TBI
The nature and extent of the symptoms following a head injury vary. Severe trauma to the brain can cause a person to lose consciousness. More common signs of brain injury include nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, vision changes, dizziness, sensitivity to light, and cognitive difficulties.
HOW IS A TBI DETERMINED?
In severe trauma cases, diagnostic studies, such as a CT Scan, will show a TBI, as evidenced by a bruise or brain bleed.
In mild cases, a CT Scan usually will not show the microscopic changes to the brain due to trauma. The diagnosis is made based on symptoms and physical examination.
Unfortunately, no treatment can prevent nerve damage or promote repair of the nerves. Recovery is different in every case. People with mild head injury usually do well over time. They may have headaches, dizziness, or memory problems, but these gradually improve most of the time. People with moderate to severe brain trauma don’t do as well. A significant percentage of those people will have some form of disability.
It is essential that victims of head injuries seek appropriate treatment. Typical forms of treatment include evaluations by a Neurologist, who can assess any deficits and create a treatment plan. Many victims benefit from a rehabilitation program. The program will help the person return to his or her pre-accident status. For those with permanent deficits, a rehabilitation program can provide strategies to help the person manage symptoms to function as close to normal as possible.
At MCIS, we have the experience and expertise to help those who have suffered a head injury following a car collision. Schedule a free consultation so we can help you plan a course of action for recovery.