Brain injuries are on the rise. 155 Americans died from a brain injury every day in 2014. Between 2006 and 2014, the number of emergency department visits for a brain injury increased by 53 percent.
People are becoming more active. They are putting themselves in more situations where they can get injured, and they are getting hurt. It’s essential to stay in shape, but it’s important to recognize the signs of a brain injury as well.
Every injury is different, but there are common signs and treatment plans you can look for. Read this brief guide to keep yourself safe.
Symptoms of a Mild Brain Injury
The symptoms of any brain injury vary significantly. Injuries can appear on the exact spot where the injury occurred. Symptoms can present immediately.
But the surrounding tissues can become damaged as well. Tissue damage means that other symptoms may take weeks to appear.
Any description of symptoms is a generalized one. You should seek any treatment after any head injury. Nonetheless, some common symptoms appear with a mild injury.
One symptom that shows up in more than 30 percent of people with a brain injury is a long-lasting headache. The pain makes it hard for the person to carry out activities. They may struggle with memory loss or sensory processing.
A person may experience lightheadedness or dizziness. They may need to sit down in order to pull themselves together.
A person can experience blurred vision and/or ringing in their ears. They may become sensitive to light or sound.
One common symptom related to mild brain trauma is being tired or sleepy. With a brain injury, sleeping patterns can change, so they sleep more or less. When they wake up, they may not feel refreshed.
From the initial injury, a person can lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Regaining consciousness does not mean that the damage has gone away.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. It occurs when the brain bounces around or twists, damaging cells. The term is used interchangeably with “mild traumatic brain injury.”
Just remember, a person may not have a cut, significant bruising, or any outward sign of injury on their head, but they can still have a brain injury.
Symptoms of an Advanced Brain Injury
Like mild injuries, advanced injuries are present differently, but there are common signs with more damage.
With more significant brain trauma, a person may suffer from an intense headache. The pain can cause them to vomit or feel nauseous. They may lose vision in one or both eyes. The pupil may become enlarged and unresponsive to light.
Movements may become clumsy. A person can become confused and unable to control their own body. Often after significant trauma, a person can struggle to awaken from sleep.
They may suffer from sudden seizures, even if they did not have a history of them. Sixty-five percent of people who receive a brain injury from a bullet wound, for example, experience a seizure.
Symptoms may not appear until some time has passed after the injury. Even if someone presents no signs, they should still seek the advice of a doctor.
The First Steps for Treatment
- Call 911 immediately.
- Do not move the injured person’s head or neck. If their brain is bleeding, moving it around will cause more blood to flow.
- If they have a cut on their face, you can apply a bandage as long as you don’t move their head.
- Take notice of any other injuries as well.
Treatment of Brain Injury at the Medical Facility
Most of the time, doctors use state-of-the-art scans to assess potential damage. A CT scan uses X-rays to create a view of the brain. An MRI uses radio waves to create images of brain tissues.
Using these scans, doctors can see hemorrhages, bruised tissue, and swollen tissue. Any of these symptoms require emergency treatments, including surgery.
Most mild injuries do not require excessive treatment. A patient can be discharged within hours or up to a couple of days after their injury.
At Home Care for Brain Injury
If you seek a medical professional’s care, they will give you detailed instructions on caring for the patient at home. If there are any questions, always talk to your doctor for more information.
Generally, a person with brain trauma should keep their head still, resting on their back. They should avoid activities that require thinking, like reading or using a computer. But they can talk with their friends and family and handle small amounts of light.
After a few days, they should increase their activities if they are feeling well. They can participate in light exercises like walking. They should still avoid extended amounts of work.
What Happens Next?
Even a mild injury can take months to recover from fully. A major brain injury will take years.
As a person’s brain heals, they can take many different medications. Anticoagulants prevent blood clots that could cause further complications. If a person suffers from mood swings, they could take antidepressants or anti-anxiety pills.
A person can take many kinds of therapy. Physical therapy helps them rebuild their physical strength and balance. A person with a significant injury can learn how to walk and drive again. Occupational therapy trains a person in daily tasks like getting dressed. Speech therapy helps a person form words and use communication skills.
Living with a traumatic brain injury can be depressing. A person can turn to a psychiatrist for support. They can receive training on interpersonal relationships, and they can develop coping skills.
New and exciting treatments are on the rise. One popular way to cope with an injury is neurofeedback therapy.
A doctor uses an EEG to assess a patient’s brainwaves. The doctor can then prescribe therapies that engage parts of the brain that aren’t working. These therapies create positive reinforcement that prompts the brain to adopt healthy patterns of behavior. The best part of this therapy is that it is drug-free.
Most people recover fully and regain their physical health. One injury does not cause dementia or disorders like CTE.
Preserve Your Brain Health
A brain injury can be devastating, but you can diminish the pain by recognizing the signs of one.
A constant headache and brief loss of consciousness are two common signs of a mild injury. Disorientation and prolonged unconsciousness are typical for a more severe injury.
After any head injury, you should call 911. Do not move the person’s head until paramedics arrive. Any damage will take months to recover from, but treatment plans are flexible.
Go to the experts on brain health. The Dody Chiropractic Center for Wholeness is Littleton, Colorado’s leading brain health group. Contact us today for more information.