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Traumatic Brain Injury1

When does Traumatic Brain Injury Occur?

Traumatic brain injuries occur when a sudden trauma such as a violent blow or jolt to the head or car accident causes damage to the brain.

Causes of Traumatic Brain injury

The causes of traumatic brain injuries are diverse; some of the common causes include vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, domestic violence, and gunshot wounds.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain injury

The symptoms of traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe, depending upon the extent of damage to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injuries may include symptoms such as loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, headache, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, fatigue, mood swings, memory problems, and difficulty in concentrating. Moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries may be associated with additional symptoms which include persistent headache, seizures, difficulty in speaking or thinking, irritability, weakness or numbness in extremities, loss of coordination, or involuntary muscle stiffness called spasticity.

Diagnosis of Traumatic Brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries can be diagnosed with a neurological examination and imaging studies such as CT and MRI scans. A variety of other diagnostic tests are also sometimes used.

Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury

Treatment options depend on the extent of injury to the brain, and may include:

  • Medications for pain, headaches, muscle stiffness, cognitive difficulties and other symptoms
  • Injection of botulinum toxin into carefully selected muscles to treat spasticity and spasms and improve function
  • Stretching and therapeutic exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength and coordination
  • Physical and occupational, and speech language therapy to regain skills in mobility, performing daily tasks and communication
  • Neuropsychological testing and treatment to identify and minimize cognitive deficits

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