According to the CDC, did you know that approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year? Of these 1.5 million Americans, 80,000 to 90,000 have long-term disabilities as a result of their injuries. 

Does your loved one suffer from a TBI? If so, it’s important for you, as the caregiver, to research recovery options. Keep reading to learn more about what options are available. First, let’s begin by exploring the three types of TBIs.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

There are three types of brain injuries. These types include are mild, moderate, and severe traumatic brain injuries.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

A mild TBI is more commonly known as a concussion. This injury is usually a result of a jolt to the head. Concussions could be caused by a sports-related injury. They can also be caused by the brain bouncing around in the skull from something such as a car accident. 

Symptoms from a mild TBI can affect a person’s thinking, learning, mood, and sleep. However, these symptoms typically do not last as long as moderate and severe brain injury symptoms. 

Moderate and Severe Brain Injury

Large jolts can cause moderate and severe brain injuries to the head. They can also cause penetration injuries, such as a gunshot wound or a hypoxic brain injury from an accident such as drowning. These large jolts can even result in a brain stem injury.

People who suffer from moderate and severe brain injuries can have long-term effects. They can also have similar health problems as those diagnosed with chronic health conditions. 

Moderate and Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

Common brain injury symptoms found in moderate to severe TBI include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Persistent or worsening headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils
  • Clear fluid drainage from nose and/or ears
  • Inability to wake up or coma
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Decreased coordination
  • Confusion
  • Agitation or combative
  • Slurred speech

These symptoms may develop within hours of the injury to a few days after.

Now that we’ve identified the different types of a TBI, we will discuss what comes next: treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment 

These symptoms may develop within hours of the injury to a few days after.

Treatment for traumatic brain injuries is not all the same. Therefore, it is important to talk with a doctor to find the best option. Your doctor may choose one or a combination of treatment options. These may include medications, surgeries, and rehabilitation therapies.

Medications

Sometimes persistent psychological problems can occur with TBIs. Because of this, a doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. In addition, if someone has seizures after a TBI, anti-seizure medication may be needed.

A doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help with muscle spasms. He or she may also recommend stimulants to help improve alertness and attention.

Surgeries 

Surgeries needed for TBI vary on the damage to the brain and how the injury is healing. Surgery may be needed to treat brain bleeds or to remove damaged and dead brain tissues.

In other cases, a skull fracture may need to be repaired with surgery. Surgery can also help relieve pressure within the skull due to brain swelling.

Rehabilitation Therapies 

Rehabilitation therapies are critical in helping patients regain skills necessary for daily life. Occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists all work together to help patients with TBI.

Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapist can help TBI patients improve and recover skills necessary for daily living. For example, after a TBI, a patient may need to relearn how to brush their teeth. 

An occupational therapist works with TBI patients to regain the ability to perform essential daily tasks. Occupational therapy takes time, but with persistence and practice, the results can be life-changing.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapists help TBI patients with communicating and swallowing. Unfortunately, some TBI patients must go on a ventilator for an extended time. This can hurt someone’s ability to speak or swallow. 

Sometimes a tracheostomy tube may be necessary. This is a special tube that is inserted through a hole in the patient’s throat. These tubes may be needed if a ventilator is required for a long time.

This tube may further complicate speech and swallowing skills. A speech therapist is crucial in helping TBI patients in regaining speaking and swallowing skills. Over time, patients working with a speech therapist often experience dramatic improvements in these skills.

Therapy Achievements employee assisting a patient with a walker

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists help TBI patients improve mobility and manage pain. For example, a TBI patient may need to relearn how to walk again. Patients may also need special assistance to walk. A physical therapist can work with a TBI patient through these challenges and help them on their journey to recovery. 

Hope for Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery 

Traumatic brain injuries are complex injuries. This can make recovery a long and challenging process. Luckily, there are treatment options to discuss with your loved one’s doctor.

If you or a loved one have a TBI and need rehabilitation care, contact us at Therapy Achievements. We will walk with you step-by-step toward healing and recovery.

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