How does a head trauma feel?
What are traumatic brain injuries and how are they treated?
What is the Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury?
In medical terms, a traumatic brain injury, also cranial brain trauma (TBI), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) is a "non-degenerative, non-congenital injury to the brain by an external mechanical force, which may lead to permanent or temporary cognitive, physical and psychosocial impairment Functions. " Medscape, Dr. Segun Toyin Dawodu, MD, MS, MBA, LLM).
In simpler terms, TBI is a blow or bump to the head or penetrating injury that either temporarily or permanently disrupts the functioning of your brain. TBI is not hereditary, congenital, or degenerative. “Brain injury” is often used synonymously with “head injury”. However, this is not the correct use of the term as head injuries may or may not be associated with neurological deficits, while TBI always does.
How many people have a traumatic brain injury?
Unfortunately, TBI is a widespread injury: it is estimated that up to 400 traumatic brain injuries per 100,000 inhabitants per year. Approx. 300 injured persons per 100,000 inhabitants per year have to undergo hospital inpatient treatment. The importance of this disease becomes clear when one realizes that about 180 out of 100,000 traumatic brain injuries are so severe that long-term damage is to be expected and that more than 4,000 patients each year as permanently injured with severe injuries are required to have long-term care.
What are the causes of a traumatic brain injury?
The main causes of TBI are: falls (47%), car or traffic accidents (29%) and bodily harm (9%).
Doctors differentiate between the following causes of TBI:
- open head injury (injuries from wounds and penetrating objects),
- closed head injury (consequence of a fall or a car accident in which nothing has penetrated the brain (significant head trauma),
- Deceleration injuries (in which the brain is shaken in the skull),
- Operations after stroke, tumors and infections.
What effects does a traumatic brain injury have on everyday life?
The brain is the “control center” for all of our human activities, including thinking, feeling, judging and emotions, as well as breathing and moving. Therefore, injuries to the brain can significantly affect everyday functions.
The effects of traumatic brain injury are divided into three categories:
- Physical impact - Depending on which part of the brain has been injured, TBI can affect mobility to different degrees and include spasticity (increased muscle tone that disrupts normal movement), hemiparesis or hemiplegia (weakness or paralysis of one side of the body), ataxia (uncontrolled tremors), cause sensory impairment, fatigue and speech difficulties.
- Cognitive (mental) effects - Depending on which part of the brain has been injured, TBI can cause problems with attention and focus, memory, language (e.g. aphasia or organizing thoughts and ideas), impairment of visual perception skills, lack of initiative, weaknesses in solving problems and cause reduced awareness and empathy.
- Emotional and behavioral effects - Finally, TBI can impair emotional and behavioral skills. Common changes seen in people with brain damage are: loss of inhibition, impulsiveness, irritability and / or aggression, obsession, apathy, and egocentricity.
Can I Recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The short answer is "yes". The longer answer follows.
The fastest improvement occurs around the first six months after the injury, although the rate of improvement varies from person to person. During this time, brain injury survivors are likely to see many improvements. There is further improvement over six months after the injury, but it varies from person to person.
The good news is that improvements can still occur years after the injury.
Based on statistics on people with moderate to severe TBI who received acute care and inpatient rehabilitation services as part of a TBI model system, the following can be expected two years after the injury:
- Most people continue to show a decline in disability.
- 93% of people live in a private residence.
- 34% live with their spouse or significant other.
- 29% live with their parents.
[SHT model system from Spaulding-Harvard, Model System Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), 2010]
How is treatment after TBI?
After an TBI, you can receive inpatient or outpatient treatment. Often times, the first treatment you will receive immediately after an injury is to stabilize your system in a hospital or other acute care facility. Trauma staff can monitor vital signs, respond to potentially life-threatening changes, and coordinate care with other hospital staff as needed. Other patients can be treated on an outpatient basis by a medical team, where the doctor coordinates care and calls in rehabilitation experts if necessary.
Rehabilitation is an essential part of the recovery process, where treatment helps restore the functions of daily life. Some patients are treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. The goal of this phase of rehabilitation is to prevent secondary complications, restore lost functional skills through physical, language, and occupational therapy, and provide advice to families on what changes are needed when you go home.
A variety of therapies are possible back home. Most of the time, you'll see a therapist regularly to help you set goals for your recovery. To achieve these goals, you can receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy. Mobile therapy apps like HeadApp can be used to provide customized rehabilitation programs. They help to train cognitive problems such as memory, attention and language problems such as reading, writing, word retrieval and listening comprehension.
As soon as the clinical therapy is over, you can continue your therapy yourself with iPad and tablet-based apps such as HeadApp. Studies show that the more you use this therapy, the more you will restore lost brain function.
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