Recognizing a Brain Injury
The identification of a brain injury is considered difficult and is often not diagnosed initially. For instance, many patients do not have visible physical or concerning signs in mild TBI and that’s why it has been termed a “silent epidemic.” A person with a brain injury can often have disabling psychological, cognitive or behavioral impairments that are quite often misdiagnosed or even unnoticed for a long period of time. That’s why it is imperative to identify concussions (even mild ones) and other TBIs after an accident.
How a Brain Injury Occurs?
Your brain is an extremely important yet fragile part of your body. A hit to your head can cause some serious damage to your brain. As a result of an accident or a hit to your head, there is a sudden acceleration of your brain inside your skull which causes an injury. In one such injury called Coup-contrecoup injury (aka acceleration/deceleration injury), the brain bounces back and forth against the hard skull. In high speed, the impact of brain is violent enough to cause bruising and swelling of the brain tissues. As the areas of varying density in the brain moves due to sudden brain movement, those areas slide over each other at different speeds and it causes the axons stretch and tear from the cell body. According to researchers, brain damage is associated to with a protein called Tau – a super important element in brain cells that help organize intracellular transport and stabilize cell structure. In a nutshell, if the impact is stronger, the severity of brain injury will be more and likewise.
What Are Different Types of Brain Injuries?
You can get detailed information on different types of brain injuries from the official website of Brain Injury Association of America. [i] Here we can give you an overview of types of brain injuries:
Contusion – A direct impact on the skull can cause internal bleeding, which might need surgery.
Concussion – It is the most common type of brain injury and it occurs as a result of any kind of force to the head.
Coup-contrecoup injury – This is the type of brain injury in which contusion appears on both sides (site of the impact and the complete opposite side) of the head. It means that the impact of the force was great enough to cause damage to both sides.
Anoxic Brain Injury – In anoxic brain injury, the cells inside the brain begins to die due to complete absence of oxygen.
Hypoxic Brain Injury – In hypoxic brain injury, the brain receives some oxygen, but it is not enough.
How a TBIs, Concussions, and Contusions Are Diagnosed?
If you notice that you or your family member has suffered a head injury, then you should never take it lightly. After all, we’re talking about the brain here and it should always be taken seriously. First of all, you need to look for following symptoms:
Emergency Signs for Children
Once you or someone close to you is taken to the hospital, the health care providers will assess the physical injuries, level of consciousness as well as the functioning of brain and nerves with the help of a few tests. Some of the common tests are:
Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) – This test focuses on three functioning areas of a person: the ability to open eyes, to move, and to speak. The health care provider will rate the person’s response based on these three functioning areas. If the final score is 13 then it is a mild TBI. A final score between 9 and 12 indicates moderate TBI and the score of 8 or lower indicates a severe TBI. [ii]
Speech and Language Tests – These tests are conducted by a speech and language pathologist. The tests include evaluating the speech and language skills of a person, including the evaluation of strength and coordination of speech controlling muscles. The pathologist will also consider other evaluations such as difficulty in swallowing and social communication skills.
Imaging Tests – There can be a Computerized tomography (CT) scan, Intracranial Pressure (ICP) monitoring, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In most cases, a CT scan or an MRI helps diagnose TBI.
Recovering From the Brain Injury
It is important to understand that the recovery can take weeks, years or even lifetime. Therefore, it is best to follow your doctor’s orders under any circumstances. Your doctor knows best what needs to be done to avoid the injury from causing long-term effects. Taking the medications that are approved by your doctor can help prevent major long-term health problems such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, etc.
Your doctor will also recommend rehabilitation programs. Some people suffering from a TBI neglect the importance of taking rehabilitative programs, but you or your loved one should definitely take them.
Your Brain Injury is Diagnosed and Confirmed, Now What?
To recover from a brain injury, doctors’ fees, medication and rehabilitation programs can actually put a lot of financial burden on you and your family. And let’s not forget that you or your family member is already battling with the pain and restlessness. If your brain injury occurred from a car accident or workplace injury, then don’t waste any time in contacting your CA personal injury lawyer.
Attorney Brad Nakase is a an experience California personal injury lawyer who has been providing excellent services since 2005. Please call us to schedule a free consultation: 619-550-1321.