Lasting consequences of traumatic brain injury

If you sustain an impact to the head in the course of an accident, traumatic brain injury can be a very real possibility. Common types of accidents that may lead to TBI include car crashes and slip or trip and falls.

While severe TBI is more likely to receive a quick diagnosis, moderate or light TBI does not always manifest in a clear, unmistakable way.

Symptoms can seem deceptively minor

Symptoms of moderate TBI can show up hours, days or weeks after the accident. They may also seem relatively unalarming; many people first think they are experiencing an unrelated minor problem. TBI can cause headaches, nausea, blurred vision, forgetfulness, lack of focus, irritability, pain or numbness in the limbs, decreased balance, impulsivity, ringing in the ears or dizziness. It is easy to understand why someone experiencing one or even several symptoms would not hasten to get medical attention. However, if you were in an accident during the past weeks or months, you should remain alert to possible signs of TBI.

Getting medical help is essential

Even moderate TBI still results in brain damage, which you should not take lightly. Paying attention to possible symptoms can help doctors diagnose you and develop the optimal course of treatment. In many cases, functional, cognitive and psychological testing can be more helpful than imaging in pinpointing the nature of the problem.

Effects of TBI can continue to affect you in the long term

Sometimes, the effects of TBI become worse as the years go on. The original damage can set in motion mechanisms that continue to expand and amplify its effects.

Currently, medical science is able to manage the effects of TBI rather than cure it by repairing the damage. A course of treatment may include surgery, pain medication and various therapies aimed at improving function. While some people may eventually recover a full range of function, others may never do so and may even experience worsening. Doctors may not always be able to predict which patient will fall into either category.

If you suffer from TBI symptoms, it is important to get appropriate medical care. Even seemingly minor symptoms, as they persist over time, can affect your ability to work and function in daily life.