How do doctors treat traumatic brain injuries?

Mild traumatic brain injuries usually don't require treatment other than rest and over-the-counter pain relievers to treat headaches. However, a person with a mild traumatic brain injury usually needs to be closely monitored at home for any persistent, worsening, or new symptoms. For mild traumatic brain injury, the main treatment is rest. If you have a headache, you can try taking over-the-counter pain relievers.

It is important to follow your health care provider's instructions to get full rest and gradually return to normal activities. If you start doing it too soon, it may take longer to recover. Contact your provider if your symptoms do not improve or if you have new symptoms. People with mild to moderate TBI may only need minimal treatment.

Your care may involve a short period of rest from sports, school, or work. Symptoms should improve within a few weeks. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden external physical attack damages the brain. It is one of the most common causes of disability and death in adults.

TBI is a broad term that describes a wide range of injuries that occur in the brain. Damage can be focal (limited to one area of the brain) or diffuse (occurs in more than one area of the brain). The severity of a brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a serious injury that leads to coma or even death. Most mild traumatic brain injuries usually don't require treatment other than rest and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians have specialized training in brain injury rehabilitation and work with occupational, physical, and speech-language physical therapists. However, testing these FDA-regulated medical devices can help healthcare providers rule out some of the most serious brain injuries. Primary brain injury refers to sudden and profound brain injury that is considered more or less complete at the time of impact. Patients often receive care from a multidisciplinary team in the ICU after they are stabilized with surgery for a severe traumatic brain injury.

Shaking the brain against the sides of the skull can cause cutting (tearing) of the inner lining, tissues, and blood vessels leading to internal bleeding, bruising, or swelling of the brain. Many people recover from a TBI in a matter of days, and the most severe forms can cause permanent brain injury or even death. Diffuse axonal injury is the cutting (tearing) of the long connecting nerve fibers of the brain (axons) that occurs when the brain is injured as it moves and rotates within the bony skull. Recovery from TBI can take a significant amount of time, as some people need to relearn basic skills, such as walking or talking.

Penetrating or open head injuries occur when there is a fracture in the skull, such as when a bullet pierces the brain. But there is always a risk that parts of the treatment, such as physical or occupational therapy, will cause new injuries or worsen existing symptoms or injuries if not done correctly. In particular, these scans can detect bleeding that resulted from the traumatic injury that requires immediate medical or surgical attention. The FDA has not approved any device that can evaluate or diagnose traumatic brain injury without evaluation by a health care provider.

However, recovery after brain injury can take place, especially in younger people, since, in some cases, other areas of the brain compensate for injured tissue. Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include headache, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, ringing in the ears, or sensitivity to light or sound.