What is the typical treatment for a mild traumatic brain injury?

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. Family education should be provided with regard to all deficits and their relationship to concussive injury. The family should be educated about the importance of all interventions and the relationship of interventions to each other.

The family must understand the role of medicines and substances, both beneficial and harmful. Family systems should be evaluated and counseling should be provided to families, as well as injured persons, for the purposes of this educational process and adaptation to abrupt changes in routines and lifestyles. A careful comparison should be made with academic skill sets prior to the injury and a determination of congruencies with vocational achievements and aptitudes should be made. Attention should be paid to skills in the iconic store, echo shop, visual surveillance, attention, reading comprehension, reading speed, and computational mathematical skills.

The term mild traumatic brain injury can be misleading, as it includes a spectrum of manifestations that can range from mild transient symptoms to ongoing disabling problems. Scientists are studying TBI blood tests, special brain imaging, eye movements, and brainwave patterns. Hormone imbalances can occur when certain glands in the body, such as the pituitary gland, become damaged over time as a result of brain injury. MRI scans of the brain are more sensitive to showing small areas of bruise or cut injury than CT and may be more sensitive if done soon after the trauma.

Alcohol and drug abuse is a major cause of head injury and requires treatment if toxicology test results are positive. Although brain injury often occurs at the time of impact to the head, much of the damage related to a severe traumatic brain injury develop from secondary injuries that occur days or weeks after the initial trauma. Definite signs must be present at the time of head trauma for a traumatic brain injury to be diagnosed. For example, TBI-related brain inflammation in children may be very different from the same condition in adults, even when primary lesions are similar.

The persistent post-concussion syndrome may result from brain injury or may be partially or totally related to chronic pain, anxiety, or depression. Traumatic brain injury is classified at the time of injury according to certain measures, including duration of loss of consciousness, duration of post-traumatic amnesia, and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. The FDA has not approved any device that can evaluate or diagnose traumatic brain injury without evaluation by a health care provider. People with severe head injuries may require surgery to relieve pressure inside the skull, remove damaged or dead brain tissue (especially for a penetrating traumatic brain injury), or remove bruising.

Emergency care usually focuses on stabilizing and keeping the patient alive, including ensuring that the brain receives enough oxygen, controlling blood and brain pressure, and preventing further injury to the head or neck.