Mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), commonly called concussions, affect more than 1.7 million people in the United States each year. Although most people who sustain a mild TBI recover will recover within 3-6, about 15% of these people will experience long term symptoms that can lead to disability, according to the Brain Injury Research Center of Mt. Sinai Hospital.
What is mild TBI and how is it diagnosed
A mild TBI, or concussion, is caused by a blow or jolt to the head (like whiplash injuries) that disrupts the function of the brain. Mild traumatic brain injuries are difficult to diagnose, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, which is another reason a mild TBI can be so problematic. A mild TBI is typically diagnosed when an individual sustains a mild head injury and also experiences an alteration in mental status, such as having a loss of memory at the time of the injury, losing consciousness at least for a brief period, or “seeing stars.”
Currently there are no objective tests to routinely diagnose concussion. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a good, thorough patient history and physical examination are essential for diagnosis. Mild traumatic brain injuries frequently go undetected because doctors misdiagnose the patient or the individual doesn’t seek medical treatment. This can lead to serious problems especially for the 15% of mild TBI sufferers who experience long term effects from their concussion.
Treatment for Mild TBI
There are many options to help a person who experiences a mild TBI recover as quickly as possible, including meditation and other natural approaches. However, it’s important to speak with a doctor you trust if you suspect you or a loved one has sustained a mild TBI. However, be careful because many doctors are inexperienced at diagnosing and treating mild TBI.
Rehabilitation, Medications and/or sometimes surgery are sometimes used to treat mild TBI. Many times an individual who experiences a mild TBI can just use some or all of the tips below to make a full recovery. However, again, about 15% of people who sustain a mild TBI will have long term effects, and currently there’s no way to predict who will experience these long term effects. Here is a long list of the different approaches currently being used to treat mild TBI.
Mild traumatic brain injury symptoms
- Brief loss of consciousness (few seconds to a few minutes)
- No loss of consciousness, but dazed, confused or disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Impaired balance
- Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling anxious, agitated and/or depressed
How long does it take to recover from a mild TBI
The brain has a remarkable ability to heal and adjust after an injury. Some people who experience a mild TBI will recover very quickly and most will recover within 3-6 months. However, in about 15% of people with mild TBI, symptoms may persist for months or years.
Tips and Advice: Recovering from mild TBI
When recovering from a mild TBI, the US Department of Veteran Affairs has assembled the following guidelines for doctors and patients recommending that individuals who sustain a mild TBI to:
- Get plenty of sleep;
- Keep a daily journal of activities, feelings, and symptoms;
- Return to normal activities gradually;
- Avoiding high-risk activities that could lead to another brain injury;
- Follow doctors’ directions;
- Avoid alcoholic beverages;
- Strive to be patient.
Memory Problems: For memory problems, writing down important information will be helpful; keeping a small pad and pen in the pocket is a great way to adjust to any memory challenges.
Losing Things: If important items are frequently lost or misplaced, putting those items in the same place each time is helpful. Actually, that’s a useful strategy for anyone. One strategy is to use a personal planner to record where important documents, phone numbers, etc., can be found.
Dealing with distraction and difficulty concentrating: If patients are easily distracted or have difficulty concentrating, they should avoid multi-tasking and seek out quiet, non-distracting environments.
Medications: Patients should be told to take all of their prescribed medication and have a written plan on how to remember what medications to take. If you don’t want to take the medication, it’s best to tell the doctor up front instead of starting the medication then stopping midstream. If you suffer side effects and want to stop the medication, it’s best to speak with your doctor about this because abruptly stopping some medications can cause serious problems or injury.
Decision making: While recovering, people with mild TBI should consult with family prior to making important decisions.
Contact an Experienced West Virginia Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured by another’s negligence, including in an automobile accident, at work, in a hospital, or on dangerous property, we invite you to call West Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378. And we there’s no fee unless we get money for you first.