Concussion and TBI
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Head injury can be associated with concussions in sports, military combat, whiplash, and vehicular accidents. These injuries result in varying degrees of impaired brain function which may not seem obvious but can be detected by a trained expert. Some imaging techniques, such as regular MRI, are rarely able to show the full extent of the injury. A comprehensive neurological and internal medicine assessment with supportive imaging studies is necessary to determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy should be used for a patient with head injury.
Each year, emergency rooms treat over 173,000 sports-related concussions in patients from birth to 19 years old. In the last ten years, these head injuries have increased by 60%. Football and girl’s soccer are the largest contributors to head injury. Sports concussions often occur due to a sudden bump, blow, or jolt to the head, and can change an athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning. Some of the most common symptoms include headaches, nausea, insomnia, confusion, and feeling “dazed”. Unfortunately, symptoms may not appear right away, but they can potentially last for weeks or months if not proactively treated.
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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been called the “signature injury” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are often caused by explosive devices, falls, or motor vehicle accidents. Most military brain injuries can be traced back to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms often include headache, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, mood changes, and trouble with memory. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also associated with head injury, which is a prevalent issue facing many military veterans.
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Motor Vehicle Accidents
Approximately 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers are treated in emergency rooms each year due to motor vehicle accidents. Common injuries include lacerations, broken bones, spine, back, and neck injuries, and also concussion and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Unfortunately, treatment for head injury (unless very severe) often comes second to treating things such as cuts and lacerations. Therefore, it’s easy to dismiss a head injury until the symptoms begin to arise.
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