Many people are more aware of the consequences of sports and concussions or mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBI). But fewer people realize that a car crash, and other trauma such as a fall, can also result in a concussion of mTBI. Oftentimes, people in rear-end collisions suffer mTBI when their head is thrust forward and then back against the headrest. While it is not uncommon to suffer an mTBI from a car crash, it is an often overlooked injury. Loss of consciousness does not always accompany an mTBI and symptoms sometimes take a few days to develop.
If you have been injured, be on the lookout for symptoms and signs of mTBI. While a CT brain scan can rule out a more serious head injury, it does not rule out a mild head injury. Be aware of signs and symptoms such as headache, confusion, memory lapse, ear ringing (tinnitus), fatigue, visual disturbances, sleep problems, poor attention and concentration, dizziness or balance issues, mood changes, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, feeling “slow” or “stupid”. Sometimes, the person suffering an mTBI does not realize what is happening and it is friends and family who point out that they just do not seem like themselves.
If you think you have suffered an mTBI, get medical attention right away. Oftentimes, there is little to do other than “brain rest” and reducing stimulation. You can try staying strictly away from computers and electronics. It is important to follow medical advice and allow your brain the opportunity to heal. If symptoms do not resolve, a medical provider may send you to a specialist such as a neurologist and/or neuropsychologist. Make sure you tell your provider about all of your symptoms, even if you do not think they are related to your brain injury.
While most people recover from a brain injury, a percentage of people will never fully recover. Different therapies can be helpful to address cognitive deficits such as speech and language therapy, vision therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological counseling, and cognitive therapy. People who suffer from mTBI may not be able to work or return to their former employment even if they are able to work in some capacity. For these people, vocational counseling or retraining can be essential to getting back into the workforce.
Support can also make a big difference in recovering from an mTBI. Attitude has a place in everyone’s recovery and people with positive thinking sometimes do better than those without. There are support groups for people who suffer from mTBI that can help tremendously especially since it can be frustrating for someone suffering from an mTBI since it is not the type of injury that others can see. The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAW) is a great resource for people with mTBI. For more information, click here. https://www.biawa.org If you or a loved one has suffered from an mTBI as a result of an accident, call our office for a free consultation at 206-527-2000.