Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result from a sudden jolt or blow to the head. They can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Concussions — a common injury among athletes and non-athletes — are a type of mild brain injury that cause headaches, nausea, mood swings, and light/sound sensitivity. Moderate and severe brain injuries may include bruising, bleeding on the brain, nerve damage, and more. Severe TBI may cause vision loss, severe headaches, seizures, and slurred speech.
Unfortunately, many myths are circulating about TBIs, especially concussions. Below,
our neurology specialists from Link Neuroscience Institute shed light on this topic to help you identify fact from fiction.
Myth: You can always see brain injury on CT and MRI scans.
Fact: You can’t always see a brain injury on a diagnostic imaging test. CT and MRI scans are two types of important scans, and they can be quite useful in diagnosing brain bleeds, skull fractures, and other signs of acute trauma. However, not all TBI are detectable on CT or MRI scans.
While CT and MRI scans are essential for ruling out serious trauma, you may still need a neurological exam to confirm or rule out a TBI. A neurological exam helps to evaluate your motor function (movement), thinking, coordination, eye movement, sensory function, and reflexes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American College of Rehabilitation Medicine all recommend neurological assessments as one of the first steps in diagnosing a potential TBI.
Myth: Concussions are not serious
Fact: All TBIs are serious, including concussions. Although concussions are considered mild TBI, they should still be treated swiftly. Concussions cause many symptoms, including pain, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, irritability, and nausea. Concussions can cause long-term symptoms if left untreated. If you’re injured again before the first concussion heals, you’re at risk for even more severe complications, including long-term issues with memory.
Myth: Only athletes get TBIs
Fact: Concussions are a big problem for athletes, especially football and rugby players. However, TBIs can happen anywhere. Other common causes of head injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Falling (especially among the elderly)
- Military accidents (or any other blast exposure)
- Domestic abuse
When in doubt, always seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a TBI has occurred.
Myth: Rest is the only way to treat a TBI
Fact: Rest is an important part of healing after a TBI. It’s especially dangerous to hit your head before the first injury has had time to heal, and if you’re dizzy (a common symptom of a TBI), you’re more likely to fall and hit your head again.
That being said, rest is not the only treatment for a TBI. Here at Link Neuroscience Institute, we offer many treatments for TBIs. Depending on the severity of your TBI, our team may recommend surgery to remove a blood clot or stop bleeding, repair any fractures, and relieve pressure (either from bleeding or the hydrocephalus that can form as a result of a TBI). Surgery can be a potentially life-saving treatment when it comes to TBIs.
Regardless of whether or not you need surgery, our team monitors you closely for any potentially dangerous side effects of a TBI.
To learn more about TBIs or to schedule an appointment, call the location of your choice — Oxnard or Santa Barbara, California — and speak to our team today. You can also use our online booking tool.