The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body. It’s because of our brains that we were able to rise up the evolutionary ladder to become such a dominant species on Earth, and it’s our brains that allow us to think, feel, react, imagine, and so much more. Unfortunately, the brain also happens to be an immensely delicate organ.
The body itself has evolved to protect the brain, with the skull being one of the toughest bones in the body, acting as a kind of protective cage for the sensitive brain tissue. The brain is also encased in layers of protective liquid that help to absorb impacts and reduce the risk of injuries, but it’s still surprisingly easy for brains to get damaged in the simplest of ways.
Brain injuries can occur from a simple slip and fall, for example, or they might occur in an auto accident if a person is thrust forward and bangs their head on the steering wheel or the seat in front of them. They can also happen during sports and similar activities if players or athletes collide at high speed, and these kinds of situations often lead to what medical experts call a TBI or traumatic brain injury.
A TBI is when any kind of impact or damage to the head results in a disruption of brain function or activity, and studies show that around 1.5 million Americans suffer a TBI of some form each and every year. These injuries can vary in severity, with the worst cases being absolutely life-changing, but fortunately, they can be treated in a range of different ways.
When it comes to treating TBIs, doctors and medical professionals will usually focus on handling the physical and emotional effects of the injury first, before moving on to dealing with the cognitive issues that may have developed as a result of the injury. This is partly because physical pain can make cognitive therapy difficult or even impossible.
So it’s not uncommon for a TBI treatment to begin with some medications. These medications aren’t designed to heal the brain in any way or repair the damage that may have been done to the brain. Instead, they’re designed to alleviate some of the symptoms that may be associated with the issue.
Pain-relieving medications, for example, can be used to help people who are suffering from repeated headaches or migraines after a TBI. Muscle relaxants may also be given to anyone who is struggling with issues like muscle tension or spasms. Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed, as TBI sufferers often face mental health challenges too.
Therapy is another form of treatment that is commonly used when treating people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, and there can be various forms of therapy that are used to help the patient try to recover a more normal life and regain some of their cognitive and mental abilities in the more severe cases.
The type and nature of the therapy used in each case will depend on the specifics of the case in question. If a patient is dealing with mental health troubles, for example, they may need some therapy to help with their anxiety, stress, fears, or depression, and those who have cognitive impairment may need occupational therapy to relearn simple tasks and activities.
Physical therapy may also be required in order to help people regain their levels of hand-eye coordination, balance, and mobility. In each case, the doctor will first need to examine the patient, diagnose the severity of the injury, and figure out what sort of therapy will be best suited to help the patient make a full or partial recovery.
Rest And Relaxation
It’s important to note that TBI is a broad term, which can be applied in many different situations. A TBI can occur if someone bumps their head and feels a little dizzy or has a headache afterward, for example, but is mostly okay, without any impairment to their cognitive abilities or memory recollection. A TBI can also occur in a severe car accident when a person loses their memory and becomes unable to carry out simple tasks.
In the more mild situations of traumatic brain injuries, treatment options like therapy and medication may not actually be required. Instead, a doctor might simply recommend that a patient get some physical rest, heading home and lying down on the sofa or in bed, trying to get as much sleep as they can to let the brain recover from the injury.
They may also recommend mental rest, which essentially involves trying to avoid any activities that might put unnecessary strain or pressure on the mind. These activities might include reading complicated books, trying to solve puzzles and problems, going to work, playing games, and so on. In short, the idea here is to help the brain relax and focus on repairing and restoring damaged areas.
Unfortunately, as explained above, not every TBI is mild, and not all of these injuries can be cured with simple rest and relaxation. Indeed, there are many cases, like car accidents and sporting accidents, in which a patient might be at severe risk of permanent and life-altering brain damage, or even find themselves possibly faced with a life-or-death situation.
This is when doctors need to act fast and carry out emergency treatments and procedures in order to try and minimize the amount of damage done to the patient’s brain and body, as well as potentially saving their life, and in these situations, drastic measures may be required in order to help the patient.
Patients dealing with severe TBI situations will need to be stabilized and put on oxygen to keep the brain alive. They’ll need to have their blood pressure monitored or controlled, and they’ll need to be handled with care to avoid any additional injuries. They may also require surgery on the skull or brain. After all this, once the patient is stable, other methods like therapy and medication can be used.
TBIs can be some of the most devastating injuries of all, but medical science has come a long way, and it’s clear to see that there are, thankfully, many ways in which these injuries can be treated to give patients the best chance of recovery.