No two car accidents are ever alike.
Because car accidents are so unique in this respect, there are many ways that the brain can be injured in just a fraction of a second. You do not even need to experience a direct impact for a brain injury to happen – the physical forces of a collision can cause the brain to experience trauma without any external contact on the skull at all.
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is among the most challenging injuries to recover from after a car accident, even if it is a mild one.
A mild TBI (mTBI) is still a traumatic brain injury. Calling it “mild” is just a subjective medical classification. An mTBI is a very serious injury that can affect your cognitive, physical, and psychological functioning for the rest of your life. They can cause a broad range of symptoms, some of which you may notice on your own while others might be more apparent to your friends and family.
Symptoms of an mTBI may surface immediately after the collision or in the days and weeks following. The delayed onset of symptoms is a major reason why it’s essential to seek medical care immediately after any crash.
Symptoms of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
An mTBI may cause physical and psychological symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Changes in speech
- Loss of balance
- Tinnitus (ringing ears)
- Changes in vision, taste, or smell
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Memory lapses
- Mood changes
- Depression or anxiety
- Sleep issues such as trouble sleeping or sleeping more often
- Difficulty concentrating
If you experience an mTBI, you may or may not lose consciousness. Some people are unconscious for seconds or minutes, while others experience a dazed or disoriented mindset right after the car accident.
Key components of mTBI recovery and management
Physical Rest: Adequate physical rest is essential for allowing the brain to heal properly. This includes avoiding activities that can worsen symptoms, such as intense physical exertion, loud environments, and excessive screen time.
Cognitive Rest: Giving the brain time to recover cognitively is also crucial. This means limiting activities that demand significant mental effort, like reading, studying, or using electronic devices.
Gradual Return to Activities: Once symptoms improve, a gradual return to normal activities, under medical guidance, can be initiated. Rushing back into strenuous tasks may prolong the recovery process.
Multidisciplinary Support: Depending on the severity of the injury and the presence of persistent symptoms, individuals may benefit from a multidisciplinary approach to recovery, involving neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and neuropsychologists.
Concussions and mTBIs are common for people injured in auto accidents.
However, these brain injuries are difficult to diagnose because injured people can appear “normal” and mTBIs do not usually appear on MRIs and CT scans.
Additionally, these injuries can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are either delayed or they are often mistakenly attributed to other accident-related injuries. When this happens, the mTBI is said to have been masked by the other injury. This is why this injury has been described as an invisible injury.
mTBIs are more common than we realize, and their impact on individuals can be substantial. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mTBI, seeking immediate medical attention, and following a proper recovery and management plan is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome.
Our Doctors at Ohio Therapy Centers can co-treat concussion/mTBI patients with neurologists for patients that require additional treatment. Please contact us at Ohio Therapy Centers. We would be happy to assist in your recovery!