Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) contribute to an alarming number of deaths and permanent injuries every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.5 million people suffered from some type of TBI in 2010. Whether symptoms range from a seemingly harmless concussion to a loss of consciousness, medical professionals want the public to understand the potential risks of brain injuries and proactively work to prevent and/or treat them.
Towards that goal, an article in Brainerd Dispatch is explaining the medical ins and outs of brain injury in a unique way. Dr. Bruce Cunningham is making the comparison between TBIs and ankle sprains. He explains that the pain which often accompanies a sprain is “nature’s way of getting you to rest the injury so it can recover and reduce the chance of reinjury or a worse injury.” The signs of brain injury may include a persistent headache, blurred vision, nausea and an inability to focus. According to Cunningham, these symptoms are also designed to make you rest and recover from your injury.
Swelling is another common thread between the TBI and an ankle sprain. Both injuries are caused by an outward action. When the tissues of the ankle become damaged, internal bleeding may occur. In response, the brain reportedly releases fluids from other tissues in the area. Though the fluids are there to protect the area during healing, they also force you to immobilize the ankle. Swelling can also accompany a brain injury for similar reasons. However, unlike the ankle, which has freedom to expand outward, the brain in confined within the skull. Therefore, continuous swelling can lead to additional injury. In addition, completely switching off the brain is virtually impossible for a conscious human being, which complicates rest and recovery.
The article pointed out one other major difference between the two injuries, which exemplifies the seriousness of TBIs and their potential danger. With an ankle sprain, you can see the injury. You can visually tell when the swelling has subsided and the bruising is healed. This is not the case with a TBI, absent medical evaluations. For this reason, many TBI patients misdiagnose themselves and continue with their regular activities. They do not realize that their brain is not fully healed, and the possibility of injury recurrence is high.
Proper Care and Treatment
When TBIs occur, proper treatment is vitally important to ensure proper healing and minimize the potential for further injury. Patients should seek the assistance of a health care provider as quickly as possible, even if the only symptom is a headache or slight confusion. Left untreated, a brain injury can leave an individual with lifelong disabilities, or in the worst case, prove fatal.
If you or a loved is suffering with a severe brain injury at the hands of another, contact the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti.