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Traumatic Brain Injury

You can experience head pain from a number of illnesses and injuries, ranging from a bump on the head to a traumatic brain injury. Headaches are literally pain in your head and can function as signs or symptoms of a larger issue. A concussion is the most common example of a traumatic brain injury. Head pain can be debilitating, like with migraines that make you nauseous or unable to handle bright lights or loud noises. Your brain is protected by the skull, a hard bone structure, and a layer of fluid to allow the brain some ability to flex with the body’s natural movements. However, when you’re injured in a car accident or from a slip and fall, you might hit your head or your brain might get shaken around, which can lead to painful headaches and other symptoms. Any swelling on the brain can reduce blood and oxygen to the area.

What Causes a Head Injury

The most common ways to experience a head injury are from a blow to the head or from shaking. While head injuries from shaking are more common in children, it is still possible for anyone to experience a head injury from a situation where violent shaking occurs. Head injury from a blow to the head often happens with these types of events:

  • Car accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Sports Injuries

Sometimes what seemed like a slight bump to the head in the moment can end up causing pain and discomfort and you can’t find relief. A common example is when playing a fun game of sports, your adrenaline is pumping and you might not realize how much head pain you have until hours afterward. It doesn’t take a concussion to start experiencing severe headaches and it is better to play it safe and get checked out by a doctor. In the event of a very serious brain injury, especially where you lose consciousness for a significant amount of time, you may want to seek emergency care. Any damage to your neck and back that occurs at the time of the injury because any significant movement afterward could make the injuries worse.

Symptoms of a Head Injury

The brain is the communication hub for the rest of the body, so if it is affected by an injury then it can lead to physical, cognitive symptoms and even behavioral and emotional symptoms, which can affect your ability to go about your normal daily routines.

Physical Symptoms

  • Headaches that may gradually worsen over time or come and go
  • Lightheadedness or feeling like you might faint
  • Spinning sensation or feeling physically unstable
  • Loss of balance or trouble with coordination
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Drowsiness or extreme fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Other Symptoms

  • Confusion or feeling disoriented directly after or in the hours and days after the injury
  • Memory loss, especially related to how the accident or injury occurred
  • Mood changes, like irritability or depression

Not all symptoms must be present to diagnose a head injury. Each person may experience a different combination of symptoms because of how their body reacted to trauma and the severity of the head injury. Some more mild head injuries may first present as serious headache or migraines that won’t go away. It helps to see a doctor who specializes in traumatic brain injuries to make sure there isn’t anything more serious going on.

Evaluating and Diagnosing a Head Injury

There are several evaluations common for assessing a head injury to help determine your mental status and neurological functioning. Because memory loss is common with some head injuries, it can be helpful to have another person who was present at the time of injury to help fill in the details. Your doctor will want to know how the head injury occurred and how you responded afterward, and whether or not you lost consciousness for any amount of time.

A doctor will likely incorporate diagnostic imaging tests to help diagnose a head injury. X-rays help your doctor to view any damage to bones, like the skull and spine. A CT scan or MRI will also provide your doctor with more detailed images of how your brain, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues may have been affected. A doctor will also look for any evidence of bleeding, especially near the brain, and for any indications of brain swelling.

Another tool for diagnosis will likely be a neurological exam to assess your nerve function and the brain’s ability to effectively send signals to the rest of your body. This can include assessments of your eye movement, muscle control and strength, and various sensations. An EEG (electroencephalogram) is a type of test that shows your brain activity and the electrical impulses inside your body. An abnormal EEG can help your doctor determine what type of problem you are experiencing in brain activity and other neurological conditions.

Diagnostics

MRI

Your head pain needs to be properly diagnosed, beginning with an MRI to assess if there is anything damaged or out of the ordinary about the soft tissue of the head, neck, and sinus areas.

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CT Scan

Our Snellville Chiropractors always get to the bottom of every injury, which is why we utilize every technique available to fully view your trauma. The CT scan is brought into the care plan to add a three-dimensional view to the diagnostic process.

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AICA Approach to Head Injury Treatment

The team of traumatic brain injury specialists at AICA can diagnose your head injury and develop a treatment plan that will involve easing your pain and addressing your symptoms. Migraines are a common symptom that can last for days or even weeks after a significant head injury, and this type of extreme headache can be debilitating and make you unable to complete once normal tasks. Without proper treatment and care, migraines can keep you from spending time with your family, going to work, and even moving from standing to sitting without extreme pain, nausea, and dizziness.

Neurologists at AICA Orthopedics in Snellville specialize in injuries to the brain and nervous system and have significant experience in helping migraine sufferers find the root causes and ways better manage and alleviate the pain. In fact, even if you haven’t experienced a head injury, you can still have debilitating types of headaches or migraines. A neurologist will provide an initial consultation to learn more about your symptoms and determine the best diagnosis and outcome for you.

It can take time to heal from a head injury because of how important your brain is to the rest of your body. You will need to rest, only engage in light activities, and even take time off from work or strenuous obligations until you start to experience true relief from your headaches or migraines. Any time you suffer a traumatic brain injury, it is important to talk with your doctor before resuming any high intensity, high impact activities. While it may take weeks or even months to fully recover from a head injury, you want to make sure your body is able to fully heal and that you regain your strength going forward.