March is here, and that means it is officially National Brain Injury Awareness Month. In an effort to help spread the word about traumatic brain injuries and how we can prevent them, we compiled some facts and figures in today’s blog. We hope you enjoy, and please help spread the word!
Traumatic Head Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are much more common than you may think. According to the statistics, more than 5 million Americans are living with disabilities that are a direct result of head trauma. That number will only continue to rise, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that roughly 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury each year.
Traumatic brain injury accounts for roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in America each year. Some of these deaths are nearly impossible to prevent, but in almost all instances there are some safety steps a person could have taken to give themselves a better chance of survival or injury prevention in the event of an accident. For example, TBI mitigation techniques include:
- Always wearing your seat belt.
- Helmets use while biking, rollerblading, ice skating, etc.
- Using handrails when going up or down stairs.
- Using proper athletic techniques (Don’t lead with your head).
- Using baby gates to block off stairs from young children.
- Using safety gear and have a friend spot your ladder when climbing.
Those are just a few things you can do, and although we can’t cover every possible scenario where you may hit your head, make sure you think about ways you can protect your head when trauma is possible.
Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries
Since every traumatic brain injury affects different parts of the brain and causes different symptoms, there is no standard treatment technique for every head injury. However, there is one thing you should always do when someone suffers a severe head injury, and that’s get them to a medical professional. If your child is having difficulty concentrating after bumping their head during a soccer game or you went unconscious after falling off a ladder, the single best thing you can do is to get to a neurologist.
They’ll be able to conduct a physical exam, review your symptoms and order any necessary imaging tests to reveal exactly what’s going on in your brain. By looking at where swelling is occurring and how blood is flowing to the brain, your neurosurgeon will be able to diagnose your issue, advise you of any potential problems, and set up a treatment plan to get you back to normal as quickly as possible.
The biggest thing with TBIs is that their symptoms can linger for months and years, and if you never let your brain heal, you might develop chronic problems, like blurred vision or headaches. When we break a bone, we cast it and let it heal. When we injure our heads, we often just try to power through any discomfort, but we need to take time to let our brains heal. Do not add to the list of Americans living with a disability friom a TBI because you ignored the warning signs. Be proactive and have the problem cared for by a medical professional. If you’ve suffered a head injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Chang and the team of specialists at Midwest Spine and Brain Institute.