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What is the Difference Between a Concussion and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?


There are so many ways you can hurt your head. Whether you bump into a hard object or take a blow to the head, head injuries are painful and can take a long time to recover. The most common causes of concussions and traumatic brain injuries in the United States are car and bicycle accidents, sports injuries, violence, and falling. Traumatic brain injuries typically lead to one losing consciousness due to a blow to the head. A slightly less severe type of brain injury is a concussion, which can be healed within weeks to months. If you or a loved one believe they have a brain injury, it is important to know the distinction between traumatic brain injuries and concussions. Contact a Baltimore brain injury lawyer today.

Traumatic Brain Injuries:

Also known as TBIs, traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of physical trauma to the head. This type of brain injury is commonly seen after a severe car accident and a hard impact on the head. Those who have suffered a TBI typically lose consciousness for about thirty seconds. There may also be several delayed symptoms that occur hours or days after the trauma. These symptoms may include head pain, seizures, losing consciousness, vomiting, nausea, memory loss, a loss of coordination, dilated pupils, and slurred speech.

Diagnosing a traumatic brain injury can be difficult as each patient may present various and different symptoms than the next patient. If you believe you have suffered a TBI, go to the emergency room immediately. If untreated, a TBI can result in further complications and present a health concern in the future. Your doctor will most likely ask you where and how the injury occurred, and then ask that you participate in a physical exam. You may also be tested for language and memory problems as well. A tool that is used for patients who have suffered severe TBIs is called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale can allow the doctor to determine the seriousness and severity of the brain injury. Your doctor will evaluate how you respond to the following: Can you speak normally? Can you obey commands to move? Do you move abnormally? Are you confused or disoriented? If your doctor suspects that you have a TBI, you will most likely need to undergo further testing with the use of an MRI and CT scan. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers are here you help you in the result of a TBI.

Concussions:

Concussions are not as severe as traumatic brain injuries, but they still need medical attention and treatment. Sometimes, patients are unaware that they have suffered a concussion. You may bump your head and believe that it was no big deal, when in reality, you have just injured your brain. If your concussion presents worsening symptoms over time, you may have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. 

Concussions are not always easy to diagnose due to their unpredictable symptoms. Some symptoms of a concussion may include headaches, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, an inability to sleep, behavior changes, and seizures. 

The only way to treat a concussion is to allow your brain to rest. Continuing with physical activities is a bad idea if you have just been diagnosed with a concussion. Some less obvious activities that should not be performed when recovering from a concussion are texting, reading, playing video games, watching tv, and working on a computer. Over 40% of people who have a concussion or a traumatic brain injury are sensitive to light. If you continue to use electronics frequently after suffering a concussion or TBI, you are putting yourself at risk for a decreased quality of life. Light sensitivity may take weeks to months to go away. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure that future complications do not arise. 

The most common symptoms of light sensitivity include headaches, eye strain, eye pain, an inability to tolerate bright lights, and visual fatigue. There are a few ways to minimize light sensitivity after a head injury. You can undergo vestibular therapy, gaze stabilization exercises, flavonoids, gentle exercise, and protection of your eyes. 

The effects of a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can be permanent or long-lasting. Although recovery and rehabilitation are available to patients who have suffered serious head injuries, people with severe TBIs oftentimes face complications for the rest of their lives. Completing tasks that were previously a part of a patient’s daily routine can be exhausting and impossible after suffering a TBI. Someone who has suffered a severe TBI may also forget who people are and where they are going. A few common disabilities after suffering a severe TBI include vision problems, spasticity, difficulty thinking and remembering, difficulty with social relationships, difficulty carrying or moving objects, and problems walking. Typically, the life expectancy for someone with a severe TBI is about nine years shorter than the average life expectancy of a healthy human being.

 If you are emotionally struggling with the life changes that come with having a TBI, resources are available and it is important to seek help. Anxiety, depression, and drug usage are common among patients who have a hard time coping with their brain injury. Many patients also experience mood swings and long depressive episodes. Survivors of TBIs typically fall into poor habits and unhealthy routines like sleeping in late, taking naps, and surfing the web for hours. It is important to create a schedule and plan each day to maintain good mental and physical health. Therapy and group therapy sessions are very beneficial and can improve one’s mental state and quality of life. Do not be afraid to reach out to a therapist or group to receive the comfort and care you need. Contact our Baltimore personal injury lawyers today.