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Traumatic Brain Injury

While the body is made up of a complex set of systems and organs, the brain may be the most important. This one organ serves as the control center for all other parts of the body- breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and everything else needed to keep you alive and healthy relies on the brain. Since the brain is so important, the body naturally has structures to protect it, like the skull and the fluid surrounding the brain, which helps absorb any impact that could potentially be dangerous. However, many circumstances still leave the brain subject to a potential traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury is any disruption to normal brain function that occurs as a result of a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or even a penetrative injury. Though the name sounds serious, traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to life-threatening. The most common form is a concussion. This occurs when the head makes a sharp impact with a hard surface, like a window among other car accident injuries. The same result is possible if the body jolts and the brain moves suddenly, hitting against the skull forcefully.

Concussions often occur as a result of contact sports, car accidents, or falls, though they can happen in a variety of situations. While this is an easy injury to sustain and it may seem minor, concussions should always be taken seriously as they can severely impact brain function. Damage from a blow to the head can have effects that are cognitive, physical, emotional, or even behavioral in nature, all of which can have a negative impact on quality of life. If you experience any blow to the head or exhibit concussion symptoms, it is important to visit a qualified neurologist with AICA Atlanta as soon as possible to rule out any serious brain damage.

Many people do not think the blow to their head was strong enough to cause a concussion, but it can be surprising how just the right angle can lead to issues. Even if you do not suspect a concussion, any head pain including frequent or severe headaches that don’t go away is a good reason to schedule a consultation with an experienced neurology team. Our doctors will help you identify the root cause of your symptoms and identify the proper treatment path to help you find relief.

Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussion symptoms can be tricky, as they may not be obvious right after the injury happens. It can be hours or even days before you start to notice that something feels off. As soon as you hit your head or experience an injury, you should seek treatment, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. If you do begin to notice anything has changed, concussion protocol is to closely monitor symptoms for 24 hours, with someone else around to help.

Common symptoms of traumatic brain injuries include headaches, neck pain, pressure in the head, sensitivity to light or sound, balance issues, blurred vision, nausea, drowsiness, confusion, and troubles with memory or concentration. A severe concussion can cause you to lose consciousness for a period of time.

Beyond frequent headaches, many people will suffer migraines as a result of a prolonged or untreated head injury. Migraines can be an extremely debilitating form of headache, where the pain is intense and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some people are left unable to perform normal activities. These episodes can occur just a few times a year or even several times a month and can impede sufferers’ ability to work, care for families, or enjoy life as they may have before.

When you visit AICA Atlanta with symptoms of a concussion, proper imaging and exams can be performed to diagnose the nature and severity of your head injury. The earlier this is done, the more easily your treatment can be developed without the risk of worsening problems.

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

A CT scan for the back is similar to an X-Ray but takes several images and combines them together for a more comprehensive, in-depth look inside your head to diagnose specific head pain.

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What Happens When You Visit a Specialist for a Head Injury

After a traumatic brain injury, neurologists are the best resource to investigate headaches and related symptoms in order to determine the root cause. Neurologists specialize in the brain and the body’s nerves, and how they work together. At your first visit, they will take an oral medical history in addition to performing a physical evaluation. You will likely be asked questions about your injury along with performing simple tasks to test balance, strength, reflexes, sensation, and memory. They will also likely use a number of diagnostic tools to help better understand your condition.

An EEG is a diagnostic tool that measures the activity that occurs when your brain cells communicate using electrical impulses to identify any disruptions to that activity. This is often used to rule out severe complications like hemorrhaging, bleeding, or swelling in the brain, especially when there was an accident involved. If none of these problems are apparent, other problems can be treated without the urgency these would bring.

The highly qualified neurologists at AICA Atlanta are up to date on the latest advances in concussion diagnosis and treatments, including the ability to assess and diagnose injuries based on diagnostic scans and imaging. A CAT scan or MRI may be the next step after an EEG in order to gain more information about your symptoms and potential causes.

With this information, your neurologist can create a treatment plan that is suited to your specific injury and goals for recovery. They will likely closely observe you during this treatment to ensure no serious issues occur after the fact.

Treating Your Head Injury

In a lot of cases, the best treatment for a head injury is simple: rest. Not only should you rest by spending a lot of time in bed, resting your eyes can be important too. You may be told to stay away from screens as much as possible. Most concussions heal on their own with time and proper observation- a testament to how well our bodies can heal themselves when treated well. But this process does take time and rely on time off, potentially including work, school, sports, or other physical activity. This can be weeks or months depending on the severity of your injury. Getting the green light from your neurologist will be crucial before returning to anything strenuous.

In cases that require more than simply rest, your neurologist at AICA Atlanta will not only be equipped to treat you in a variety of ways, but will also benefit from a network of specialists. AICA Atlanta has onsite chiropractors, orthopedists, physical therapists, and pain management specialists in addition to our expert neurologists. Onsite diagnostic imaging and skilled radiologists also make it a simple, one-stop location for your traumatic brain injury to be treated.

Your head pain may not mean you’ve suffered something as serious as a traumatic brain injury, but visiting a neurologist is always the best option. Whatever the source of your pain can be effectively addressed and treated when you visit AICA Atlanta and develop a long-term treatment plan for pain relief. Your brain should be treated by highly qualified experts and a network of specialists like the ones at AICA Atlanta. Call us today to schedule your first appointment and begin addressing the root cause of your head pain.