Trauma to the brain can lead to many types of symptoms and disorders.
Causes of Brain Trauma
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a result of “an external mechanical force”. When this occurs, the brain experiences various levels of dysfunction. The force could be a jolt, violent blow, or even “an object penetrating the skull”. The damage to the brain may be temporary or permanent. The most serious cases have bleeding, physical damage, torn tissues, and bruising. TBI could result in death.1 The two major types of TBI are referred to as “penetrating injuries” and “closed head injuries”, and the two types of brain damage are “primary” and “secondary”. Penetrating injuries may be a result of a bullet or other foreign object entering the brain. A blow to the head, such as from a car accident, may lead to a closed head injury. Primary brain damage refers to the immediate damage, such as bruising, clots, lacerations, nerve damage, and skull fracture. Secondary brain damage occurs over time, and the symptoms could consist of brain swelling, epilepsy, infection, fever, changes in blood pressure, anemia, and cardiac, lung, or nutritional changes.2
The initial physical problems of brain trauma can range from nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, to blurred vision, seizures, or tinnitus, as well as coordination and sensory problems. Patients may also have difficulty communicating and thinking. They can have a flat affect, meaning lack of emotion, or they may be overly emotional. They may have trouble with speaking clearly due to muscle issues, and the patients may also have trouble choosing words. The TBI patients can have memory issues, such as amnesia. They might have difficulty with concentration or completing tasks, and issues with impulsivity, planning, and problem-solving.3
Post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) may be a temporary result of TBI, such as a patient’s disorientation after the injury. It can last longer, making new, short-term memories, problematic. Retrograde amnesia refers to memories lost that were formed just before the injury. Anterograde amnesia refers to the trouble making new memories after the injury.4 There is a rare condition that can result from TBI called synesthesia. With synesthesia, patients’ senses “cross-talk”, such as if the patient can “taste words” or “see colors attached to…letters or numbers”.5 Another unusual disorder, hemispatial neglect, can leave a patient with “a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of space”. This means the patient cannot perceive the stimuli on one side of their body or environment.6
While there are many medical professionals who work together to treat TBI patients, there are also alternative and complementary healthcare therapies. Some patients may benefit from Healing Touch, Reiki, Reflexology, and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Aquatic therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT), and Neurobiofeedback are other options. Some patients might try acupuncture. Massage therapy is another treatment that can help TBI patients by increasing circulation, decreasing tension, relieving spasms, improving depression and anxiety, and stretching connective tissues.7 Chiropractic treatments have also benefitted some TBI patients, as noted in case studies.8, 9
Find out more about head trauma.