Is TBI Permanent?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any sudden injury to the brain. A TBI can result from a mild concussion sustained in an athletic event or a debilitating, violent blow to the head. While concussions serve as the most common type of TBI, moderate to severe TBIs can have lifelong effects.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

It’s impossible to tell the severity of a TBI without medical intervention. While some TBI symptoms appear immediately, others may take days or even weeks. Common symptoms of a mild TBI include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Neck pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Temporary loss of consciousness

These symptoms are temporary, and patients should recover fully within a few days.

Patients who sustain a moderate to severe TBI may have all of the above symptoms, in addition to:

  • Vomiting or lasting nausea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Lasting headaches
  • Struggles waking up, walking, remembering words
  • Fluid drainage from nose and ears
  • Seizures

Anyone who experiences a blow to the head needs to seek medical care immediately. Severe symptoms warrant a 911 call or a trip directly to the emergency room.

Diagnosing a TBI

When diagnosing a TBI, a physician performs a neurological exam, asking the patient about their injury and symptoms. The doctor will also test physical and mental reflexes and determine whether other tests are necessary.

If the patient needs additional testing, the physician may order an X-Ray to identify a skull fracture. Other tests to determine a TBI’s severity include computerized tomography (CT) scans to see if the brain is bleeding or bruised and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to locate subtle changes in the brain’s structure or function.

Long-Lasting TBI effects

Concussions are the most common type of TBI, and most people who sustain a concussion recover entirely within a couple of weeks. However, a few concussion patients and those who sustain a moderate or severe TBI may deal with lifelong effects.

Even patients who appear to recover fully could have long-term symptoms that never resolve.

Long-lasting effects of TBIs can include:

  • Permanent physical disabilities
  • Permanent mental disabilities
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Sensory and perceptual issues
  • Social-Emotional or behavioral issues
  • Seizures
  • Chronic pain

Patients who sustain moderate to severe TBIs may feel the effects in every part of their lives. After a life changing TBI, patients may need rehabilitation therapies to improve their quality of life.

The therapies that benefit a TBI patient the most depend on the nature and location of their injury. For instance, a patient whose speech suffered after a TBI may benefit from speech therapy.

Rehabilitative therapies are currently the best treatment options for those who suffer long-lasting effects from a TBI, allowing them to regain the ability to perform daily activities. Patients are also exploring options with regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy. This alternative therapy has shown promising healing outcomes for those with TBI.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for TBI, also known as brain stem cell therapy. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.