What Is Neuro Trauma ?
Neurotrauma is a head or spine injury caused by a sudden injury. It includes concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), skull fractures, spinal column fractures, and spinal cord injuries (SCI).
Head trauma is any injury to your head, from a minor bump on the skull to serious brain trauma. It usually comes from getting hit on the head or skull and can happen if you fall, if there’s a sudden acceleration-deceleration (as in a motor vehicle accident or child abuse) or assault, or if you’re hit by a projectile like a bullet. Head trauma can cause your brain cells to malfunction.
The extent of the injury and how long it lasts depends on how badly you were hurt.
You can also have an injury to your spinal column (cervical, thoracic, or lumbosacral spine) or spinal cord due to a fall, car accident, collisions with a moving object (such as a car), or an assault. As with head injuries, there are many types of spine trauma, which vary in severity. Depending on what happened, you might become weak or paralyzed.
Neuro Trauma or Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later. Such as,
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Problems with speech
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
Neuro trauma is usually caused by a blow or other traumatic injury to the head or body. The degree of damage can depend on several factors, including the nature of the injury and the force of impact.
Common events causing neuro trauma include the following:
- Falls from bed or a ladder, down stairs, in the bath, and other falls are the most common cause of neuro trauma.
- Vehicle-related collisions.Collisions involving cars, motorcycles or bicycles and pedestrians involved in such accidents are a common cause of neuro trauma.
- Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse and other assaults are common causes.
- Sports injuries.Neuro trauma may be caused by injuries from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme sports. These are particularly common in youth.
- Explosive blasts and other combat injuries.Explosive blasts are a common cause of neuro trauma in active-duty military personnel.
Neurotrauma can occur by itself, or together with other bodily injury. Most people who experience serious injury to their head or spine come to the hospital through the emergency room (ER). When you come to our ER, we immediately evaluate you for head or spine injury, often utilizing a brain scan to give us a clear view of your injuries. Typically, we use a computed tomography (called CT or CAT) scan of the head or spine or we may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instead.
- Glasgow Coma Scale: This 15-point test helps doctor or other emergency medical personnel assess the initial severity of a brain injury by checking a person’s ability to follow directions and move their eyes and limbs. The coherence of speech also provides important clues.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan : This test is usually the first performed in an emergency room for a suspected neuro trauma. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed view of the brain. A CT scan can quickly visualize fractures and uncover evidence of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), blood clots (hematomas), bruised brain tissue (contusions), and brain tissue swelling.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of the brain. This test may be used after the person’s condition stabilizes, or if symptoms don’t improve soon after the injury.
The way we treat head and spine injuries depends on several factors, including the type of injury and how serious it is. Mild injuries may just require careful observation. More severe trauma may call for surgery. Certain types of injuries need surgery, even if they are not very severe.
- Medications: Medications to limit secondary damage to the brain immediately after an injury may include:
- Anti-seizure drugs: People who’ve had a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury are at risk of having seizures during the first week after their injury.
- Coma-inducing drugs: Doctors sometimes use drugs to put people into temporary comas because a comatose brain needs less oxygen to function.
- Diuretics. These drugs reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and increase urine output. Diuretics, given intravenously to people with traumatic brain injury, help reduce pressure inside the brain.
- Neuro Trauma Surgery: Emergency surgery may be needed to minimize additional damage to brain tissues. Surgery may be used to address the following problems:
- Removing clotted blood (hematomas): Bleeding outside or within the brain can result in a collection of clotted blood (hematoma) that puts pressure on the brain and damages brain tissue.
- Repairing skull fractures: Surgery may be needed to repair severe skull fractures or to remove pieces of skull in the brain.
- Bleeding in the brain: Head injuries that cause bleeding in the brain may need surgery to stop the bleeding.
- Opening a window in the skull: Surgery may be used to relieve pressure inside the skull by draining accumulated cerebrospinal fluid or creating a window in the skull that provides more room for swollen tissues.
Follow these tips to reduce the risk of brain injury:
- Seat belts and airbags.Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. A small child should always sit in the back seat of a car secured in a child safety seat or booster seat that is appropriate for his or her size and weight.
- Alcohol and drug use.Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.
- Wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, motorcycle, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle. Also wear appropriate head protection when playing baseball or contact sports, skiing, skating, snowboarding or riding a horse.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.Don’t drive, walk or cross the street while using your phone, tablet or any smart device. These distractions can lead to accidents or falls.