Traumatic brain injury is the third most common cause of death. Craniocerebral injuries most often occur post car accidents, but in some cases, extreme sports or aggressive actions by others are the cause of the tragedy.
Serious brain damage often becomes a turning point in the fate of a person and their loved ones, even if the doctors manage to save the patient’s life. About 50% of patients who received post-car accident injuries remain disabled for life and need regular courses of rehabilitation therapy.
Patients who have had TBI, and their relatives, do not always objectively assess the role of recovery time after a car accident, which should follow urgent medical measures in a hospital setting. Doctors regret that many ordinary people seriously believe that rehabilitation involves only teaching the patient to use a cane or crutches, or even just abstract rest after treatment in a hospital. The well-being of the patient and their chances of restoring health often depend on the quality and content of this stage of medical care.
Consequences of cranial post car accident injuries
Depending on the severity of the traumatic brain injury, its consequences range from mild to extremely severe. Neurologists like to repeat that the human brain is a very flexible organ, capable of sometimes recovering even from critical injuries. At the same time, making predictions about the speed and completeness of recovery even after moderate injuries is not an easy task because the consequences of injuries can make themselves felt a few weeks, months, and even years after the incident.
The most common consequences of injuries to the skull and brain are as follows:
- Partial or complete paralysis of the limbs on one or both sides.
- Loss of sensation in your legs, arms, or the skin on your torso.
- Chronic headaches.
- Loss of sight, hearing, ability to speak.
- Lack of the ability to breathe independently, swallow.
- Loss or weakening of control over the function of the pelvic organs (the patient cannot control the processes of urination and defecation).
- Development of post-traumatic epilepsy (convulsive seizures, in some cases accompanied by loss of consciousness).
- Tremors (tremors) in the limbs.
- Partial memory loss, impairment of attention, character changes, and other consequences associated with the higher nervous activity.
It is essential to understand that a particular patient will not necessarily have all the listed consequences of post-car accident injuries; it depends on which parts of the brain were affected and how severe the injury was. Some symptoms, such as paralysis of the limbs or breathing disorders, appear only in the early post-traumatic period, and then they pass safely. Others, for example, excruciating headaches, which at first glance appear to be a minor injury, can make themselves felt many years after (this is often noted in professional athletes).
Features of recovering patients with traumatic brain injury from car accident injuries
Unlike strokes, which in many patients develop according to a similar scenario, TBI implies a significant variety of options for the developing events. Depending on the mechanism of injury and its combination with other injuries of the body, the patient’s condition and prognosis are very different. In some cases, immediately after the incident, people fall into a coma for several days or weeks, which can anticipate the patient’s death or play the role of an energy-saving mode of restoring damaged brain functions.
Nevertheless, doctors note that in most cases, the patient’s condition after TBI improves over time. By the speed of the positive changes that occur, it is possible to assume how successful the prognosis will be. Therefore, it is essential to think about rehabilitation measures even before the patient is discharged from the neurological hospital, literally from the first days of treatment. Working with a psychologist, early motor activation, and even physical therapy can significantly increase the chances of returning to normal life without long-term disruption. On the contrary, seeking rehabilitation help too late does not always work. Already after a few months after TBI, it will be challenging to reverse some pathological changes.
Thus, every patient who has experienced a traumatic brain injury needs a recovery time after a car accident. For example, seriously ill patients with impaired stem functions of breathing and swallowing will require the help of rehabilitation therapists and neuropsychologists. The loss of speech functions makes working with a speech therapist the number one priority. With mental changes, chronic headaches, and problems with falling asleep, the primary role in recovering from car accident injuries will be played by a neuropsychologist, an occupational therapist.
Restoration of cognitive functions
Higher nervous activity is what makes a person human. Therefore, the restoration of memory, the ability to concentrate, gain new knowledge, count in mind, navigate in time and space, skills that are no less important for any person than maintaining mobility or control over the functions of internal organs. For a person after TBI to return to a regular life of work and hobbies, it is necessary that the neuropsychologist draw up a program of measures aimed at recovering from car accident injuries and higher mental functions. It is not uncommon for patients after severe brain damage to re-learn to read and write. Experts point out that it will be easier to master these skills if you have a competent approach and good motivation.
The return of speech skills
Like some stroke patients, TBI patients sometimes have trouble expressing their thoughts aloud. Disorders of this group are diverse; from problems with articulation to aphasia due to damage to the brain’s speech centers, the ability to pronounce single words or formulate coherent sentences suffers. For the treatment of such pathologies, the help of a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and massage therapist may be required, who will offer active methods of rehabilitation and treatment of post-car accident injuries.
Development of motor skills and elimination of problems of the musculoskeletal system
Suppose paralysis or paresis has become a consequence of the trauma that interferes with the patient’s independent movements. In that case, they will need the help of a rehabilitation doctor, massage therapist, and physiotherapist. The use of hardware and manual techniques helps to eliminate the pathological tone of the muscles of the limbs, improve balance, return coordination in the movements of the arms and legs, and get rid of tremors and weakness. A complex of such exercises allows the patient to restore their ability to walk independently and take self-care actions in a few weeks without the help of medical personnel or relatives. It is an effective way to recover post-car accident injuries.
Elimination of pain syndrome
Sometimes TBI for many years reminds people of itself with a lingering headache; physiotherapy will help to cope with this. Techniques such as cryotherapy, magnetotherapy, massage, and others aim to eliminate discomfort and, in most cases, in the long term, are more effective than pain medications.
Correction of the psychological state
Restoring basic functions is not all that is needed for a fulfilling life. A brain injury can significantly change a person’s character, making them withdrawn, irritable, aggressive, or lethargic. Working with a psychologist individually and in groups and art therapy for acquiring new hobbies will help adapt the patient to new living conditions.
This section of rehabilitology is the restoration of self-service abilities and labor and treatment of post-car accident injuries. Often, after an injury, the patient needs to re-equip their own home or car, equipping them with special devices that facilitate the performance of regular everyday activities. Occupational therapists use simulators or even reproduce a typical living and working environment in special training rooms and apartments to determine a person’s true capabilities for independent actions. This approach allows you to practice all-important skills under the supervision of a specialist.
Many TBI survivors return safely to active life through working with specialists in restorative medicine. Finding a good rehabilitation clinic immediately after a tragic accident is the task of relatives and friends who, together with the patient, are interested in their recovery. This approach will allow everyone faced with a disaster to minimize the negative consequences of traumatic brain injury.