A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) disrupts the brain’s normal function. This can be caused by a bump or jolt to the head – all common occurrences after a car accident. Not all hits to the head result in TBI. Still, when it does occur, victims can experience mild to severe consequences, including changes in a mental consciousness, long periods of unconsciousness, and significant problems with thinking and behavior following the incident.
Headaches, dizziness, confusion, ringing in the ears, memory impairment, blurred vision, and behavioral changes are a few of the most common mild symptoms following a traumatic brain injury. If your damage is more severe, you may experience slurred speech, repeated vomiting or nausea, weakness in the arms and legs, and problems with thinking and learning.
TBI is very serious and can even result in fatal outcomes. It is essential for those experiencing any TBI symptoms following an accident to seek medical attention right away to avoid worsening symptoms. The good news is, there are a variety of treatment options for those who have succumbed to traumatic brain injury.
Treatment for Mild TBI Injury:
The most common treatment for mild traumatic brain injuries is to get plenty of rest. However, your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication to ease any discomfort during the recovery process and request follow-up appointments. Even though the injury is mild, it is still vital for a person with TBI to be monitored at home for any worsening or new symptoms.
Treatment for Severe TBI Injury:
A few different treatment options may be necessary for a safe recovery if a passenger has suffered from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury following an auto accident.
People who have succumbed to moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries are at a higher risk of having seizures. Doctors may recommend anti-seizure medication during the first week of the injury. This type of medication will ensure that the patient does not fall victim to additional brain damage caused by potential seizures. After the first week has passed, this type of medication will only be continued if episodes have occurred.
Emergency surgery may be necessary after the accident if a passenger is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Surgery can be performed to address various problems, such as removing clotted blood, repairing skull fractures, reducing bleeding in the brain, and opening a window into the skull to relieve pressure.
The majority of people who are suffering from a significant brain injury will need rehabilitation. For severe cases, victims may even need to relearn how to walk or talk. The main goal of this type of rehab is so that patients will be able to resume their daily activities normally. This type of therapy usually begins in the hospital and will likely continue in an outside facility. There are several specialists that a doctor may recommend for rehabilitation that include neurologists, physiatrists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, recreational therapists, and more.
How Neurologists Help Accident Victims Recover From Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Most accident victims seek immediate treatment for visible injuries, including cuts and bone breaks. However, many of them ignore hidden neurological problems such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Since vehicle accidents can cause whiplash and head trauma, seeing a neurologist after any car accident is crucial. Hidden traumatic brain injury can lead to further complications, including permanent disability, as seen in victims of gunshot wounds.
If you landed here by searching for an “auto accident neurologist near me,” read on to learn how neurologists help accident victims recover from TBIs.
What Does a Neurologist Do?
When you visit a neurologist in NYC, you’re getting the services of a medical professional trained to diagnose and treat injuries affecting the nervous system, which consists of the brain, nerves, and spinal cord.
In a car accident, the brain may suffer damage or injury due to the strong and uncontrolled movement of the body or direct head trauma, leading to a TBI. Unfortunately, the signs of TBIs may remain hidden for a long time after the accident. This is why it’s important to visit a neurologist.
Neurologists who regularly treat accident victims excel at diagnosing and treating injuries to the brain and the nervous system, even when the injuries are not obvious. They can spot things general physicians might miss in their diagnosis.
You should visit a neurologist as soon as possible following a car accident. Even after your general physician has cleared you, it’s in your best interest to seek the opinion of a neurologist regarding the state of your nervous system.
If you also receive a clean bill of health from the neurologist, your mental recovery from the accident should be relatively smooth. However, if the doctor spots the signs of a TBI or post-traumatic injury, you should proceed with treatment as soon as possible.
Neurologists may diagnose the following types of traumatic brain injury:
Some of the signs of mild TBI include:
- Lost consciousness
- Blurry vision
- Extreme changes to one’s sleeping pattern
Moderate or Severe TBI
In addition to the symptoms of mild TBI above, accident victims suffering moderate or severe damage to the brain may experience the following:
- Loss of motor skills
- Dilated pupils
- Fluid leaks from the nose or ears
- Difficulty waking
- General weakness
How Do Neurologists Diagnose Traumatic Brian Injuries?
Neurologists diagnose TBI in several ways:
Using the Glasgow Coma Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale is a 15-point test showing the immediate severity of a brain injury. The test checks an individual’s ability to move their limbs and eyes and follow directions. It also checks for the coherence of speech. Although a high score doesn’t fully rule out TBI, it likely indicates a less severe injury.
Asking Questions About Changes to the Body Following a Car Accident
The neurologist will ask several questions during diagnosis. Your answers will help dictate further diagnostic steps. Example questions include the following:
- Did you hit your head anywhere during the car accident?
- Was your body whipped around severely?
- Which part of the head did you hit?
- Did you lose consciousness?
- How long were you unconscious?
- Have you noticed any changes in your alertness, coordination, or speaking?
Requesting and Reviewing Imaging Tests
Neurologists rely on two major imaging tests in their diagnosis:
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
A CT scan is a special type of X-ray that can create a detailed view of the brain, among other parts of the body. The scan can show fractures, blood clots, swelling and bruising in the brain tissue, and bleeding in the brain. This imaging test is usually the first one doctors order for victims of car accidents.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI scans combine magnets and radio waves to create a thorough image of the brain. Doctors use this test for confirmation in some cases, especially for cases of delayed traumatic brain injuries.
How Do Neurologists Treat Traumatic Brain Injury for Victims of Car Accidents?
The treatment procedure for TBI depends on the severity of the condition.
Treatment for Mild TBI
Neurologists generally recommend rest and over-the-counter pain medication to treat mild TBI. However, you may need close monitoring at home in the weeks following the accident and reporting your injury. You’ll also need to keep up with regular doctor appointments.
You must avoid activities requiring physical exertion or thinking for the first few days to not worsen your condition. The doctor will tell you when it’s safe to resume your regular routine.
Treatment for Moderate or Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Neurologists will treat moderate or severe TBI via:
If you report to a neurologist immediately after the accident, the doctor will ensure you have enough oxygen, a steady blood supply, and stable blood pressure. They will also focus on preventing further injury to your head.
If you have further injuries that need addressing, other medical professionals will take care of them. They will also help prevent secondary damage that may follow a traumatic injury to the brain.
Use of Medications
Your neurologist may recommend a range of medications immediately after you suffer a TBI. These include the following:
- Anti-seizure drugs. Seizures are likely in the first week after you suffer a TBI. These medications help prevent them. Other anti-seizure medications are only necessary if seizures occur.
- Coma-inducing medication. An unconscious brain doesn’t need much oxygen to function. Doctors may administer coma-inducing medication if blood vessels in the brain cannot supply the right amount of oxygen and nutrients.
- Diuretics. These drugs help reduce the fluid in tissues to relieve pressure in and around the brain.
Depending on the level of damage to the brain tissues, the neurologist may recommend emergency surgery to stop further damage to the brain. You’ll need to undergo surgery if the neurologist’s diagnosis shows the following:
- Presence of hematomas. These are blood clots in the brain. Neurosurgeons remove them to relieve pressure on the brain and prevent further brain tissue damage.
- Skull fractures. Neurologists recommend surgery after a skull fracture to fix the fracture and remove bone fragments in the brain.
- Bleeding inside the brain. Traumatic brain injuries may cause bleeding inside the brain, and each instance will require surgery to treat.
- Intracranial pressure. Neurosurgeons may use surgery to create a window in the skull and relieve pressure by draining the accumulated cerebrospinal fluid. They may also create a window in the skull, leaving more room for swollen tissues.
Post-TBI Treatment Rehabilitation
People with severe traumatic brain injury may require rehabilitation to relearn basic skills like talking and walking. The neurologist will work with other key stakeholders in the healthcare sector during this period.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Quickly Can I Expect To Recover From a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Your recovery speed will depend largely on the injury’s severity. Many people with mild TBIs recover fully within three months. For moderate to severe TBIs, the recovery timeline varies significantly from one individual to the other.
Older adults may also take longer to recover overall.
Is Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Reversible?
Severe traumatic brain injury is reversible. The prognosis depends on the type of injuries and approach to treatment, among other factors. Research shows that 40% of all survivors of severe closed-head injuries will make a sound recovery.
However, remember that “sound recovery” may not always mean a full return to one’s pre-accident condition, so be prepared for the possibility that certain minor effects may linger indefinitely.
How Can I Prevent a Traumatic Brain Injury During a Car Accident?
You can prevent a traumatic brain injury during a car accident by always wearing your seatbelt and ensuring you don’t drive intoxicated or ride in a car with an intoxicated driver. These tips won’t eliminate the risk of TBI, but they will improve your chances of avoiding one.
Will I Need Someone To Help Me Around the House After a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury?
Most patients recovering from severe TBIs will need help to get through their daily activities. Only 11% of recovering patients are independent. Others will likely need full- or part-time help. Your doctor will recommend the right approach.
End Your Search for a Trustworthy Auto Accident Neurologist
Car accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. If you’ve been in an accident, it’s vital to see a neurologist as soon as possible to rule out a TBI or to begin your recovery process.
At Medical Clinics of New York City, our neurologists have extensive experience helping accident victims recover from TBIs.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available. Contact us today to book an appointment.
TBIs can also occur at work. Here are signs you should see a neurologist after a work-related injury.
Schedule an Appointment with Medical Clinics of New York City
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can lead to several health-threatening conditions that require professional medical care and treatment. Even if you do not think you are injured, it is essential not to risk. Seeing a no-fault doctor experienced in treating auto accident injuries will help you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
At Medical Clinics of New York City, we offer the best treatment for all types of neurological conditions In New York, including TBI treatment after car accidents. If you sustain injuries from an auto accident, your New York no-fault insurance should cover doctor consultation and treatment fees. If you have been in a car accident and seek professional medical care, we encourage you to contact our offices to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.