3 Types of Medical Treatment You May Need After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Our brains are incredibly complex and unique. No two brains are exactly alike – that goes for brain injuries, too. After suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you’ll need a personalized treatment plan to help you recover and manage your symptoms. Depending on the type of injury, your treatment options may involve medication, surgery, or rehabilitative care.

Generally, the more severe a TBI, the more medical intervention you’ll need. Unfortunately, even “mild” injuries could have serious consequences when it comes to the brain. The more catastrophic the damage, the more an injury is likely to impact your life – by disrupting your daily routine or even leaving you with lifelong disabilities.

Because the consequences of a TBI are so dire, it’s important to get checked out right away after an accident or fall where you may have suffered a head injury, even if you feel “fine.” According to some studies, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, made even more dangerous by the fact that symptoms may be hard to detect or delayed onset.

Medical treatment for TBI usually comes with a significant cost, even if you’re covered by health insurance. You may also find yourself unable to work temporarily or permanently in the aftermath of a TBI. These types of injuries often carry a heavy emotional toll, too. But you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of a TBI on your own. You may have legal options, as well.

If someone else caused your TBI because they acted negligently or recklessly – for example, a driver who ran a red light or a construction company that failed to follow safety standards – then you can hold them legally responsible for any losses related to your injuries. That means they pay for your medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and lost income.

1. Can TBI Be Treated with Medication?

A number of medications are used by doctors to treat TBI symptoms and neuroinflammation:

  • Diuretics to drain excess fluid that might put pressure on the brain
    • Medications to treat high blood pressure or hypertension that could affect the brain
  • Anticoagulants to reduce the risk of blood clots and improve blood flow in the brain
    • Anti-convulsants to prevent seizures and the additional harm that they cause
    • Analgesics and pain relievers to reduce discomfort while in recovery
  • Muscle relaxants to relieve constricted or spasming muscles
  • Antidepressants to lessen the effects of depression or mood swings
  • Coma-inducing medications to temporarily reduce the brain’s need for oxygen

Because the symptoms of TBI can vary so much, your treatment plan may involve entirely different medications compared to another TBI patient. Your doctor will also help you manage any side effects and help you avoid potentially harmful drug interactions.

2. Surgery for Treatment of TBI

Some traumatic brain injuries need immediate and acute treatment like surgery to keep the brain from suffering additional damage, usually from tissue swelling, blood clots, or excess fluid. The first few hours and days after a victim suffers a traumatic brain injury are absolutely critical in catching symptoms before they lead to potentially worse outcomes.

Surgery becomes necessary to treat these cases of TBI, especially if the injury involves:

  • Open head injuries where a foreign object has pierced the brain
  • Hematomas or blood clots caused by brain bleeds that put pressure on the brain
  • Repairing skull fractures or removing pieces of skull from brain tissue
  • Releasing intracranial pressure (ICP) to reduce additional damage from swelling

While you recover, your doctor may continuously monitor your ICP to make sure you don’t develop these types of delayed symptoms that require emergency intervention.

3. Long-Term Rehabilitative Care for TBI

While medications and surgery can help minimize brain damage and treat TBI symptoms, severe traumatic brain injuries will usually require some kind of long-term rehabilitative care. You may start and continue your rehabilitative therapy at the hospital, an inpatient facility, an outpatient service center, or a residential treatment facility.

TBI survivors can expect to see different specialists depending on which parts of their brain were damaged. Survivors of severe injuries may have to relearn basic skills like walking, talking, or writing. Family members can also take steps to support their loved one’s recovery.

  • A physiatrist specializes in helping patients with physical or cognitive disabilities and can help manage your entire rehabilitative process
  • A physical therapist can help with mobility, balance, movement, and walking
  • A neuropsychologist can help evaluate your cognitive performance, teach you coping strategies, and provide psychotherapy for your mental well-being
  • A psychiatrist can help you manage your emotional health and prescribe medications to help with difficulties regulating your mood or anxiety
  • An occupational therapist to help relearn or improve your everyday activities or skills
  • A speech or language therapist to help with communication issues
  • A vocational counselor to evaluate your readiness for return to work and provide resources for dealing with workplaces challenges
  • A rehabilitative nurse to help care for you after you’ve been discharged
  • A TBI nurse specialist can help coordinate and educate you on the care you need
  • A recreational therapist can help you reclaim access to leisure activities

While this may seem like a lot to handle, you can get the help of a social worker or case manager to guide you through decisions about your healthcare plan, establish communication between your entire healthcare team, and support you through the process.

It’s critical to get support immediately after a traumatic brain injury. Unlike other types of injuries that are usually obvious right away and heal over time, brain injuries can actually be hard to detect at first and get worse over time. The longer you wait to get treatment after an accident or fall, the harder it will be to connect your symptoms to the incident that caused your injuries.

In the state of California, if someone else caused your TBI, you can hold that person legally responsible for the consequences – that includes paying for your medical bills. However, you only have 2 years to file a legal claim to get compensation. After that, you lose your chance.

At Sepulveda Law, we’ve helped countless clients go through the TBI recovery process and get the financial compensation they deserve. Contact us now for your free case consultation.