The effects of a traumatic brain injury vary depending on how serious your injury is:
The Glasgow Coma Scale is a 15-point screening that helps your medical team assess the severity of your injury. It provides an objective way to check a person’s consciousness.
After a head injury, your doctor may recommend either a CT scan or MRI, depending on the seriousness of your condition. CT scans are typically used in emergency cases and will show any skull fractures, bleeding, bruising, swelling or blood clots. MRIs are used in non-emergency situations or after your condition has stabilized. Doctors may also check for swelling by assessing pressure in your skull.
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Mild brain injuries are typically treated with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers to ease your headaches. Friends or family members should check on you to make sure your symptoms are not getting worse. Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe to get back to your normal activities.
Moderate and severe brain injuries usually require intensive care. Your doctors will monitor you and may prescribe medications to limit additional brain damage.
If you have severe brain damage, you could need emergency surgery. It can take time to fully heal from these types of brain injuries, but brain rehabilitation therapy may help limit long-term symptoms.