Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion
At Frazier’s NeuroRehab Program, our skilled staff is trained to identify and treat impairments that may persist following a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Although these symptoms may appear to be “mild” to the outside observer, their impact on the daily functioning of the injured person can be much greater. The therapists at the NeuroRehab Program understand this and can help you identify functional problem areas and implement treatment to assist in maximum recovery and independence at home, in the community, and in work or school environments.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)1 and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine define MTBI as a physiological disruption of brain function caused by trauma, resulting in some or all of the following:
- Loss of consciousness for any period of time
- Any memory loss of events immediately before or after the incident
- Any alteration in mental state at the time of the incident
- Neurological deficiencies that may subside or persist but do not exceed:
- Losing consciousness for 30 minutes or less
- An initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13 to15 after 30 minutes
- Post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), a period of memory loss and disorientation following a traumatic brain injury, that lasts 24 hours or less
Concussion is the most common type of brain injury and is often classified as a MTBI. Concussions/MTBI may occur as the result of an impact, injury or fall of any kind that involves a blow to the head (i.e. a fall, fight, work-related injury, sports-related injury, etc.) and can also occur as the result of whiplash in an auto accident. Some concussions resolve within days or weeks and do not have lasting symptoms that require treatment, but others can have lasting effects that warrant medical attention.
BIAA reports that symptoms of a concussion may include1:
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Lack of awareness of surroundings
- Nausea with or without memory dysfunction
- Persistent low grade headache
- Poor attention and concentration
- Memory problems
- Takes longer to get things done or complete assignments
- Problems organizing thoughts or words, misunderstands things
- Excessive fatigue or easy to fatigue
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Intolerance of bright light or difficulty focusing vision
- Intolerance of loud noises
- Ringing in the ears
- Anxiety and depressed mood
- Irritability and low frustration tolerance
These symptoms are common to a variety of illnesses and experiences, making it difficult to confirm a diagnosis. It is important to note that CT scans and MRIs of persons with MTBI are often reported to be normal. The types of changes that occur in the brain during this type of injury are often unable to be detected by these tools, so even people who seek medical attention in an emergency room following a concussion may not be diagnosed right away. Often MTBI is characterized by a feeling that something is just not right, even though others say you seem fine and should be over it by now. If these symptoms persist over time, it is likely that an evaluation at the NeuroRehab Program will be beneficial to you and your recovery.
No tools or technology can fully predict the impact of a brain injury. Only in working with a team of qualified professionals can you identify deficits and begin working to restore function.
1 Frey W & Savage RC. Journey Toward Understanding: Concussion and Mild Brain Injury. The Road to Rehabilitation Series. Brain Injury Association of America, 2001; 8.