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  • Writer's pictureHolly Wild

Mild TBI (Concussion)


Condition Overview

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a force impacts the brain, such as through a direct hit, whiplash, or an explosion pressure wave. Mild TBI (mTBI), commonly known as a concussion, involves a brief loss of consciousness (less than 30 minutes), symptoms that last up to a day, and no abnormalities visible on brain imaging like a CT scan.

Common Causes

mTBI is the most prevalent type of brain injury, affecting over 2 million Americans each year.

Risk Factors

Preventing mTBI involves avoiding high-risk situations and implementing safety measures. Alcohol increases the risk of TBI by contributing to secondary injuries. Using seatbelts, car seats, and avoiding impaired or distracted driving can reduce transportation-related risks.

Preventing falls by removing obstacles and exercising caution on ice and uneven surfaces is crucial. Athletes should use proper safety equipment, including helmets, and follow safe techniques to minimize risks.

History and Symptoms

The initial symptoms of mTBI can include disorientation, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleep disturbances, and difficulty with memory and attention. Most symptoms resolve within days to weeks, but about 10% of individuals may experience prolonged symptoms lasting more than three months. Despite this, full recovery is expected.

Physical Exam

As your neurologist, I will conduct a comprehensive neurologic examination, assessing your strength, balance, memory, and vision, as well as the movement of your head and neck.

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing mTBI is based on clinical history and a physical examination. If there is concern for brain bleeding, a CT scan may be performed. Currently, there are no definitive lab tests for diagnosing mTBI.

Rehab Management

After an mTBI, it is essential to rest for 1-2 days before gradually resuming normal activities. Physiatrists, or PM&R physicians, specialize in brain injury rehabilitation and will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan may include medications and therapy sessions with physical, occupational, or vision therapists. The rehabilitation team may also include speech therapists, psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and social workers.

Additional Resources for Patients and Families

The CDC's HEADS UP campaign provides valuable information on sports-related mTBI and guidelines for returning to activity. Support from family, friends, coaches, teachers, and employers is vital during the recovery period. PM&R physicians can offer crucial information to ensure consistent support and care as you recover.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at NYPMD. We are here to support you every step of the way.

For More Information

1 (646) 351-8668

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