Traumatic brain injury can have profound physical effects on individuals, often altering their lives in significant ways. Recovery is possible, but people with TBI must understand the potential physical effects and their impact before moving forward.
Whether the injury results from a car accident, sports-related incident or a fall, the consequences can be long-lasting and life-altering.
Headaches and dizziness
A common physical symptom of TBI, headaches may range from mild to severe and can persist for weeks or months. Additionally, dizziness and a sense of imbalance may accompany the headaches, making it difficult for the affected person to perform everyday tasks with ease.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can result from an injury’s impact on the brain’s control over the body’s functions, and they may persist for an extended period. Coping with nausea and vomiting can be challenging and may require medication or lifestyle adjustments.
Many individuals with TBI experience sensory impairments, affecting their ability to see, hear or touch. Sensory deficits can be temporary or permanent, depending on the extent of the brain injury. Vision problems, hearing loss and altered tactile sensations can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.
Motor skill deficits
Muscle weakness, tremors and difficulty with balance and coordination are common challenges faced by those with TBI. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are often essential to regain lost motor skills and improve overall physical function.
Seizures can be an alarming consequence of TBI, especially if the injury damages the brain’s electrical activity. Seizures may occur immediately after the injury or develop months or even years later. Medication can help manage seizures, but they can still be disruptive for individuals and their loved ones.
Many people with a TBI find themselves constantly tired, even after minimal physical or cognitive exertion. This chronic fatigue can interfere with daily activities, making it difficult to maintain employment, relationships or hobbies.
TBI can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleepiness. These sleep disturbances can exacerbate other physical symptoms and hinder the healing process. Addressing sleep problems is crucial for recovery and overall well-being.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical effects related to TBI resulted in 214,110 hospitalizations in 2020. For these individuals, the right medical treatment and support can make a huge difference in the recovery process.