3 Specialists You May See After a Traumatic Brain Injury

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3 Specialists You May See After a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the common injuries car accident victims suffer in severe crashes is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. A TBI may include anything from a slight concussion to a more severe type of brain damage that you might never fully recover from. To get the best possible treatment for your injuries, your primary caregiver will likely refer you to one or more of the following three specialists.

TBI Incidence in Latin America

According to a National Institutes of Health-backed study, traumatic brain injuries are a growing problem across Latin America as they “disproportionately affect low- to middle-income countries” (LMICs). Study authors believe the problem persists because the risk factors have not been thoroughly researched as they have been in the developed world.

The study, which involved 550 TBI sufferers, revealed that while the TBI recovery rates in Latin American LMICs matched those in the developed world, mortality from severe TBIs still remained high in LMICs at the time of the research (2017).

Researchers believe that the differences are tied to regulatory deficiencies in the injury prevention department in low-income Latin America paired with multiple risk factors, like young age, poverty, and residence in areas of conflict.

Study site and race also seem to have had a significant influence on the study findings, and researchers vowed to explore these associations further.

1. You Will Need to See a Neurologist

After sustaining a brain injury in an accident, you will likely need to see a neurologist. A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of disorders and injuries that affect the spinal cord and the central nervous system.

Neurologists’ area of expertise also includes treating the brain and how the brain communicates with the central nervous system. In the wake of a car crash, your treating doctor may refer you to a neurologist. The input from a neurologist is often necessary to determine whether the accident has affected brain functioning.

You might have TBI if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Coordination or balance problems
  • Muscular weakness
  • Changes in touch and other senses
  • Mental fogginess or confusion

A neurologist may prescribe drugs that can help treat the brain if the injury is mild. If the injury is more serious, you might land in a neurosurgeon’s office. In that case, a surgical procedure might be necessary to correct the TBI-associated damage.

2. How Can a Neurosurgeon Help?

When you are referred to a neurosurgeon, it is because you have suffered a brain or spinal cord injury that requires a surgical procedure to correct. In the case of auto accident victims, injuries likely affect the spine in addition to the brain.

For example, the accident may have displaced a disc in your spine. A neurosurgeon will help correct that injury to help you regain your previous mobility. If an accident caused paralysis, you might need a neurologist to treat the TBI and a neurosurgeon to correct spinal damage.

3. You May Need Physical Therapy

You may also need to see a physical therapist to help you learn how to walk and perform other functions again. Even after the TBI has healed, you may still be left with decreased mobility, which can be improved with regular physical therapy.

Also, physical therapy helps ensure your physical disability won’t continue to worsen through the non-use of your body. Similarly, you may need to work with a speech therapist if the speech or hearing centers in your brain were affected.

If so, you may be unable to speak, or you may have trouble pronouncing words correctly. A speech therapist can help you retain or improve your speaking abilities enough to help you communicate better.

Bonus: Group Support Meetings Help

You may also be referred to group support meetings that bring TBI patients together in a social setting. This will provide you with the emotional and social support you need to maintain a positive recovery approach.

Often, a TBI affects social skills and can result in emotional health issues. Meeting with others who struggle to live with similar injuries will help you recover in a more supportive setting.

You’ll also have the opportunity to offer support to others who may need encouragement. This provides the social experiences necessary to boost self-esteem and confidence.

Final Thoughts

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are quite commonplace in traffic collisions, but they can have life-long consequences. According to US researchers, the residents of low- to middle-income countries in Latin America are more likely to need more time to recover from a TBI than their peers in high-income countries.

That is why TBI sufferers in developing countries need to have access to all the resources they may need for a full recovery, including specialists, support groups, and legal counsel. And each of the specialists can work together to make sure that poverty is no longer an obstacle on the path to full recovery.

For instance, a specialist like a neurosurgeon can closely work with a car accident lawyer to help the patient build a strong personal injury case to alleviate the mounting medical debt spurred by surgical procedures, medication, hospitalization, and physical therapy. And the list could go on.