Car accidents are more common than most people think, and they happen all over the country every day, including severe accidents.
Certain types of accidents tend to be more severe than others, often.
For example, accidents with large trucks tend to have serious and even deadly outcomes in most cases.
Just to highlight one location, in Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, trucks drive an average of 3.2 million miles each day. That inevitably means there can be a high number of 18-wheeler accidents in Houston, but this major Texas city isn’t alone in that.
The degree of severity for an injury varies widely in car accidents, but one common type of injury people often sustain are brain injuries.
Brain injuries can be mild or completely debilitating or deadly.
For someone who survives an accident involving a brain injury, the following are some tips for living with it.
Types of Brain Injuries After a Car Accident
Different types of brain injuries can occur during a car accident. One of the most common is a concussion, which is also characterized as a mild traumatic brain injury. Some can be serious, but for the most part, symptoms may include fatigue, headache, and dizziness.
Diffuse axonal injury is another type that’s common in car accidents. Also known as DAI, these injuries occur because of the brain moving around rapidly in the skull, which can destroy connections between the brain and other parts of the body.
Contusions are simply a bruise, but the brain can be bruised. This may be a mild or severe injury.
Dealing with Mild Brain Injuries
If you’re your loved one has a fairly mild injury, beyond always following your health care provider’s instructions, one of the best things you can do for yourself is get rest.
You want to help facilitate the healing of your brain, so don’t overexert yourself, risking further injury.
Following any type of brain injury, you should also look for serious symptoms that could indicate emergency help is needed.
This can include clear fluid coming from the nose or ears, nausea and vomiting, dilated pupils, seizures, or confusion.
Dealing with Physical and Cognitive Impairments
It is possible that after a car accident leading to a brain injury you could experience different physical and cognitive impairments. Your loved ones may speak with your health care provider to learn more about the best and worst-case scenario.
One of the most common physical impairments for many people is fatigue, and this can be especially true in the initial days following an accident when recovery and rehabilitation are a primary focus.
You or your loved one who experienced the accident may feel tired from doing pretty simple tasks, and doing those simple tasks may require much more effort than was previously needed.
If you or your loved one is doing rehab following an accident, it’s not uncommon during that time to sleep many hours a day.
Someone who is living with a brain injury may experience issues with their senses, and they can appear clumsy.
Cognitive impairments tend to start to improve over time, particularly with rehabilitation, but they may not completely return to normal.
There’s also another category of impairment that may occur—emotional impairment.
For someone who survives an accident but has a brain injury, even a fairly mild one, they may deal with emotional impairment either because of primary effects or secondary.
Primary effects could mean the person is dealing with emotional impairment because of the direct impact of the accident on their brain.
Secondary emotional impairment can occur because someone is dealing with complex emotions after an accident and perhaps having trouble dealing with how their life has changed.
If your loved one has a brain injury, keep the emotional impact in mind just as much as the physical and cognitive effects.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
While you can’t necessarily cure some of the symptoms of a brain injury, you can work to be as healthy as possible following an accident to promote recovery.
Brain injuries can cause cell death, oxidative stress in the brain, and inflammation in the brain as well.
By ensuring that you or your loved one is getting the proper nutrients through diet and supplementation, you may be able to reduce some of this damage and inflammation.
For example, omega-3s and magnesium may have positive effects on the brain when it’s injured.
Speak with your doctor or your loved one’s doctor about simple things that can be done to facilitate brain healing, as much as is possible.