A brain injury may occur if a person suffers a jolt or blow to the head. This can happen during a fall, a car accident, after being struck with an object, or in other circumstances. A brain injury can also occur when something enters the brain tissue through the skull, such as a bullet or bone fragment.

Medical experts typically classify brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe. The severity of a brain injury often determines what effects it will have on a person’s functioning. It also typically determines the course of treatment required.

In cases of severe brain injury, people may require surgery to ensure stabilization and prevent further damage. However, surgery is not always necessary to treat all brain injuries.

This article will explore how doctors diagnose different types of brain injury, their effects on people’s lives, and how they are treated. Contact The Hartman Center specialists to learn about our concussion treatment programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

Diagnosing a Brain Injury

People may sustain a brain injury any time they are struck with an object, hit their head, or experience other physical trauma. Brain injuries occur on a scale from mild to severe. Proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial. It allows people to get the care they need to maintain or restore functioning.

But how do doctors diagnose the severity of a brain injury? Medical professionals use a tool called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS assesses a person’s ability to open their eyes, respond verbally, and perform motor functions.

Doctors use the GSC to determine the severity of a brain injury, which then guides the treatment protocol.

Mild Brain Injuries

Mild brain injuries are often called concussions. A concussion can occur when something causes the brain to move back and forth in the skull.

During an injury that causes a concussion, the brain may twist or bounce inside the skull. Chemical changes may occur, and brain cells may be stretched or damaged.

Mild brain injuries can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms. They can affect how someone feels, thinks, and behaves.

Some of the physical symptoms of a mild brain injury include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble with speech
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor balance
  • Fatigue

People with a concussion may experience sensory symptoms, including:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in smell and taste
  • Blurry vision
  • Bad taste in the mouth

People with a mild concussion may think and behave differently. They may:

  • Feel confused or disoriented
  • Develop depression or anxiety
  • Have a hard time sleeping or sleep too much
  • Experience mood swings
  • Struggle with concentration and memory

Most people recover from a concussion with few complications. It is critical to follow a doctor’s recommendations after sustaining a mild brain injury.

Treatment for Mild Brain Injuries

A mild brain injury is still a serious medical condition requiring attention and treatment. People with mild brain injury typically do not require surgery. Instead, they may follow a treatment protocol that includes:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce headache
  • Rest
  • Minimal stress
  • Limited physical and cognitive activities
  • No reading or screentime

Doctors may advise that people with a concussion take time off of work or school. Limiting social, cognitive, and physical activity can give the brain time to rest and heal.

While following a concussion treatment protocol, it’s essential to watch for new or worsening symptoms. People must also work closely with their doctor to determine when they can return to work and other daily activities.

Recognizing and Treating Post-Concussion Syndrome

In many cases, people recover quickly after sustaining a concussion. However, some people experience lingering symptoms that may last for up to a year after sustaining a mild brain injury. This is called post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

People with PCS may experience symptoms that affect their day-to-day functioning, including:

  • Memory problems
  • Mental fog
  • Sluggish thinking
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sleep changes
  • Depression with or without suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

People are more likely to develop post-concussion syndrome if they have a history of head injuries, mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, and other factors.

Post-concussion syndrome can impact a person’s ability to work or go to school. It can prevent them from caring for themselves. People may struggle with depression or other mental health challenges. They may also be at higher risk of developing substance abuse or addiction.

Surgery is not required to treat post-concussion syndrome. Instead, people may participate in post-concussion treatment programs that include:

  • Diagnostic testing
  • Chiropractic care
  • Cognitive remediation therapy
  • Functional medicine
  • Photobiomodulation (PBM)
  • Blood flow restriction therapy (BFR)
  • Shock Wave therapy
  • NormaTec recovery

The Hartman Center offers holistic support for people with PCS. We use innovative, whole-person therapies to help people heal after concussion.

Moderate and Severe TBI

Thousands of people in the United States die from severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. A moderate to severe TBI can occur after a bump, jolt, or blow to the head. It can also happen when a foreign object, such as a bullet, enters the brain.

People may not survive a severe TBI. Those who do may experience long-term complications that impact all aspects of their life.

In some cases, a person may experience symptoms of a mild brain injury (concussion) before developing more severe symptoms. It is important to watch for new or developing symptoms after sustaining any head injury.

Some of the most common physical symptoms of a severe TBI include:

  • Loss of consciousness for several minutes to hours
  • Seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty waking up the person
  • Prolonged nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness in the fingers and toes
  • Clear fluid leaking from ears or nose
  • A headache that gets worse over time

A severe brain injury can change how a person feels and thinks. People with a severe TBI may exhibit symptoms that include:

  • Aggression
  • Erratic behaviors
  • Extreme confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

The symptoms of a severe TBI may be different in young children. Parents must watch for significant changes in behavior if a child sustains a blow to the head or falls from a height. Children may cry, lose interest in toys, have changes in sleep and eating patterns, or appear depressed. They may also have seizures or lose consciousness.

Quick assessment and treatment are essential to limit the damage of a severe TBI. If you or someone near you sustains a head injury, seek treatment immediately.

Treatment for Severe Brain Injury

A severe brain injury is a life-threatening medical event. Timely assessment and treatment can increase the odds of survival and lead to the best possible outcomes.

First, medical providers assess the extent of the injury. They ensure adequate blood flow and oxygen levels while avoiding further trauma to the head and neck.

When the person is stable, medical professionals use techniques to minimize bleeding and swelling in the brain. They may administer anti-seizure medications or diuretics as needed.

Doctors may also give medications to induce a coma. This measure can protect the brain from further damage.

Surgery may be necessary to reduce the risk of further damage or to repair injuries. Doctors may perform surgery to:

  • Reduce bleeding in the brain
  • Repair fractures
  • Minimize swelling
  • Remove clots

After stabilization, people with severe TBI often require extensive treatment and ongoing support. Recovery can last days, weeks, months, or even longer.

Participating in a brain injury treatment program can help people regain physical and cognitive functioning after sustaining a severe TBI. People can learn practical skills to improve daily functioning and manage lasting physical and emotional symptoms.

The Benefits of a Brain Injury Treatment Program

The Hartman Center offers brain injury treatment programs that can help people recover after a concussion or TBI. Our programs focus on four areas of treatment.

Cognitive skills

Our patients participate in carefully designed exercises that can boost cognitive functioning. People may experience better verbal reasoning, improved memory, increased self-awareness, and other significant benefits.


Practicing mindfulness can reduce depression, anxiety, and fatigue. It can also help reduce perceived pain and increase resilience.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise increases blood flow and can improve overall health. Research also shows that regular aerobic exercise can reduce depression and anxiety and improve cognitive functioning.

Progress tracking

Our programs use unique tracking tools to measure progress. Your treatment team will use this information to adjust your treatment plan to meet your changing needs and provide the most personalized care.

A brain injury can affect how people feel, think, and behave. However, participating in a brain injury treatment program can help people recover their functioning and have the best possible outcomes after TBI.

Find Concussion Treatment

If you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury, effective concussion treatment Midland is available at The Hartman Center. Contact our specialists now to explore our supportive treatment programs or to schedule an appointment.

Don’t wait for your symptoms to get worse. Find the care you need and deserve by contacting The Hartman Center now.