Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries

Do you remember when you were a child and your parents would constantly warn you to wear a helmet if you went bike riding? Or when your coach would insist you wear your helmet for baseball and football practice? While at the time it may have felt as though they were being overprotective, the truth is they were trying to help you prevent things like traumatic brain injuries. 

The main diagnostic imaging tests used to diagnose traumatic brain injuries here at GO Imaging are CT scans, MRIs and X-Rays.

Computerized tomography or CT Scans: CT scans, also called “cat” scans, will take an X-ray from multiple angles of your brain to give us a complete image. With this image, we can see bruising, bleeding, and other damage.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Using magnets and radio waves, we can produce images that are more detailed than a CT scan. However, an MRI may not be ordered until after a CT scan because CT scans can be completed faster. Once it’s determined there may be a problem, we’ll order the MRI to see just how severe the issue is.

X-Ray: An X-Ray of the head is occasionally used to detect and assess skull fractures. More often than not though, if a TBI is suspected, a CT scan will be completed instead of a single X-Ray.

Unfortunately, many of the traumatic brain injuries (TBI) we see could have been prevented. With that in mind, below we’re sharing the top causes of TBIs and methods you can implement to prevent them. 

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Falls – Falling off bikes, downstairs, slipping on water/sand/slippery floors, etc…
  • Motor vehicle accidents – TBIs can occur when hitting your head against a window or any surface of the car. If there are heavy items in the car that hit you during the accident, this can also lead to a TBI.
  • Sports injuriesBaseballs and bats hitting the head, falls on the field, colliding with other players, etc…
  • While fightingThink punches and blows to the head
  • Gun violence, explosive blasts, and injuries sustained in combatTBIs due to these causes are more common for members of our armed forces and for first responders such as police and firefighters

Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries

A few methods you can use to prevent TBIs include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Always wear a helmet when playing sports – Even a bike ride or going rollerblading warrants a helmet. Helmets are especially important in contact sports, and in those where objects could fly at your head.
  • Watch where you are walking – If an area looks slick, use caution when walking on it, or avoid it completely. If there is liquid on the floor, dry it up as quickly as possible. 
  • Wear a seatbelt, alwaysAn accident can occur at any moment. That’s why you should never remove your seatbelt while in transit – not even for a second. It’s also important to stay seated during the entire ride as an auto accident doesn’t have to take place for injury to occur.

And your children should be in a car seat or booster seat as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat….Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seats.”

After that, they should use a booster seat until the seat belt fits properly. “This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.”

  • Don’t operate a car or machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – When you are under the influence, injury is much more likely.
  • Use gripping footwear such as boots, sneakers, or sandals with treads – In the event you have to walk in slick locations, wear the proper footwear to avoid the risk of slip and fall accidents. Should that not be an option, such as when wearing formal wear, you can use non-slip outsoles, or spray hairspray on the bottom of your shoes to prevent the bottoms from being as slippery.

As Shoe Tease explains, “Spray a little (or a lot) of hairspray onto the soles of your shoes until it feels sticky…The stickiness will help your soles stick to the floor much better. This is a great fix if you’re in a bind & need a simple non-slippery shoe hack fast.”

  • Remove obstacles from walking areas – Tripping hazards such as toys, bunched rugs, and even furniture should be cleared from the spaces you will be walking through frequently. 
  • Install safety guards – To prevent yourself and/or loved ones from falling out of windows or falling downstairs.
  • Use extreme caution in violent or dangerous areasWhile this tip is more for our armed services and first responders, extra steps for safety are always a good idea regardless of your occupation.

Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries

How do you treat TBI should you be affected by one? The answer is it depends on the severity of the injury. In some cases, TBIs will just require rest and medication. 

In more severe cases, TBI treatment may require surgery, speech therapy, ongoing medication, and/or other rehabilitation therapies. For a full list of the treatments that may be necessary for TBI, check out this post by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

To schedule your diagnostic imaging tests with GO Imaging Houston or GO Imaging Humble, click here.

Posted in: CT Scan, Health & Wellness, MRI

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