In the United States alone, approximately 1.7 million people suffer from some sort of accidental brain trauma every year according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Of these incidents, 50% result in diffuse axonal damage—a devastating diagnosis for many victims.
Diffuse axonal brain injuries are caused when the brain jostles around inside the skull, causing bruising and damage over a widespread area. This jostling effect is generally brought on by severe acceleration or deceleration of the head, which can be seen in car accidents, falls, violent shaking, and sports injuries.
When the brain accelerates or decelerates within the skull, axons, or nerve fibers, become disrupted. In addition, these types of injuries can cause:
- Shearing injuries as brain tissue is dragged and skids over the inside of the skull as well as over other patches of tissue.
- Lesions as a result of shearing injuries which cause unconsciousness, blackouts, and coma.
- Swelling of the brain caused by crushed or dead brain cells.
- Decreased blood flow to the brain as a result of increased cranial pressure.
- The excessive release of chemicals (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) which can contribute to additional brain injury.
- Long-term vegetative states resulting from complications, lesions, and swelling.
Combatting Axonal Injuries
Although axonal injuries are alarmingly common and are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury deaths, proper treatment and care can help reduce fatality risks. Immediate medical care is needed to reduce brain swelling and hopefully prevent further damage. Once it is clear what the permanent effects are, rehabilitation can be used to specifically help improve brain function following axonal injuries including:
- Speech therapy to improve communication skills.
- Physical therapy to help motor function.
- Occupational therapy to re-develop skills and comfort with everyday activities.
- Recreational therapy to improve physical strength and coordination.
- Adaptive equipment training to help victims become familiar and comfortable with their therapeutic and assistant devices.
- Counseling to help psychological effects and damage.
- Brain strengthening and stretching exercises such as yoga.
The Help You Need When and Where You Need it
If you or a loved one needs help locating a brain injury treatment facility, please contact the Brain Injury Association of America at (800) 444-6443.
If your brain injury was caused by the negligence of someone else, contact us at (703) 721-4233. We’ll be happy to provide you with experienced and knowledgeable advice in order to get you the justice your injury deserves. Contact us today to see how we can help your future.